Hey everyone. Over memorial day, while visiting my family in the thriving metropolis of Canastota, NY, I had the opportunity to switch cars with my 70-ish year old (step-technically) father for a few miles. He was really interested in the WRX, being a total motorhead, but he's a ford/chevy kind of guy, so this was a very different experience for him. I'm always interested in new cars because... well... they are new! And who can say no to a trip in a mustang. This is actually the 2nd mustang I've driven, the first being a 1999 (?) SVT mustang cobra.
So, you can find info on my car here:
Tanker's TurboSnail: I choose you!
Basically, a full-bolt on TP stage 3 car with headers. Let's call it 300 hp, 330 tq.
I walked my dad through how to drive it, with the AWD, launch control, gauges, AP, and stuff like that. He's raced most of his life (motorcycles and snowmobiles mostly), so it's not all that concerning that he's going to be beating on my car too ridiculously. Plus if it breaks, he's paying to fix it. I really want a new clutch
So my ride for the afternoon:
A bone stock SUPER SNAKE tuned by Nemer Ford. I believe this means it started life as a GT500 and Nemer Ford made it an authorized super snake? I am not very familiar with mustangs, being more of a tuner/hot hatchback type of guy, and didn't get a lot of details on the car, to be honest, because I was literally salivating to drive it, so I actually forgot the year: but I think it's a 2012. It could be a 2013, I honestly am not sure - and honestly I don't care. I know he hasn't done anything to it, and knowing my dad he never will. He's probably going to trade it in with 5,000 miles on it 2 years from now for the updated version.
I'll try to get more info from him on the details of the car. According to dad his most recent quote via email: "HP is a tad over 700, the torque I would have to look at home. There is no way in hell I will ever short shift to second or third gear on the street and hit it again. Did it three times that was enough. The car wants to swap ends real quick, don`t want to wreck it."
Anyway, pics taken on my crappy cell phone:
So, what was my thought on the Shelby?
Well, we can start with the motor. Obviously it's faster than my WRX (once you get traction), given the relative nature of the supercharged V8 beast. The whine of the supercharger is outstanding (once you get traction), and totally different than the build-up of the turbo spool (once you get traction). The sound of the motor is also something that can make you very happy (once you get traction) - the exhaust note is nice and deep, but not obnoxiously so. The intake noise is similarly cool at lower RPMs, but I found it drowned out by the supercharger, which sort of stunk. The transmission was pretty slick, and I didn't miss any shifts, or stall it or anything like that, which is usually a good sign on a first drive a car is laid-out well. I like the shifter ball, too (totally random, I know).
The outside, to me, seemed a bit too sparse, but only by the slightest margins. With the body lines being as simple as it is, I think another accent could be received well. Perhaps it's the color, but I think a small bit of garnish on the sides would help, but as looks can be subjective I'll only say that its 'very nice looking' - and at this point you've probably all seen one in real life to judge for yourselves. I liked the hood 'scoop' (or is it a vent?) laid out like it was. The new, more masculine, body style really fits the nature of the supercharged monster living under the hood that loves to come out and play (once it gets traction). Overall, an interestingly retro-looking modernized classic car.
It handled surprisingly well, considering all the articles I've read on how badly mustangs handle. I think he said this has the 'track package' (I'm not sure if that's a real thing, or if I'm making that up, or if it comes stock with the car), with partial street slicks and some other stuff. If you were rolling, you could get the back end out and throttle-stear around corners pretty easily, but that tended to cut the drive out of the turn down on the roads, so I didn't really enjoy it like I'm sure it could be enjoyed. I really need to learn to listen to my dad.
The inside I actually liked quite a bit for a sports car. Controls where were they should be (at least to me), and most of the car layout made it easy to drive (once you got traction). Materials seemed nice, and nothing seemed to be 'overdone' or 'overworked', if that makes sense to you designers. The seats were more comfortable than my WRX, for sure. There was even room for 2 (small) people in the back.
Overall, I really liked the car. However, I'm not sure if you've seen a re-occuring theme to my experience with the Shelby, but I honestly believe the GT500 has (I don't believe I'm going to write this) too much power for the drivetrain. I guess it's the rear axel, or maybe the car needs even more sticky tires, but I constantly broke loose in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears with relatively small applications of power. At one point, my wife asked me "Are you doing that on purpose?" when I would go sideways. It's really a car that you need to constantly be aware of because it can jump out and bite you in the butt (particularly 1st - 2nd, and 2nd - 3rd). I almost spun it around a few times at gear changes - and I'm not a bad driver (I'm not spectacular either, but I've a few race driving schools under my belt). I'm almost wondering if a turbo design wouldn't be more intelligent for the car as you can build the power as the traction catches up. I apologize for not having my wife take video of the drive, I thought of this on the drive home.
So overall, the car was blast to drive, but I don't think that I'd be able to drive it fast on a race track at all. In all honesty, I actually like the way a turbo builds power more than the way a supercharger does (once you get traction). The supercharger whine is kind of intoxicating though.
What did my dad think about my car? Well, he's driven a few turbos before, but not in a long time (he had an old buick regal something-or-other when I was real young). When he first got on the WRX hard, he thought he broke something because the car didn't spool up for a few seconds (he was in 3rd at like 2000-2500 rpms when he hit it). I told him it spooled up fast, so my mom said had one of those "huh? where? Let me see... OHHHHHHHHH!" moments. He wouldn't admit it, but we all know the drill. Once he figured it out, he really started playing around with it in 2nd and 3rd gear, and seemed to be enjoying himself quite a bit. He really liked how the car could corner with the AWD once you figured on when to get on the throttle and let the turbo build power through the turn.
His biggest complaint was that he didn't feel like he was going that fast in my car. This made me a bit quizzical. Now, I understand coming from the Shelby to my car is a severe power drop, but I wouldn't call my car slow by any means. It's not a rocket ship, but it'll get the groceries in a hurry. I had him explain what he meant, and all I can figure is, with the AWD platform, he wasn't working hard to keep the car in a straight line like you have to with his Shelby (or his 69 camaro). This made the car feel more tame and slow than the Shelby. He never launched the WRX, so on the way home from dinner, my wife was driving the Shelby and I had the WRX and I gave it a pretty hard run from 0-60, and he grabbed the 'oh crap' handle and said "it never felt that fast when I was driving it". That made me happy.