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Ford unveils its most powerful Mustang yet

Ford Shelby GT500
Posted at 4:59 PM, Jan 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 16:59:17-05

(CNN) -- Ford unveiled the most powerful factory-produced Mustang the company has ever made at the Detroit Auto Show Monday. The new Shelby GT500 has a supercharged V8 engine that will produce more than 700 horsepower.

More testing and validation needs to be done before an exact horsepower figure can be announced, the company said. What we do know is that it will have more power than the $450,000 Ford GT supercar, which has 647 horsepower, and it will be capable of going from zero to 60 miles an hour in a little over three seconds.

Power from the car's 5.2-liter aluminum engine will go through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission similar to the type used in the Ford GT. Dual-clutch transmissions provide a more direct transfer of power to the wheels than ordinary automatic transmissions and can shift gears much more quickly.

There's no manual transmission offered in this car, said Jim Owens, Ford Performance marketing manager, because the automatic can get much more performance from the engine than any human shifting gears could. The transmission was engineered specifically for this car.

Plastic parts to hold the car's brake lines will be produced using 3D printing. Compared to stamping out parts, 3D printing is a relatively slow process -- the machine averages about five pieces per hour -- but it's very flexible in that one machine can make parts of almost any shape depending on the plans that are fed into it. (The same exact machine makes entirely different pieces for some Ford Raptor trucks.) This technique makes sense for a car like the GT500 since the car and its parts will be produced in low numbers.

The first Shelby GT500 appeared in 1967. That car had half the horsepower of the new model. The original Shelby GT500s are considered among the most desirable American performance cars in the world. A 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake recently sold at a Mecum classic car auction in Florida for $2.2 million.

The most recent Ford-produced Shelby GT500 before this one, which went out of production in 2015, produced 662 horsepower from a 5.8-liter V8 engine.

Ford (F) has a complicated but fruitful relationship with the Las Vegas-based Shelby American company. Shelby Mustangs were originally made by Shelby using Mustangs supplied by Ford as a starting point. Shelby still does these sort of performance conversions. In fact, there are already Shelby Mustangs, such as the Shelby-produced Super Snake, with over 700 horsepower. This one, though, will be the most powerful ever produced by Ford Motor Co. itself.

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