King of the Road: 650HP in a Shelby GT500KR
Released in 2008, the Mustang GT500KR was the pinnacle of Mustang performance in the late 2000s and early 2010s. With 1,571 total units produced over the span of two years, it was intended to be a special 40th anniversary tribute car to the original GT500KR sold in 1968. The supercharged 5.4L V8 offered 540hp from the factory, and came equipped with a carbon fiber hood with composite hood scoops, finely tuned SVT suspension and appropriate badging.
Modding special edition cars can often be a little bit daunting. After all, an owner paid extra for all of the special goodies, so swapping out parts can feel like taking a step backwards. Driving into a meet with a limited-edition GT500KR that doesn’t have any respective parts left on it isn’t going to win you any fans.
That being said, as enthusiasts, stock (even for special cars) is never good enough. So what’s the balance?
Owner Bill Johnson did this 2009 Shelby GT500KR right. With this Mustang reaching the 10+ year mark, there was certainly some room for some freshening up. Adding in some subtle visual tweaks and a lot more power makes for a nice, responsible approach.
On the exterior, the OEM matte black stripes have been replaced with carbon fiber outlined by Ford’s own Grabber Blue. Super Snake side and window scoops were also added as a detail for fellow Ford fans to enjoy.
Wheels and Tires
The 20” Shelby CS40 wheels replace the original pieces and are covered in Nitto NT555G2’s, 275/35/20 in the front and 305/30/20 in the rear. The machined faces and polished lips on the black car give this Mustang a thoroughly modern look while maintaining the classic vibes, while the ultra-high performance NT555 G2 tires fit perfectly with the look and keep the 'Stang planted on the road.
The real work in making sure this Mustang stays relevant is under the hood. To reach the goal of 650hp to the wheels, a 3.4L Whipple supercharger replaced the factory unit. This direct bolt-on replacement allows for higher boost levels than the factory 122ci roots-type supercharger while dramatically lowering supercharger discharge temperatures and power consumption.
To get more air through the system, Bill added a 123mm MAF and twin 67mm VMP throttle body to work with the new supercharger. A set of ARH headers move spent gases to the rear, while also making sounds that bring a smile to your face at every blip of the throttle. An NGauge tuner keeps this modern setup running smoothly and efficiently.
More than a decade later, Ford’s second GT500KR has stood the test of time. While newer, higher horsepower muscle cars like the 2020 Mustang GT500 have been released, the Shelby GT500KR paved the way, and with a few mods, can still hold its own. After all, that KR at the end of the name? That means King of the Road, a title that this particular pony car isn’t ready to relinquish.
Like your GT500 a little more wild? Check out this color-shifting 2010 Ford Mustang GT500!