The unveiling of the 2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Convertible at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show marked the 20th anniversary of Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT), which was launched publicly at the 1992 Chicago Auto Show with the unveiling of the 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra and SVT F-150 Lightning.
To truly appreciate the progress made in the realm of the team’s performance vehicles, one must take a step back and look at the numbers: the 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra — the pinnacle of Ford performance at the time — used a 5.0-liter V8 engine with an output of 235 horsepower; by comparison, the 2013 Shelby GT500 cradles a 5.8 liter supercharged V8 responsible for a monstrous 650 horsepower. That’s an increase of more than 100 percent — resulting in twice as much power — in a matter of 20 years.
Since 1993, Ford has produced more than 210,000 SVT-developed cars and trucks, all of which were designed and developed with the four SVT attributes in mind: Performance, Substance, Exclusivity and Value. Some vehicles to come out of the team since its inception include the Ford GT, Mustang Cobra R and Shelby GT500/GT500KR, F-150 Lightning and Raptor, SVT Contour, 3 and 5-door variants of the SVT Focus, as well as the upcoming Focus ST.
In other words, the team has engineered everything from mid-engined supercars and front-wheel-drive compacts to rear-wheel drive muscle cars and high-performance on-road and off-road pickups. “There is no other performance house in the world that can match that diverse résumé”, said SVT chief engineer Jamal Hameedi.
The 2013 Shelby GT500 has been designated as the team’s celebratory vehicle and will feature a commemorative lighted sill plate with the letters SVT in honor of the department’s anniversary. Looking ahead, SVT has joined forces with Ford’s European performance arm — Team RS — forming the Performance Vehicles Group. The expanded team is responsible for crafting a strategy for all future global performance Ford cars, with the first being the Focus ST and followed by the Fiesta ST, which was recently shown in concept form.
From all of us here at Motrolix — congratulations to SVT for a successful 20 years in the biz. Here’s to another 20 years of high performance — in whatever form, shape, or size.