Market Spotlight

Why is the 319-hp Shelby GT appreciating faster than the 500-hp GT500?

by Conner Golden
10 February 2023 5 min read

A thought experiment:

Two distinctly modern Shelby Mustangs, produced during parallel model years with a set of stripes and goosed-up V-8s. One was a Shelby-licensed Ford factory effort: a comprehensively-engineered 500-hp supercharged stick-axle snake that was, for a moment, the most powerful production muscle car on the planet. The other is a true Shelby-modified ‘Stang, marginally more than an aesthetic package with some quality bolt-ons.

Which would you expect to be more collectible? The 500-hp monster, right? Correct!

Well, kind of. Maybe. It’s complicated.

2007 Shelby GT | RM Sotheby’s

As you probably gleaned from the headline and that pretty pony in the lead image, these mystery Mustangs are the 2007-2009 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the 2007-2008 Shelby GT (SGT). And, if you determine collectability by which trades hands for more cash, then yes, the GT500 is the obvious winner with overall higher values across all conditions, according to the Hagerty Valuation Tool.

The money favors the big, beefy GT500, but something’s happening with the lesser-known Shelby GT. Both ‘Stangs have increased their values since 2020, but the understudy SGT has outpaced the GT500 in appreciation.

Pause for a moment—here’s some context before we get nerdy with the numbers. In the mid-2000s, the Mustang brand was arguably the strongest it’d been in decades, with the newly-launched S197-generation Mustang (2005-2013) ushering a surge of sales from a horde of new and returning Mustang owners looking to mainline a fat dose of nostalgia with the S197’s neo-retro design.

2006 Shelby GT-H | Broad Arrow Auctions

The time was right for a Shelby resurgence. Despite a successful turn at hopping-up Omnis, Chargers, and Dakotas for Chrysler, Carroll Shelby’s surname hadn’t graced the decklid of a Mustang in any capacity since Shelby legally re-VIN’d 789 unsold 1969 GT500s as model year 1970. The S197 reawakened Shelby’s relationship with the Mustang, first with the rare 2005 CS6 and CS8 Mustang packages, and shortly thereafter with a 21st-century rekindling of his bonds with Ford and Hertz. The two corporate giants teamed up with the famed Mustang maestro for the 2006 Shelby GT-H, a limited 500-unit run of Shelby-fied black-and-gold Mustang GTs exclusively for Hertz’s rental fleets that recalled the original Shelby-Hertz partnership from 1966.

A year later, Ford and Shelby collaborated again on the 2007-2008 Shelby GT as a commercially-available production version of the former GT-H—which, by the way, returned to Hertz’s fleet for the 2007 model year configured only as a convertible. For SGT production, Ford followed in the spirit of the Shelby Mustangs of 1960s yore by shipping new Mustang GTs straight from the factory to Shelby’s facility in Las Vegas for the hop-up kit.

2007 Shelby GT | RM Sotheby’s

A new intake, ECU, and exhaust squeezed another 19 hp and 10 lb-ft of torque out of the GT’s 4.6-liter V-8 for a total of 319 hp and 330 lb-ft. Upgraded springs, dampers, and thicker sway bars from a Ford Performance suspension kit significantly improved handling. Aesthetically, the rear spoiler was deleted and a new retro-style hood scoop, chrome five-spoke American Racing-style wheels, a new grille, and rear diffuser were added. Inside, the requisite Shelby commemorative plaque sits on the dash above a classic cue-ball shifter.

So, it’s best to consider the SGT a “Mustang GT-Plus” with Shelby bona fides. It never had its time at the top of the hierarchy however, as the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 also landed on U.S. tarmac in 2007. Developed almost entirely in-house by Ford’s Special Vehicles Team (SVT) with only consultation and licensing from Shelby, the new GT500 was fully built by Ford at its Flat Rock, Michigan, plant. Differences over its siblings were substantial: a supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 ripped the rear tires with 500 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, bigger Brembo brakes, and an aggressive suspension with revised springs and dampers to manage the added heft and power. It also sported a vented hood, different front fascia, and rear spoiler, along with its own unique wheels and tires.

2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 | Ford

But was it a Shelby? Well, according to some diehard Shelby supplicants, no. Despite the name on the decklid and window sticker, some claim this was more SVT than Shelby and had little to do with the “real” cars built in Vegas—nevermind that Ford contracted with Shelby for the later 2008-2009 GT500KR. The SGT, on the other hand, was as Shelby as they come.

Back to valuation. According to our Price Guide, $30,000 will buy a 2007 GT500 in Condition #3—what we consider “Good,” or an occasional-use, driver-condition car. You’ll find that shopping for a SGT saves you about eight grand over the GT500: $21,800 garners a same-condition Shelby GT.

That delta shrinks to $7000 when comparing Condition #2 cars: $35,600 fetches a SGT while the GT500 averages $42,600. That’s a relatively thin margin compared to the massive gulf in performance and—if we’re being honest—recognition. In Mustang history, the SGT is a well-thought-of B-side to the GT500’s top-40 hit.

2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 | Ford

Despite that, the SGT does have a few things going for it, principally that it’s dramatically rarer than its big bro. Just 7,865 SGTs were built between the 2007 and 2008 model years, compared to the 22,989 GT500s built from the 2007 to 2009. Also, the SGT’s values are gaining traction. Up 44% since January 2022, the SGT has outstripped the GT500’s 33% increase over the same period.

We’re primarily focused on the two Mustangs available to consumers when new, but Hertz’s GT-H does help provide a little context on what collectors prioritize. With only 500 units produced, it’s rarer than the other two. The nostalgia-advantaged GT-H is up 36% over the last year and has surpassed even the GT500 in value. Though they’re very nearly the same car, the values of the two naturally-aspirated GTs bookend their brawnier, supercharged stablemate.

What gives? We get some clues from who buys these hopped-up Mustangs. We don't break down demographic data for the SGT, but interest in the GT500, as determined by who calls Hagerty for quotes on insurance, disproportionately comes from Baby Boomers. On the whole, they represent just over a third of those calling about insurance—but nearly half of those calling about a GT500. Millennials, on the other hand, don't seem as interested in the muscle-bound GT500—their share of quotes lags their total market share by seven percentage points. We also see a decent number of GT500s (10 percent) in the garages of Shelby collectors.

Assuming the breakdown for the rarer Shelby GT is similar—and Hagerty Price Guide editor Greg Ingold thinks it is—then the values make sense. Rarity and authenticity might be more likely to matter to a serious older collector—particularly one who has curated a specific marque—than raw numbers. "Yes, the Shelby GT makes less power and is priced appropriately for that, but it carries the Shelby name and is still quite prized among Mustang and Shelby enthusiasts," added Ingold. Besides, someone who is really in it just for the power has plenty to choose from. The 2007 GT500 sparked a modern horsepower war that continues to this day with 650-hp Camaro ZL1s, 707-hp Challenger Hellcats, and 760-hp Shelby GT500s.

Will the Shelby GT will cross the Rubicon and join the GT-H with values above the GT500? Time will tell. Whether you choose rarity and Shelby-built provenance or the supercharged powerhouse with a moniker steeped in history, it's hard to go wrong.


  • Ken Sousa says:

    This article dances around the issue of pure desirability for “car guys”. From a collector/investor standpoint the SGTs higher growth rate makes it a better investment. From a car enthusiast’s standpoint the earth shaking power of the Shelby GT 500 is the attraction. It comes down to “do you like cars or do you like investing?” If the answer is the latter, you should be pursuing some other commodity than cars anyway.

  • Michael Heroy says:

    I had a 2007 Shelby GT/SC for a few years and about 25k miles and loved it. It was well balanced, lots of fun to drive. As the owner of two 60’s GT500’s, I felt it more important to have a car that was actually touched by Shelby than one that was simply licensed to carry the name. Besides, with the supercharger option, the power was close enough to the Ford GT500 for the difference in excitement factor to be minimal.

  • paul s murray says:

    i agree with the previous ( ken’s ) comment…kind of. you can combine buying a car because you desire it with considering it an investment as people buy art as an investment that you can hang on your wall. most of the people who do successfully will often say ‘ but i always buy what i like’ . ( yea i know you don’t put miles on painting but ) it’s in a way like the old adage for new market investors, ‘ don’t buy anything that you can’t find in your kitchen cabinet’. and you could consider ‘a’ collector car as a rainy day money,just in case. the 350 or 500? shelbys daily driver was a 68 GT-350 with an automatic. who’d have thunk it? and he did say that most people really wanted a car that looked like a racer but w/o the harsh suspensions and… so the locker became optional in 66 for that reason, the writing was on the wall. handing over the mustang project to ford then made perfect sense. unfortunately that eventually led to the hideous (forgive me fellow blue oval fans ) king cobra mustang II’s. the trans am – styled wheels, sports mirrors, special graphics package! era. the price of those things have gone through the ceiling. i haven’t a clue as to why. so, in a nutshell, damned if i know.

  • Roger Holeman says:

    I bought a new leftover ’67 GT500 from a Seattle area dealer in March ’68 when I was 18 and excited as all heck to be part of the Shelby mania. After driving it hard and putting it away wet during high school & college, the car sat for decades until my son & I restored it from 2000-2002. I was beyond ecstatic in 2006 when Shelby re-entered the market in the same way and so after a visit to the his operation in Las Vegas I ordered a 2007 SGT from Ford, thence to Shelby, and when the conversion was complete I got a call from the company president asking if I’d like anything added from their newly-started Mod Shop, such as….a Paxton supercharger. I could scarcely believe what I was hearing and thought it was 1965 all over again. Damn right, I said, and waited another 3 months (8 total from Ford order to post-conversion s/c installation) and then the car was delivered to our front door in WA state, on a truck with 2 other SGT’s both being 2008 models that by then were in production.
    I thought the Shelby feel was spot on with the Shelby GT/SC and the boost in performance over the stock Mustang or “regular” SGT or even the ’67 GT500 was absolutely thrilling with its 460 dyno-tested rear-wheel horsepower. Which one is more fun to drive? Certainly the SGT is greater in the “measurables” than the GT500, but the older car has the charm of history and youthful memories as well as its crazy fun ’60s muscle car noise and magic.
    While it’s always fun to see “investments” climb in price at any given time, there’s nothing like the long-term satisfaction of great memories brought fresh with the twist of a key. I’ve seen the GT500 value climb literally 100-fold during my ownership, then drop in half, climb again, and it just doesn’t matter to us. Now we’re seeing our ’07 Shelby Mustang climbing back up toward it’s $50k cost.
    Thank you, Carroll Shelby, for a lifetime of great car fun.

  • cyril gollop says:

    thank you for an article that does not have Chevy mentioned as a better alternative. Which makes me happy. As the Camaro is nowhere in your reports for best cars Wonder why???

  • Bob Luchette says:

    I also owned an 07 GT/SC (1721), which turned out to be 1 of 46 that was installed w a Paxton. I did the museum delivery in June 07, which was when they were starting to use the whipple chargers. I was happy to have mine w the Paxton because the 60s Shelbys had them. In Vegas, they told me that the car had 410 hp, it was very fast and fun to drive in the desert. I later had Tasca Shelby mod shop to tune the car while it was there for a computer re flash due to lack of emissions info, it came back w 482 at the wheels ( they actually turned the boost down a little). That means it was basically making the same hp as a GT500, which to me significantly made the car more desirable. When the two cars are next to each other the GT500 almost looks like a 4×4, the SGT is much lower.
    Using a GT/SC as an example and being as real a Shelby as my 67, in my opinion should be significantly more valuable than the GT500. Aside from the 5spd vs the 6spd ( I love the Hurst in the SGT and it took a little sting of wanting a 6spd) the GT/SC is the better package. I was in at 20k less than a GT500, I bought well from the preorder dealer and the 500s were being marked up to 65k at the time.

  • John M Perretta says:

    Dude, Don’t know about any other weak years, but whatever you just wrote does not apply to the 13, 14 SCUD MISSILE GT500. END OF STORY

  • Robin Moody says:

    My husband was right, I wanted the GT 500 so bad, he refused to pay 10k over sticker, we drove by a dealership that had a brand new Shelby GT . My husband said let’s get this, it went to Shelby in Vegas, he said this is a real Shelby. I got my Shelby. A few years later we were lucky enough to get an 06 & 07 Hertz. Last year I also got my GT 500, found a beautiful 07 Tungsten grey with 14,000 miles on it & the window sticker signed by Carol Shelby. We love our Mustangs. Have a few non Shelby’s.

  • Ted Danner says:

    Good article and food for thought. Please note the S197 generation runs through 2014, not 2013. Similar year GT500s make for a solid comparison in this article (2007-2009). The 2011-2012 GT500 with 550HP (and new aluminum block) and in particular the monster 2013-2014 GT500 with 662HP, are somewhat different within the S197 generation and more valuable.

  • Norm Johnson says:

    I owned a 2008 Shelby GT, Barrett Jackson version, and later a 2011 Shelby GT500. I preferred the 2008 Shelby GT because it’s power matched the GT’s chassis. For a live axle car is was fun to drive fast. The problem with the GT500 was it could easily overwhelm the car and it’s driver if you were not on your game.

  • Gary Bechtold says:

    I’d rather have the 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 over a Shelby GT.

  • John Dunsmuir says:

    In ’09 I test drove an ’07 Shelby GT and a GT500 and came away with the SGT. I preferred its nimble handling, the 500 felt a bit ponderous with its heavy iron block. The SGT was my daily for 5 years before it became a “collectable”. I still have it and enjoy it. The original stripes are a bit faded and I’m thinking about replacing them, otherwise the car is holding up very well. Never regretted my choice.

  • A A C says:

    I think I speak for many GT500 owners/drivers when I say.. who cares about the market. Almost NOTHING beats the sound of the roots supercharger whine coupled with the guttural exhaust note of the GT500. If you are looking for investments, there are far better cars for that, but I can almost guarantee they don’t thrill better – the power per dollar ratio is almost unsurpassed.

    • Shawnski says:

      That awesome. I rented the Hertz version back in the day, and I thought the chassis was incredible for a Mustang. Only really surpasses since the addition of the magnetic shock equipped G6. Yes the likewise vintage GT500 looks and sounds incredible, but the SGT was certainly superior in the twisties.

  • Todd Bonasera says:

    The SGT was made for track and ran circle’s around the GT500. The GT500 was made more for drag racing.

  • Andrew S says:

    Having owned 60s Shelbys as well as modern Ford licensed/produced Shelbys, to me it makes no difference to where the modern ones were built once Carroll passed. Carroll has been gone for a decade and cars rolling out of Vegas since then have no guidance from him on how they have been built. Just my opinion.

    It really comes down to how the owner of their car feels about their build. Either get it modded in Vegas, or built at a factory, or modded at your local tuner – do what works best for you. Drive it, enjoy it and maybe if your lucky it will maintain its value if it survives. To me the biggest value is smiles per mile. Just get out and use it.

  • Shawnski says:

    My oldest son bought a sub 4k mi SGT. He paid good money, but fair for what is essentially a barely broken in car. I think there are many low mile SGTs and GT500s that were bought for a lot of reasons including future collectibility. Does it make since to buy a car, store it with insurance only to get roughly what you paid for it 15 years or so later? I don’t think so, however for someone looking for a mint time machine they are good value for the buyer IMO.

  • Penn Central says:

    2007-2008 is a “real” Shelby; low production and not an assembly line item. Second, it has the finesse of grand tourer in character with an emphasis on road holding abilities as well as power. More liveable for actual driving. The exclusivity of its low numbers and true credentials really should count over mass production…. Th GT500 is awesome, but rarity means more….

  • Charlie Cristiano says:

    The is more to the SGT story. The first run of cars in 2008 were the 215 Shelby GT-C’s. These cars had additional GT-C markings on the door sills and had CS signatures on the passenger visor. Most were sold in Southern California. Also not mentioned in the article are 100 Barrett Jackson cars.

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