Ford’s last-generation Mustang Shelby GT500 was offered as a coupe and as a convertible, yet the current car isn’t available with a folding top. It’s not that the Blue Oval doesn’t want to launch a 760-horsepower roadster: It’s that the 5.2-liter V8 requires the rigidity of a fixed roof.
“The real reason [for not adding a convertible to the GT500 range] is because, when you look at the power on the GT500, a convertible doesn’t have the type of stiffness in its chassis and its body that it needs to. So, could we do it? Sure. Is it something that would be durable over time? No. Nor would it handle the way it would need to handle, because you just don’t have the stiffness that you’d need,” said Dave Pericack, director of enterprise product line management for Ford Icons, in an interview with enthusiast website Ford Authority.
Released for 2020, the current-generation GT500 packs 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque from a mighty 5.2-liter supercharged V8 (which is available as a crate engine). It wouldn’t be the most powerful convertible on the market, but many of the drop-tops that have recently eclipsed these figures have been high-end cars with a correspondingly high price tag. Ford wants to steer clear of that.
“Nothing is impossible, but if you want to do what the Mustang has always been known for — fast, fun, and affordable — you may have to really spend a lot of money in exotic materials and things like that, which would overcome the loss in stiffness of the vehicle being a convertible,” Pericack said. “The GT500 has a very clear purpose, and a convertible doesn’t support it.”
For context, the first GT500 of the 21st century was launched for 2007 with a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 rated at 500 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers increased to 540 and 510, respectively, for the 2010 model year. Switching to a 5.8-liter supercharged V8 for 2013 gave the GT500 662 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque, figures that were absolutely massive at the time.