Quick Spin: 2013 Shelby GT500
I was beside myself with anticipation when Publisher Essex and Editor Turner gave me the thumbs-up to attend our now-annual open house, hosted by Senior Tech Editor KJ Jones. Not only that, we would have the keys to a ’13 GT500. Someone needed to pinch me after he told me that. Not only would I be able to take in California, I’d be doing it in a ’13 Shelby GT500. You couldn’t wipe the grin off my face, and it’s still there.
The idea was for me to fly in on Thursday to attend the open house on Friday, give Essex and Turner a ride to the airport Friday night for their red-eye flight back to Tampa, and then attend Knott’s Berry Farm’s Fabulous Fords Forever show on Sunday. Keen eyes will notice I didn’t have anything going on Saturday. That meant the Shelby and I had plenty of time to get acquainted.
Of course, I didn’t waste any time getting to know the car. After taking the bosses to LAX Friday I went back to the hotel, which is 10-15 minutes from the airport. I sat there a minute and said, ‘What am I thinking, I have a Shelby GT500 sitting right outside, why am I sitting in this hotel room?!’
That is correct, I went back out to the car, punched in Sunset Boulevard, found a landmark, and off I went. I am pretty sure I started at one end of Sunset Blvd, and took it all the way to Pacific Coast Highway, at 11 o’clock at night. This is no secret, but let me tell you—Florida doesn’t have roads to match Sunset Boulevard once you get out of LA proper. Twistbacks, blind corners, elevation changes: Florida doesn’t have anything to match those characteristics, especially the elevation changes. I turned left onto PCH, drove a few miles on it, then turned around and went back down to Sunset for another blast before heading back to the hotel.
While preparing for my Cali trip, I noted a few things to cross off my bucket list while I was there. One, and probably the most important, was to play basketball on the courts of Venice Beach. Watching the movie White Men Can’t Jump when I was younger pretty much told me I had to experience it for myself. KJ told me I wouldn’t get on the court. Therefore, I got there early, like 9 a.m. Saturday morning. Dudes were already playin’ ball, and “the freak show,” as KJ described it, was already in full effect. Not only did I get on court, I ran several 3-on-3 games, winning each one. Then it was off to cross off another bucket list item—to have lunch at In N’ Out Burger.
Back at the hotel to clean up, I wasn’t there long before I was back in the Shelby for a drive down PCH—another bucket list item. It was dark the night before, so I had to return during the day to get the full effect. And of course, like in Florida, Californians like going to the beach. PCH was like a parking lot. After checking out Paradise Cove Beach Café in Malibu (thanks, Jay) it was back down PCH into LA to check out the Walk of Fame.
The last thing to cross off was a trip down Mulholland Drive. As my time in Cali drew to a close, I didn’t think it was going to happen. However, Sunday night I happened across the exit for Mulholland Drive.
Words cannot describe the experience of driving Mulholland Drive in a ’13 Shelby GT500. It’s simply amazing. The view, the road itself, is incredible. Mulholland Drive overlooks LA, and the view is something you’ll never forget, even if it’s at night.
After driving Mulholland Drive, Sunset Blvd, and Pacific Coast Highway, I have deemed all other roads boring, especially in flat-as-a-board Florida. But driving a ’13 Shelby GT500 every day would help fight the boredom. —Michael Johnson
Upshifts: • Power • Flexibility
Downshifts: • Price • Power
The Shelby American Collection Fundraising Party is raffling off a 2014 Shelby GT500 on September 14. “This is an amazing chance for car enthusiasts to win a Shelby Mustang GT500,” said Steve Volk, one of the founders of the Shelby American Collection. “This car is equipped with the most powerful production V-8 engine ever built and is arguably Ford’s ultimate musclecar to date. This is also an opportunity to help sustain America’s automotive heritage by supporting the operation of one of the finest and most extensive collections of Shelby Cobras, Shelby Mustangs, Ford GT 40s, and memorabilia in the world.” You can buy tickets at www.shelbymustangraffle.com ... Editor Turner isn’t the only one getting into the Focus ST game. Roush Performance (www.roushperformance.com) is turning loose its engineers on Ford’s hot hatch. “We’re very excited about expanding into this market segment.” said Tim Wheeler, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Roush Performance. “We’re dedicated to developing quality parts to support a variety of the performance-minded automotive lifestyles. With the rapidly growing sport-compact segment, the Ford Focus is a natural fit for Roush Performance.”