If you prefer your mega-horsepower pony cars in topless flavor, the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 convertible may be just what you’ve been looking for. Like its coupe stablemate, the new GT500 convertible packs a supercharged 5.8-liter V-8, good for 650-horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, beneath its striped hood.

To translate those numbers into real-world performance, the new drop-top Shelby GT500 can lap Florida’s legendary Sebring International Raceway three-and-a-half seconds quicker than last year’s GT500 convertible.

While the added power is a big part of the reason why, the 2013 Shelby GT500’s handling and braking have been improved, too. Opting for the new Performance Package will get you electronically adjustable Bilstein dampers and revised chassis tuning that’s ideal for track days.

The Brembo brakes have been beefed-up for 2013 as well, with six-piston calipers up front and larger-diameter rotors both front and rear. High friction brake pads ensure that stopping power matches the rest of the car’s capabilities.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT), and all GT500 models will get a special lighted sill plate to commemorate the occasion.

If you want to know how much has changed in 20 years, ponder this: the 1993 SVT Mustang Cobra made a then-impressive 235 horsepower from its 5.0-liter V8. That makes us wonder just how fast the 2033 Mustang GT500 will be.

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