Shelby American will celebrate its 60th birthday in 2022, but it’s the Ford Mustang that will be receiving gifts. The company announced a limited-edition model called GT500KR with a historic laced nameplate and a supercharged V8 that develops over 900 horsepower.
KR stands for “King of the Road”, and the initials were first used in 1968 on an evolution of the Mustang GT500 powered by a 428-cubic-inch V8 engine called Cobra Jet. Back to the present: The 2022 GT500KR is based again on the Mustang GT500, but gets a 3.8-liter Whipple supercharger that boosts the power of the 5.2-liter V8 to more than 900 horsepower when burning 93-octane fuel. For context, the regular model puts 760 horses under the driver’s right foot, which is already a huge number.
Numerous adjustments keep power under control. Notably, Shelby added a sturdier intercooler and large volume heat exchanger for the supercharger, cold air intake, Borla exhaust and heavy duty half shafts. The suspension now features height-adjustable springs on both axles, Ford Performance front and rear anti-roll bars and recalibrated MagneRide shocks. Extended wheel studs hold the 20-inch wheels in place.
In the 1960s, Shelby relied on fiberglass to reduce the weight of the GT500KR. In the 2020s, the company leveraged its expertise in carbon fiber. It used the composite material to make the hood (which saves 30 pounds), the front splitter and the rear diffuser, among other things. The KR is further differentiated from the GT500 with stripes above the rocker panels and new decals on both ends. Shelby notes that all vehicles it builds in 2022 will feature commemorative exterior decals, whether based on the Mustang or the F-series.
Buyers can choose from several options at additional cost, including a polished supercharger, wide-body kit and painted racing stripes. They can also ask Shelby to remove the back seat and replace it with a harness bar. Pricing for these options has yet to be announced, but we know the 2022 GT500KR will cost $127,895 if based on a new 2022 GT500, or $54,995 if the package is added to a customer-supplied vehicle. In any case, every car built gets a numbered plate on the dashboard and in the engine compartment.
Be quick if you want one: production for the US market is limited to 60 units per model year. Ford has released the GT500 for 2020, so the GT500KR package will be built into 120 existing cars and 60 units will be shipped new. Shelby is setting aside another 45 cars for the foreign market, a figure that pushes the total number of KRs built before 2022 to 225. It is even rarer than the original 1968 model.
Production will begin in the first quarter of 2022, and the first copy will cross the block at the Barrett-Jackson auction on January 29 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Carroll Shelby Foundation and the Youth Diabetes Research Fund. And stay tuned: Shelby promised to announce three additional vehicle programs to celebrate its 60th in 2022. Nothing official yet, but the Bronco seems like another good horse for Shelby to play with.