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Why Racing Stripes Cost $10,000 on the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Car and Driver logo Car and Driver 3 days ago Alexander Stoklosa
a car parked in a parking lot: It had to happen. You didn’t think Ford was going to sit around in Dearborn, Michigan, gnawing on chicken shawarma sandwiches while its competitors built Hellcats and ZL1s, did you? Carmakers might be dumping increasingly large loads of money into ride-sharing schemes and electric cars, but meanwhile the big-boy pony cars are playing with 700-plus horsepower. Seven-hundred-plus horsepower. Think about that for a second. The Le Mans–class-winning, half-million-dollar Ford GT makes 647 horsepower. A $300,000 McLaren 720S only just crests the 700-hp summit. And the Porsche 911 Turbo S produces a paltry 580.

  • The 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 has optional painted-on racing stripes that cost $10,000, and when we spec'd the car for a story, we chose them.
  • Available in black, blue, and white, the stripes cost 10 times as much as the stick-on vinyl stripes Ford also offers on the GT500.
  • Due to the labor-intensive application process, Ford is limiting the option.

Want to inflate the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500's $73,995 base price by 14 percent with only one option? Buy the optional painted-on racing stripes, of course! They cost $10,000, which seems, um, decadent for a non-performance-enhancing feature on a pony car's option sheet.

a red car parked in a parking lot: Seriously? Stripes that cost $10,000?! What is Ford thinking, and are they worth the money?© Ford Seriously? Stripes that cost $10,000?! What is Ford thinking, and are they worth the money?

But wait, you might be asking: What's the going rate for factory-applied stripes these days? The GT500's option sheet provides insight by way of its available stick-on vinyl stripes, which run $1000. On the less powerful GT350, those same vinyl stripes cost $495. Curious what the 1000 percent markup for the GT500's painted-on versions was all about, we reached out to Ford for clarification.

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Apparently, the stripes are hand painted onto GT500s so ordered. Per a company spokesperson, the stripe job is "hand-prepped, painted, and then clear-coated." He adds that "Due to the specialized nature of the process, [Ford has] a very limited production capacity." Indeed.

a red umbrella: 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500© Ford 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500

Even though we've yet to experience these hand-painted stripes firsthand, we can say that stripe aficionados shouldn't dismiss their $10,000 price out of hand. Being integral with the car's paint job, the stripes shouldn't peel or start to come off, as those cheaper vinyl ones did on our 2017 Mustang Shelby GT350 test car. (The decals began forming bubbles beneath their surfaces and peeling up at their edges after less than a year.) Granted, that car lived in salty, harsh Michigan—but so does the Ford Motor Company. Our point, besides still feeling salty over our GT350's failed stripes? Get the painted-on stripes if you seek racing-stripe object permanence. They're available in the same colors as the vinyl pieces: black, blue, or white.


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