March 31, 2007
Ford’s King of the Road Brand Name is Back Riding 540 Horses
The automobile blogosphere is filled with joy today over the Return of the King at the 2007 NY Auto Show — King of the Road that is, in the form of the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR, unleashed once again to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Arnold Schwarzenegger of muscle cars, the 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500KR.
Carroll Shelby will once again be associated with the project, which was originally named "Cobra" to refer to the 428 Cobra V-8 under the hood which provided close to 400 horsepower.
The brand name “King of the Road” (KR), which was associated with a car that even today inspires awe, was a direct thrust at General Motors, who wanted their own King of the Road and wound up beaten to the punch.
Today’s car, which checks in with a 5.4 liter supercharged V-8 that delivers 540 horses puts the Carroll Shelby name on the headrests, 40th anniversary badges on the fenders and launches Ford’s Mustang brand name once again under the slogan "Need for Steed" — on the heels of the King will be the Mustang Bullitt.
There will be only 1000 GT500 coupes built, so get your orders in now.... and they are sure to be popular and pricey. The car looks to me — and to the numerous people who have written about it — like a worthy wearer of the King of the Road title. Plus getting Caroll Shelby involved gives the product naming a degree of authenticity.
This is no zombie brand relaunch (think Taurus, Ford).
This is a coronation of a hallowed brand name that will ride on the grille of a worthy successor and provide a needed boost for the Mustang brand.
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