Carol Duckworth, courtesy of Mecum Auctions
• One-owner car • 1,025 miles • 500-hp SVT engine • 6-speed transmission • Brembo brakes • Dual exhaust • Red with white GT stripes • Black and red interior • AM/FM CD stereo • Navigation • SVT wheels • Owner’s manual

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:2008 Shelby GT500 convertible
Years Produced:2007–14
Number Produced:47,996
Original List Price:$46,775
SCM Valuation:$30,000–$40,000
Tune Up Cost:$400
Distributor Caps:$280 (eight plug-mounted coils)
Chassis Number Location:On driver’s side of dash, visible through windshield
Engine Number Location:Tag on driver’s side valve cover
Club Info:Shelby GT500 Club, Shelby American Automobile Club
Alternatives:2003 Ford Mustang Cobra Terminator, 2014 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, 2012 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1
Investment Grade:D

This car, Lot T189, sold for $35,100, including buyer’s premium, at Mecum’s 2,400-car Kissimmee sale in Kissimmee, FL, on January 16–25, 2015.

The baddest Mustang

Ford is no stranger to the world of forced induction. Cars such as the 2003 and 2004 Mustang Cobras and same-era Lightning pickups carried the performance torch for the Blue Oval throughout the early 2000s. So when it was time to build the baddest version of the new-gen Mustang for 2007 — the new Shelby GT500 — the company turned to that tried-and-true Roots-type blower, this time mounted on top of a 5.4-liter V8. The result was a shrieking 500-hp top-dog muscle car equally at home racing on the track or running to the grocery store.

I drove GT500s when they were new, so I can say with authority that they’re great, usable muscle cars. They have tons of power, but also deliver nimble, eager handling. That makes the GT500 a fantastic overall package for the end-user, and at its release, it became the bar to meet with regard to powerful pony cars in the modern era.

No doubt thanks at least in part to the success of the GT500, superchargers have become the power adder of choice among the Big Three in the latest round of the muscle car wars. Chevrolet used one in 2012 on the 580-hp Camaro ZL1, and Dodge came last (but biggest) to the party in 2014 with the launch of the 707-hp Challenger and Charger Hellcat editions.

More is better?

The GT500 has always been about big power, and that power has gotten bigger over the years. In 2010, the car’s output was boosted to 540 hp, and it was boosted again to 550 hp in 2011. The 2013 and 2014 models produced even more grunt — a tire-shredding 662 horsepower and 631 pound-feet of torque from a new 5.8L V8. Special editions available from Shelby American came with engines tuned up even further, with some versions boasting a claimed 1,200 horsepower.

Of course, all that power drove interest and sales. From 2007 through the end of 2014, Ford produced 47,996 Shelby GT500 cars. That number accounts for all production — special editions, convertibles and coupes. Such a high production number is good news for the person who would like to own one of these cars down the road — but not so much for the people who paid big premiums to buy one of the first, last or only examples on a showroom floor.

Our subject car is a great example why.

New-car looks, used-car depreciation

The original MSRP for the 2008 Shelby GT500 was $41,930 for the coupe and $46,755 for the convertible. That’s key to this analysis because our subject car is a time-capsule 2008 GT500 convertible with just 1,025 miles on its odometer.

Every indication is that this car was carefully stored indoors and is for all practical purposes a brand-new car. That means it was basically pickled by its first owner, probably as an investment. In terms of condition, it doesn’t get much better than this.

However, while Mecum estimated that the final sale price of this car would fall between $40,000 and $60,000, the car changed hands for just $35,100. Compare that with the original MSRP, and you’ve got evidence of the typical downward pricing trend associated with instant collectibles — that is, cars that were bought and put away as investments from new.

Generally, new-car depreciation drops car values to their lowest levels at about 15–20 years of age before they (maybe) start to move back up. Following that model, we can expect further downward movement ahead for this generation of GT500 — a car that’s not even 10 years old yet.

Crunching the numbers

Okay, so as an investment, the modern GT500 has not yet been a hot performer. But was this one a deal? The numbers suggest that the money here was right on compared with other GT500 sales from the last year. However, most — if not all — of those other cars had higher mileage than our subject car did, and many were the lower-priced GT500 coupes. This car was better in pretty much every way.

High production numbers hurt the bottom line here, as does the fact that a lot of these were preserved the very same way this car was. With almost 48,000 cars produced, buyers in the market for one of these have a large number of adult-owned, low-miles, always-garaged, well-kept examples to choose from — and that’s likely to be the case for the foreseeable future.

Also, this was an earlier car with the lower-output engine, and that affects pricing somewhat. Within the model history, the 2007–09 cars are and will likely stay the most affordable simply because they have the lowest power rating of the production run.

However, while this car may not be rare or have the most desirable specs, I’d say this sale is the definition of well bought. Why? Because the buyer received all the benefits of a new drop-top Shelby while taking 30% off the original MSRP. It’s a great way to buy one.

The sad part of the story isn’t that the original owner took the markdown, it’s that he or she can’t have gotten much pleasure out of the car over the past six summers. Let’s hope the new owner doesn’t make the same mistake.

(Introductory description courtesy of Mecum Auctions.

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