Long Live the King

2008 Ford GT500KR

I was going to blog, as usual, about some Albanian hatchback that runs on reconstituted soybeans–because that’s how I roll, green and nerdy. But then I was going through the Popular Mechanics website (you see, I wasn’t kidding about the “nerdy”), and I fell in love. In love, I tell you.

So I’ve got a crush on the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR, and I don’t care who knows it. Not that this does me much good, you understand–Ford’s only making 1,000 of these special-edition babies, and I couldn’t afford one even if I could beat Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld to the dealer.

But you can’t stop a car junkie from dreaming, and there’s a lot to dream about with the Shelby GT500KR. First of all, the “KR” stands for “King of the Road,” and I’m not going to argue with them about that. This limited edition superperformance car was created to honor the 40th anniversary of the 1968 Mustang, the all-star pony car that first bore the KR moniker.

If you can find a ’68 Mustang today, you can expect to pay a couple of hundred thousand dollars for it. The 2008 Shelby GT500KR’s price hasn’t been announced, but it’s definitely going to be a lot cheaper than that; the Mustang GT500 lists at a little over $40,000.

Of course, the Shelby KR has more to offer than the plain vanilla GT500 (which is already an awesome muscle car). Its supercharged 5.4-liter engine clocks at 550 horsepower, and the Ford SVT team has come up with a “Performance Racing Package” that includes a state-of-the art exhaust system, 14-inch Brembo brakes, and a scooped, aerodynamically designed carbon-composite roof.

There’s something refreshing about a dream machine car like this, a marvel of engineering that reminds you that cars can be fun as well as serious business. In today’s complicated market, it’s good to see Ford turning out this beautiful labor of love. Even if I can’t drive it. (But if one of you gets to, please write a review! And send us pictures!)

But wait! Here’s some good news for the average driver: last year, Ford and Hertz reintroduced the “Rent A Racer” program, a Carroll Shelby brainchild from 40 years ago. Yes, there’s a limited-run series of Mustang GT convertibles produced especially for Hertz and available for rental around the U.S.

2007 Mustang GT-H Hertz Racer The limited-run Shelby Mustang GT-H Hertz Racer sports a 325-horsepower V8 engine. Body modifications (including rollbars and a stiffer suspension) and engine tuning were done by the Shelby folks in Las Vegas, and every GT-H is badged and plaqued with the Shelby signature.

Even in the odd Hertz colorway, it’s a gorgeous car. And you can rent one! That is, unless I’ve already booked it.

For more about the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR, check out PopularMechanics.com. CarAndDriver.com has all the inside information on the Ford Mustang GT-H Hertz Racer.

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