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2013 Shelby GT500 Is More Than A Camaro-Killer

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On: Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 4:06PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

2013 Shelby GT500 Is More Than A Camaro-Killer

We can hear you now Chevy fans. Angry and frustrated. Confused and alone. Not more than two months after the announcement of the resurrection of one of the greatest names in Camaro history, the ZL1 -- does the rug get pulled out from under your feet, and your balloon burst in your hand thanks to one little 650-horsepower Mustang. Not only does this new Ford embarrass your chosen pony car, it actually goes a step further and slaps your beloved Corvette ZR1 right in the face. How could they? How could they! Well, fear not GM faithful, we are here to tell you not to worry, and that all of this has happen once (or twice) before.

Like it or not, since the 1960's, there has always been an unspoken automotive hierarchy in terms of sports cars. At the lower end were cars like the Plymouth Barracuda, Chevy Chevelle, various AMC models, and yes even the Clint Eastwood-made-famous Grand Torino. On the next rung up were the cars that had a bit more staying power: Chargers, Firebirds, Challengers, Mustangs and Camaros. On the upper echelon were the chosen ones -- the Corvette and the Cobra. Occasionally some cars would try and climb up the ladder and challenge those on the notch above them, but almost like clockwork, the parent company of the challenged car would regroup and come back with a bigger, better, faster car and reassert itself as the more dominant car. Even as some of those cars have fallen out of production, the ones that remain still adhere to that ongoing cycle of dominance.

This cycle can be seen throughout the course of automotive history -- especially within the Mustang/Corvette relationship. You see, all throughout history, Chevy has used the Camaro to battle the Mustang and the Corvette has always been a step above both on the track and in the minds of the populace at large. In the 60's when the Mustang came out with the 428 Cobra Jet and then the GT500KR in 1968, the Camaro debuted the mighty ZL1 and COPO Camaros in 1969. Not to be outdone, the Corvette brought about the mighty L88 from 1967-1969 and its own version of the ZL1 in 1969 that reestablished it as the king of the era (discontinued Cobras notwithstanding of course).

Fast forward to the late 1990's. The same battles are still waging and the Camaro SS is battling the Mustang Cobra for muscle car supremacy. Stock versus stock, there were reports of some Camaro SS models running neck and neck with the mighty C5. But, by and large, the Corvette was still lighter and faster than either of them, that is, until the Ford guys unveil the Mustang Cobra R in 2000. The Cobra R put down 385 ponies, which was actually 40 more than the all-beating C5 of the day, and laid down a significant challenge to the Vette hero for America's best sports car. Needless to say, Corvette fanatics went crazy and demanded action from their crossed-flags halo car, and a year later that's exactly what they got. The Corvette ZO6 debuted with exactly 385, and then a year after that the top-dog Vette got a range-topping 405 ponies. The ZO6 put Chevy's big dog back at the head of the pack, with no stock Mustang (or Camaro) able to come close to running with it on the track. All was right with the world.

One more quantum leap to the present, and after checking in with Ziggy, Corvette fans are saying, "Oh boy!" once again. Sure, the 580-horsepower Camaro ZL1 will challenge a few base 436-horsepower Vette owners , but that's only because they couldn't pony up the cash for a beastly 505-horsepower Z06 or world-beating 638-horsepower ZR1. The ZL1 will aggravate a few Vette owners, but there's nothing terribly wrong with a little sibling rivalry as long as the ZR1 is still clearly the biggest dog in the house. The big problem however, is the new Shebly GT500. This monster Mustang is a horse of a different color altogether. Ford has figured out that without a GT or Cobra in the lineup, the Shelby is their top dog, and more importantly, is not bound by the same rule as the Camaro (that rule being 'don't make the Corvette look bad). So with that in mind, Ford has dropped into our laps a 650-horsepower legitimate 200-mph machine. A car that can out run a ZO6 in the top end and even if the ZR1 can get to just about any speed faster than the super-Shelby, the mere fact that a Mustang posts better advertised dyno numbers than the best Vette available has already started some mild panic in the General's camp. When the GT500 finally debuts in the next few months, you can be sure that the chaos amongst the Corvette-faithful will only get exponentially worse.

So does that mean that Vette owners are doomed to be embarrassed by a bunch of Blue Oval guys? No, relax Chevy fans. History has a way of repeating itself, and this is something we've all seen before. Sure, maybe this next Mustang will out-gun the big, bad ZL1 in year one, but rest assured, in the battle for automotive dominance, GM has a long track record of not resting on its laurels. Don't be surprised if next year’s ZR1 suddenly finds a bit more boost in that LS9 motor, and suddenly starts cranking out something north of 700 ponies. This cycle of one-upmanship is nothing new, and although the Mustang has leapfrogged ahead of the ZR1, history says that it won't be for too long.

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AutoHistory | 4:20PM (Thu, Jan 12, 2012)

No matter how impractical a GT500 would be, I'd still be super amped to own one.


Stephy21 | 9:18AM (Fri, Jan 13, 2012)

I cant wait to see this GT500 i think its going to be pretty sweet.

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