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Getting Some Shelby Action

Bench Racing

by Ryan King

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Today I test drove a 2009 Shelby Mustang GT-500.

It was perfect in virtually every way.

I'd never driven one before, though, and something surprised me: the cabin was tight.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it, it was just surprising. With their size, I expected a little more spaciousness. I've heard (read?) that the 2005-2009 Mustangs are cramped, but the degree was almost disorienting after coming from my Cobalt.

Truth be told, I rather liked it. I miss a tight cabin, with all the controls pressed against me. The Cobalt SS/SC has too much space between me and the steering wheel, the pedals are spaced too far apart, and the gauges are too far away.

The only thing I didn't like was that the center console in the Mustang was too high and caused me to modify my shift motion. That is one thing the Cobalt has right.

It wasn't that I couldn't get used to it, but it was a bit awkward and reduced the "performance feel" of driving – much like the C4 Corvettes do.

One thing I did expect out of the Mustang that I didn't find, was the feeling of sitting on top of the car, rather than in it. While it had a sense of bulkiness to it that came from my spacial sense rather than the tactile feel of driving it, it enveloped me much better than the Mustangs from '79-'04 and it felt like I was grooving with it a whole lot more than I do with the Fox-based cars.

Of course, the power was ubiquitous, and while I've heard people complain about the chassis, I had zero issue with it. It drove tight, but with just enough sway to make it entertaining to plant in a corner, so I could use the throttle and brakes to steer a touch.

To answer the unasked question: No, my two nickels didn't grow so that I could afford the Shelby as a touring car to replace the Cobalt. Honestly, I don't know that I'll ever get to own one, but I hope so. That thing was a hoot.

Ryan

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