Ford explains why the roof will never come off the baddest Mustang in existence.
Time is running out for the current generation Ford Mustang. Launched for the 2015 model year, the sixth-gen model, codenamed S550) is due to be replaced for 2023 by the poster-worthy S650. It won't be an all-electric pony car (yet) but will instead make use of an advanced hybrid system. Expect plenty of more details to come over the next several months. In the meantime, Ford is expected to begin winding down the S550's life and it's possible another special edition or two could arrive. What's definitely not in the planning is a Mustang Shelby GT500 convertible.
Speaking to Muscle Cars and Trucks, the Blue Oval's product platform boss, Hau Thai-Tang, acknowledged the S550 platform, when equipped with the GT500's 760 horsepower supercharged 5.2-liter V8, cannot accommodate a roofless variant.
“The GT500 I think we projected for. It’s towards the top end of the capabilities of (S550)… one of the things we didn’t do was a convertible variant for that reason. You have to find the bandwidth of the architecture.” Slicing off a coupe’s hardtop is not a simple process. Core factors like structural rigidity and weight have the potential to seriously dampen performance and handling.
Based on Tang’s comments, the S550 architecture was never engineered to have both nearly 800 hp and a roofless body style. What he didn’t make any mention of is whether or not this has been corrected for the upcoming S650.
No automaker will comment on future product, but we’re fully confident the Mustang Shelby lineup will be back in full force. Neither the S550 Shelby GT500 nor the GT350 were convertibles, but the previous generation Mustang did spawn a Shelby GT500 drop-top. It is possible such a body style and moniker will return but other factors like market demand will also help determine that.
Looking even further ahead, the S650 generation is only expected to stick around until 2028, give or take. At that time, an all-electric Mustang is due to arrive. Whether Ford will continue to sell a combustion-engined version remains unknown.