This exquisitely built recreation of an iconic “King of the Road” – REVOLOGY GT500 KR SHELBY MUSTANG – drives as good as it looks, blogs Howard Walker.
The KR initials said it all. Back in 1968, Ford’s Shelby GT500 KR was the undisputed “King of the Road. Although factory underrated at just 335 horsepower, the 428-cubic-inch big-block Cobra Jet V-8 was actually cranking out close to 400 horsepower. For comparison, the standard 428 Police Interceptor GT500 engine was rated at 360 horsepower! The Shelby KR and the factory 428 Cobra Jet Mustang, were the fastest, most potent Mustangs you could buy in 1968.
Fast forward to 2023 and there’s a new Shelby GT500 KR King of the Road Mustang grabbing the attention of enthusiasts. This one, the latest creation from Orlando, Florida-based Revology Cars, also comes with a big V-8, but with a tad more horsepower. Think 710!
And when we say “new” it’s exactly that. This is not some concours-quality restoration based on an original 55-year-old rust-bucket Mustang. Revology’s Shelby GT500 KR is fresh from the ground up, with an all-new steel body, and modern Ford running gear, and assembled with a single-minded focus on quality and craftsmanship.
“The trouble with restored 1960s cars is that they might look cool, but they still drive like a 1960s car, with 1960s reliability. We build cars that are fun to drive, and are designed to be driven,” Tom Scarpello, Revology founder and CEO tells Chronicles during a recent visit to Revology HQ to try out his brand-new KR.
Back in 2014, Scarpello set up Revology to realize a dream of building brand new versions of Ford’s classic Mustang, rather than simply restoring them, or creating so-called “restomods” using new parts in old cars. Up until then, he’d enjoyed a powerhouse corporate career with the likes of Nissan, Infiniti, Jaguar, and finally, Ford, where he headed up operations for the Blue Oval’s high-profile SVT performance division.
What Scarpello did differently was to bring his combined manufacturing and marketing experience to low-volume, specialist production. Today Revology operates out of a sprawling, 51,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility on the outskirts of Orlando where, on an iPad-controlled assembly line, a workforce of 94 hand-build five-to-six cars a month. So far, he’s delivered over 170 cars!
Part of Scarpello’s success is also down to restricting what the company offers, keeping Revology’s line-up strictly limited to the 1966 to 1968 Mustang, in convertible, 2+2 fastback, and Shelby GT350/GT500 forms, each riding on the same platform.
As you might expect, he charges for perfection. Prices range from just under $250,000 for a ’68 Mustang GT 2+2 Fastback, to $ 320,000 and up for this latest GT500KR. And with an options list that would make Porsche proud – think $11,195 for a full Nappa leather interior, $8,145 for Shelby 10-spoke alloys, and $4,895 for an ear-bleeding Focal K2 stereo – few Revology Mustangs go out the door for less than $350,000. See this new GT500KR in the metal, its cherry Royal Maroon paintwork with Wimbledon White Le Mans stripes gleaming in the searing Florida sun, and you can’t help but be wowed. Scarpello, with his encyclopedic Mustang knowledge, explains that the original KR was a landmark model because it was built for just one year – 1968. It was also the first Shelby fitted with the Ford 428 Cobra Jet V8. According to SAAC (Shelby American Automobile Club), 1968 Shelby GT500 KR Mustang production was 1,053 fastback coupes, 517 convertibles plus a single convertible built for Hertz, for a total of 1,571 vehicles. Looks-wise, Revology’s KR is a near photocopy of the original. It features the same distinctive, angled grille opening, the same lightweight fiberglass hood with those air-gulping nostrils, and the same unique rear lights. The only minor visual difference; new 17-inch alloys instead of the original’s 15s, and LED lights. Pop the hood of the REVOLOGY GT500 KR SHELBY MUSTANG and here’s where everything changes. Squeezed tightly into the engine bay is a supercharged, Roush-tuned Ford 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 packing 710 horsepower and 610 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated to a 10-speed automatic, with the option of a six-speed Tremec stick.
Slide into that gorgeous retro interior, with its acres of hand-stitched ivory Nappa leather, real walnut on the dash, and shiny chrome accents, and soak in the details. Those neat hand-crank window winders? They’re actually electric; you push down to lower, pull up to raise. And closing the door produces the kind of solid, precision “thunk” you hear on a Mercedes G-Wagen. Fire up the big V-8, and listen to the lovely whoomph as it ignites, then immediately settles into a delicious throaty burble. Hello, 1968! If there’s a criticism, it’s that the gear selector is straight out of the Mustang parts bin, with no attempt to age-relate. But that classic, thin-rim wood steering wheel is just lovely to hold. Don’t go looking for an airbag; like an original ’68 Shelby, there isn’t one. At the first hint of an open road, standing on the throttle sees this new KR surge forward with a soul-stirring soundtrack of induction roar, supercharger whine and V-8 bellow. It’s loud but not excessively so, and at 75 mph-plus cruising speeds, it’s positively hushed. Red light goes to green, and off the line this pony can really giddyup. Car and Driver recently clicked the stopwatches on a Revology GT500 with the same engine as the KR and recorded a 0-to-60 mph time of just 3.7 seconds. That’s almost half a second quicker than the latest 2024 Mustang Dark Horse. Impressive.
Through the Orlando back roads, the Revology KR feels nimble and agile, courtesy of modern, nicely-weighted hydraulic rack and pinion steering. While the ride is sportscar firm, lumps and bumps are soaked up with refined ease. And in stop-start traffic, the car never gets old-car temperamental, its a/c providing an icy blast that would make any summer-weary Floridian smile. Scarpello and his team have done an impressive job creating a REVOLOGY GT500 KR SHELBY MUSTANG that has all the style and visual drama of an original KR, but with the latest mechanicals to easily make it a daily driver. As the Revology boss likes to boast: “We don’t build them like they used to”.
For more information about the REVOLOGY GT500 KR SHELBY MUSTANG and other modern-day Ponycars, please visit https://revologycars.com/