Any comparison between America’s classic cars, the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Corvette, nearly always begs the same questions: Is the Mustang (and particularly the Shelby) a Pony car or a Muscle car? Is the Corvette a sports car or a Muscle car?
According to cjponyparts.com: “Muscle cars are mostly all two-door coupes with rear-wheel drive and way too much power. Muscle cars aren’t known for their good handling (quite the opposite, actually), but they excel in one area: pure ridiculous speed in a straight line.”
While the Ford Mustang arrived in 1964 as a Pony car, it has evolved into much more. The Shelby versions have always represented the muscle segment. The Corvette was created as a sports car but over the years acquired Muscle car features.
According to Musclecarclub.com: “The Chevrolet Corvette first appeared in 1953 as a unique American entry into the sports car market… Although not a muscle car by definition, the Corvette used muscle car powertrains.”
Here are twenty stunning pics of the Corvette and the Shelby Mustang over the years.
20 1953 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible C1
The first Corvette produced in 1953 was not a success by most standards. Chevrolet manufactured 300 of the sports cars and sold only 183.
Chevy’s finely tuned 150 horsepower Blue Flame inline-six coupled to the only transmission available, a two-speed automatic, was used to power the fiberglass two-seat roadster. All the Corvettes produced were painted Polo White and boasted a red interior.
19 The Original 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350
Only a third of the ’65 Shelby GT350s were painted with the legendary Guardsman Blue Le Mans-style stripes on a white body. However, all except the “race” version, were equipped with a 289-CID K-Code engine that produced a respectable 306 horsepower.
Shelby made just 35 of the race versions – the GT350R that generated 360 horsepower – an almost unheard-of number for that era.
18 1960 Chevrolet Corvette C1
Chevrolet bumped up the power in the 1960 Corvette from the 290 hp generated by the previous year’s fuel-injected V-8 to 315 horsepower in 1960.
Along with the power boost, the ’60 model got a revised front end along with a new 1958 dual-headlight design. The dashboard was modified by moving the tachometer from the center to a location in the driver's line of sight just below the speedometer, which is more suitable for racing.
17 1966 Shelby GT350/GT350H
In 1966, Shelby built the unique GT350H “Rent-a-Racer” version of the GT350 and commissioned all 1,001 to the Hertz rental car company.
The GT350Hs were identical to the GT350s except for color: black with gold stripes. Hertz rented the first cars with manual transmissions, but when they discovered that some of the cars were being raced in SCCA events, Ford agreed to produce the remaining 800 with automatic transmissions.
16 1963 Corvette Stingray Split Window Coupe C2
The second-generation Corvette, dubbed the Sting Ray, featured a fiberglass body with a split-window design – unique to the first-year coupes – on an independent rear suspension. The model is equipped with Chevy's 327 V-8 mated to either a three- or four-speed manual gearbox or an automatic transmission.
Chevrolet also offered the Z06, a race-ready package with a 360-hp variant of the V-8 engine.
15 1967 Shelby GT500
Carroll Shelby commented on the 1967 GT500, “This is the first car I’m really proud of,” and rightfully so. Powered by the 427 CID “Cobra Le Mans” engine, Shelby’s racing team drove the ’66 model in the 1966 Le Mans Race and swept the top three places, scoring a victory over the Ferrari racing team and their 270-cu. in. V-12.
14 1967 Corvette C2 Gets a Bigger Engine
In 1966, Chevrolet bumped up the engine for the C2 to 427 cubic inches. The additional displacement produced 435 horsepower. However, an even more powerful mill was offered in ‘67. The L88 bent-eight was rated at 430 hp, but tests showed the real number was closer to 560 horsepower. Only twenty buyers opted for the beefy L88 engine.
13 1968 Shelby Cobra GT350
In 1968, the Mustangs sent to Carroll Shelby for conversion, again, took on the Cobra moniker. Minor modifications were made to the appearance with hood air intakes located closer to the front and redesigned grills. Enthusiasts claim the GT350 looks like a shark even though it carries the Cobra name. The ’68 Shelby was also equipped with a bigger 302 cubic inch engine.
12 1968 Corvette C3 from the Mako Shark III
Taking its form from designer Larry Shinoda's Mako Shark II concept car, the ’68 “Vette” that replaced the C2 model had an entirely new shape. Built on the underpinnings of the previous year’s Corvette, the powertrains were mostly a carryover, except for a new three-speed automatic transmission that replaced the prior two-speed unit.
11 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500
1968 marked the second year the Shelby Cobra GT500 was fitted with an FE 427 cubic inch 428 Police-interceptor V-8 engine. It used an aluminum mid-rise intake with Holley 2X4-barrel 600 CFM carburetors. The GT500 generated 355 bhp at 5,400 rpm and 420 lb-ft of torque at 3200 rpm.
Two thousand forty-eight Shelby Cobra GT500s were produced in 1967.
10 The 1970 Corvette LT-1
Corvsport.com considers the ’70 LT-1 one of the best Corvettes ever made, primarily due to the well-balanced, small block, 350-cubic-inch, V-8 engine.
Although it was rated at 370 horsepower, most Corvette enthusiasts believe it was a very conservative estimate. The LT-1 equipped Corvettes reached a quarter-mile in a mere 14.2 seconds with a top speed of 102 mph, indicating the engine was more likely producing closer to 400 horsepower.
9 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500KR
KR stands for King of the Road, which is precisely what the GT500KR was in 1968. Not only were handling improvements made to the Shelby, but power was also boosted with an improved Cobra Jet V-8.
A ram air hood scoop and other performance tuning made the GT500KR capable of producing 335 hp and 440 foot-pounds of torque at 3400 RPM.
8 2001 Corvette Z06 C5
Chevrolet offered only one engine for the Corvette Z06 in 2001. The L84 V-8 generated 360 horsepower and in the following year, boosted the output to a whopping 405 hp. The Z06 accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in a quick 4.3 seconds and reached a top speed of 170 mph.
The Corvette 2dr Z06 Hardtop had an MSRP of $48,055.
7 1969 Shelby Mustang GT350
Carroll Shelby’s involvement in the design of the GT350 diminished in 1969. Creative differences and slower sales resulted in a dissolution of the Shelby-Ford partnership by mid-year. The unsold ’69 models that had already removed their Cobra name were sold as ‘70s models.
Customized Shelby models during the following two years were sold exclusively in Europe and became known as “Shelby Europas.”
6 2013 Corvette 427 Convertible
Car and Driver said the only difference between the 427 Convertible and a Z06 is the hydroformed steel frame from the base Corvette used on the Convertible rather than the aluminum structural core of the Z06 and ZR1.
Both cars share the Z06’s 7.0-liter V-8 engine and the Z06’s six-speed manual transmission.
5 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The four-cam 32-valve V-8 engine of the 2010 GT500 added 40 more horsepower to the previous year's model. The result was a revamped Shelby Mustang that accelerated to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds. However, the engine’s massive weight made the car front-heavy with a negative effect on handling.
The Shelby team addressed the issue with an aluminum engine block for the 2011-2012 models that produced ten more horsepower while weighing a full one hundred pounds less than the older cast-iron mill.
4 2015 Corvette Z06
In 2015, the Corvette Z06 was approaching performance characteristics of modern-day supercars. The supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 engine produces 650 horsepower and pulls the Z06 to 60 mph in a mere 3.0 seconds on its way to a top speed of 200 mph.
Available in both coupe and convertible trims, Chevrolet offered either model with an eight-speed automatic or seven-speed manual transmission.
3 2015 Ford Mustang Shelby GT550 Supersnake
The "entry-level" Super Snake package, at $49,995, is an add-on to the 2015 Mustang GT. It includes a Whipple style supercharger, a carbon-fiber Super Snake hood with a forced-air hood scoop, rear spoiler, and carbon fiber front and rear diffusers.
The upgrade created a Shelby GT550 Supersnake boasting an 800 hp supercharged Ford V8 engine and an acceleration to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
2 2020 Corvette Mid-Engine C8
The eighth-generation Corvette, C8, is a remarkable performance sports car by any standard, but at a sub-$60,000 starting price, it may be the best performance car for the money.
The 6.2-liter "LT2" V-8 in the base Stingray model is mounted behind the passenger compartment and ahead of the rear axle, giving the car unparalleled handling characteristics. Add in the Performance exhaust option, and the LT2 engine generates 495 hp with a redline at 6600 rpm.
1 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The Ford Mustang has come a long way since its introduction in 1964 and as a Shelby version in 1965.
The 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 follows the same simple formula of cramming a lot of power into a modest body. The 5.2-liter supercharged engine that generates 760 HP in this coupe makes it the most powerful Ford automobile ever mass-produced.
Sources: caranddriver.com, cjponyparts.com, musclecarclub.com, corvsport.com