2011 Ford Shelby GT500 Features Lightweight Aluminum Engine

The latest version of the Shelby GT500 Mustang from Ford just hit the press, and it looks like a winner right out of the box. For starters, Ford has finally seen fit to make an engine that’s all alloy for the Shelby GT500. And what an engine it is.

The 2011 Shelby GT500 is motivated by an all-new 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 engine with an aluminum-block. Said mill cranks out 550 horsepower and 510 ft.-lb. of torque, which is a 10 horsepower increase over the 2010 model. Even better, the new mill is 102 pounds lighter than its predecessor, producing a much better power-to-weight ratio, improved fuel economy, acceleration, handling and steering precision.

“The SVT team continues to push the performance standards of the Shelby to even higher levels and better refinement. All the changes we made reflect a desire for even better handling and outstanding driving dynamics – from weight savings to improved balance,” said Jost Capito, director of global performance vehicles and motorsports business development.

“Cutting weight to improve performance is a tradition among hot rodders, It might not be as sexy as adding more horsepower or bigger brakes, but shaving pounds off of a car is the single smartest move you can make,” said Carroll Shelby, founder of Shelby American.

One of the interesting tech tidbits on the new engine is uses a state-of-the-art Plasma Transferred Wire Arc (PTWA) liner coating, the first Ford application of the technology. PTWA applies a 150-micron composite coating containing nanoparticles on the internal surfaces of engine cylinder bores, and replaces cast-iron liners that typically have to used in aluminum engine blocks.

The PTWA process uses air and electricity to create a plasma jet operating at 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The PTWA jet melts a steel wire and feeds into a rotating spray gun. The melted steel wire is blown into a specially machined surface of the aluminum-block engine cylinder bore using atomized air. During this process the melted steel wire oxidizes, creating a composite coating consisting of both iron and iron oxide.

The 2011 Shelby GT500 gets pretty damn good fuel economy, given how big it is and how much power it puts out. The 2011 Shelby GT500 is the first modern Shelby not saddled by the gas guzzler tax, thanks to the EPA-projected 23 mpg highway and 15 mpg city it delivers. This is up from 22 mpg highway and 14 mpg city for the 2010 model.

Sorry, no word on when or how much.

Photos: Ford

About The Author

Tony Borroz grew up in a sportscar oriented family, but sadly, it was British cars. His knuckles still show the marks of slipped Whitworth sockets, strains to reach rear upper shock bushings on Triumphs and slight burn marks from dealing with Lucas Electric "systems". He has written for a variety of car magazines and websites, Automoblog chief among them, as well as working on very popular driving games as a content expert. He has also worked for aerospace companies, software giants and as a movie stuntman. He currently lives in a secure, undisclosed location in the American southwestern desert.

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