For anybody under 25, it must be difficult to imagine a life before Google, the preeminent search engine giant that permeates our quest for knowledge. Its algorithms can translate drunken typing into coherent sentences and deliver instantaneous search results, and its ad network is used by businesses large and small to drive customers and sales. But if a company’s marketing team isn’t careful, Google’s search engine crawling might dig up some interesting information.
That might just be the case with the mystery of the 2017 Shelby GT500. Media outlets and Ford fans took delight in the search engine results for the term “GT500” producing a reference to the “2017 Shelby GT500, The Cobra of Performance Cars.” Is the GT500 slated for an imminent return, or is this just an SEO keyword glitch?
The site’s HTML code indicated highlights like selectable driving modes and the same as engine displacement as the previous, 662 horsepower GT500—a 5.8-liter V8 (which seems highly unlikely). It’s long been rumored that the next GT500 would ditch its traditional supercharger setup for twin-turbochargers, a rumor Ford itself fueled at SEMA 2012 with a twin-turbo, 5.0 liter Cobra Jet concept.
However, the 2016 Cobra Jet drag cars still utilize superchargers in favor of turbos. Also, Ford’s 2017 Mustang lineup is already broad, stretching from the base V-6 to the Shelby GT350. The search listing, which has since disappeared, does name the 2017 model year, but but this could simply be leftover, or a simple clerical error by the webmaster.
Such a vehicle, no matter the powertrain, does seems premature, as the 2018 Mustang refresh has yet to be announced, but the Google search could point toward a surprise reveal at next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Ford has been big on surprises in Detroit in particular, so we wouldn’t put it past them to unveil a GT500 to rival the Dodge Hellcat.
Wishful thinking or a sneak peek at what to look forward to? Time will tell.