Hot Rod‘s 2015 Drag Week winner, one Mr. Tom Bailey, was cruising around Highland, Michigan recently when he spotted a camouflage-clad Ford Mustang S550 with four exhaust tips, an audible supercharger whine, and, reportedly, quite a bit of get-up-and-go. Naturally, he snapped a photo and sent it in to Hot Rod, and like that publication, we, too, believe there’s every chance that the camo-wearing prototype was none other than the next Shelby GT500 Mustang.
As a refresher: although rumors circulated for some time, and numerous possible prototypes were spotted, Ford Performance didn’t confirm the existence of an S550-based Shelby GT500 until this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. There, the company said that the new Shelby would return in 2019 as the most powerful street-legal Ford of all time, producing in excess of 700 horsepower.
Some sleuthing dug up the details of the next Shelby GT500’s engine; it’s expected to be a supercharged, 5.2-liter V8 with a traditional cross-plane crankshaft (as opposed to the Shelby GT350http://fordauthority.com/ford/mustang/shelby-gt350r/‘s flat-plane crank).
According to Bailey, the hood of the camo-clad S550 Mustang that he spied had a tremendous bulge – one that might be bigger than that on even the Shelby GT350. The quad-tip exhaust isn’t necessarily indicative of anything much; even the base 2018 Ford Mustang GT ships with four tips. However, the reported supercharger whine, the hood bulge, and Ford’s attempts to obscure the body and wheels from prying eyes all point to one thing: that an all-new Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang is being tested on public roads.
We expect the next Shelby GT500 to bow at next year’s North American International Auto Show before entering production in 2019 as a 2020 model. To see the prototype photographed by Mr. Tom Bailey, head on over to Hotrod.com.