Ford Authority

S650 Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible Mule Spied: Photos

As the S550 generation Ford Mustang bows out to make way for the all-new S650-gen 2024 model, we’re bidding farewell – at least temporarily – to the Mustang Shelby GT500, which was last available for the 2022 model year. However, we aren’t saying goodbye to the ultimate version of the modern pony car forever, as Ford Authority was the first to report that the S650 Mustang Shelby GT500 will be returning in 2025 as a 2026 model. Just yesterday, Ford Authority also learned that this new range-topping pony car is already being tested by The Blue Oval, and now, we have photos of one of those test mules – a convertible, interestingly enough.

As most pony car fans are well aware, the S550-gen Mustang Shelby GT500 was not available as a drop top – just a coupe/fastback. However, Ford is currently testing both a coupe and convertible next-gen GT500 mule, which suggests that open-air muscle car fans may finally get their wish when the new version debuts in just a couple of years.

As one might imagine, this S650 Mustang Shelby GT500 mule is precisely that – a mule. Based around the S650 Mustang GT, it has cobbled-together parts including carbon fiber wheels from the S550 GT500 that stick out from the wheel wells, well-hidden dive planes up front, along with loads of camo designed to conceal what’s going on underneath.

Despite the vast amounts of camo, we can clearly see that this mule also sits lower to the ground and sports much wider tracks than any other S650 variant, including the current range-topper, the Dark Horse. The mule is also equipped with a quad exhaust setup that has the inside tips sitting a bit higher than the outside ones. The prototype looks and sounds very aggressive overall, as one might assume given what we’ve come to expect from the GT500 over the years.

It’s currently unclear what sort of engine is powering these S650 Mustang Shelby GT500 mules, but it would be a surprise if it’s not a version of the supercharged Ford 5.2L V8 Predator powerplant used in the S550-gen GT500 and now, the Ford F-150 Raptor R. In the S550 GT500, the Predator generates 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque, which is mated exclusively to Ford’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The current model is also equipped with a host of suspension upgrades and aero modifications that help it live up to its billing as the ultimate version of the outgoing Mustang.

Notably, if the S650 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 remains on track for a 2025 release for the 2026 model year, this means that the next-gen variant will arrive earlier for the seventh-generation than the sixth, as the S550 didn’t get a GT500 until the 2020 model year after debuting for 2015.

As this model goes through the development process, we’ll see more production-ready bodywork in the coming months, followed by what will likely be a gradual shedding of camouflage leading up to its reveal.

We’ll have more on the S650 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for more Ford Mustang news, Mustang Shelby GT500 news, and comprehensive Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Mark B

    Hopefully, the front fender tire “poke” is remedied before production!

  2. Rinzler

    Really looking like a previous gen GT350 front end, rather than a GT500. Also, the previous gen GT500 didn’t offer a convertible and I don’t think Ford would change that with the 7th gen since it’s the same platform essentially.

    I will also say that the lack of a hood bulge makes me think this is not the GT500 as well, as the current supercharger on the GT500 cannot clear the stock hood in the 6th gen.

    Lastly, Ford has never released the GT500 this early in the product cycle and has generally released a performance variant like a GT350, BOSS 302, etc. in the previous generations.

    1. Ford Insider

      This is a mule so what the front end looks look like is irrelevant. Also, what was true for the S550 will not apply to the S650, especially the timing of the hi po models. The GT350 should have never happened, as they should have gone straight to GT500.

      I have some inside knowledge about this project and what you are seeing here is the very early stages of the GT500.

      1. Brett Turnage

        You have inside knowledge, I would bet I have deeper connections than you. What you are seeing is most likely some new version of Dark Horse, not a 500.

        1. Ford Insider

          “What you are seeing is most likely some new version of Dark Horse, not a 500.”

          Key word = MOST LIKELY = you don’t really know, you’re just guessing.

          What good are your “deep connections”? Is it all just to see whose is bigger?

      2. Rinzler

        As I stated before the fact that this doesn’t have a hood bulge is an indicator that it is not the GT500 which is come with a supercharger for the previous few generations. It would be very strange for Ford to not fit a supercharger on the GT500 as they have since 2009.

        I really care what kind of insider knowledge feel like you have but anybody with actual inside or knowledge wouldn’t be on a popular forums posting about Future Ford product, so…

  3. Secret Santa

    A GT500 ragtop at this point would be a compromise made for parade use. If that’s what Ford wants to deliver – yaaaawn. Top dog is going to be the GT3 street variant and I promise you it won’t be available with a fabric top.

    1. Alex Luft

      It all ultimately depends on the purpose of the vehicle. To me, the winning formula is to offer two range-topping vehicles. The first is a blazing fast grand tourer, which we can think of as a “base” GT500. The second is a package for the first that turns it into a more hardcore vehicle for the track that’s also drivable on the street. We can call this a GT500 Track Pack, but more extreme than what was offered on the S550.

      The S550 didn’t get a convertible because Ford didn’t factor that into the architecture, as Ford Authority reported last year:

      So was the S197 GT500 convertible also “a compromise made for parade use?” Asking because I remember beating Audi R8s and Nissan GT-Rs around Pikes Peak raceway about a decade ago in an S197 coupe, which would have also been possible in the drop-top, had it been allowed on the track.

  4. John

    I hope the new GT500 has a much more aggressive look than that, especially the front fascia.

  5. Anonymous

    With dark horse, Ford likely wants to create new branding for the younger buyers, hence Shelby, Mach 1, bullitt are too old school that new buyers know the name, but no passion for.

    This looks like a reinterpretation of a california special model, much like dark horse but a step up in power vs handling. S650 looks tight for a S/C though a 7.3zilla motor may fit.


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