Mustang Shelby GT500
After the breakup of the Beatles, there was probably no greater pop-culture breakup than when Carroll Shelby dissolved his partnership with Ford after the 1967 model year. However, unlike the band, Shelby and Ford reunited in 2006 for the newest iteration of the Shelby Mustang. The 1969-1970 Shelby Mustang GT500s were perhaps his best efforts at turning production models into performance automobiles.
The Shelby GT500 for 1969 wasn't so much about Carroll Shelby as it was about Ford's concept of what the car ought to be. Shelby was gone after he failed to renew his contract, but his brief stint at Ford would pave the way for the 1969 Shelby GT500. When the 2+2 fastback was released in 1965, Shelby saw the potential for it becoming a performance car. He asked Ford to send him production models and then installed 289 V8s, a fiberglass hood, and removed the rear seat.
Every 1969 Shelby GT500 wasn't a performance car; some were more luxurious convertible models. That year, the Mustang body was redesigned, becoming about four inches longer and 140 lbs. heavier. The added components and larger size seemed to foreshadow what would come out of Detroit in the 1970s. The 428 was added to the GT500, which made the weight distribution 59/41 and decreased handling. The car might have been a better contender if it wasn't so heavy; Ford placed it on a 108" wheelbase. The front suspension came with coil springs, tubular shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar, and the rear suspension had a live axle with adjustable tubular shocks and leaf springs. The GT500 had disc brakes on the front and drum brakes on the rear wheels.