Yes, this really happened.
Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do in order to save lives. This mentality also applies when training to do so. Case in point: the Dearborn Fire Department. Of the many tasks required of emergency services, vehicle extrication is perhaps one of the most challenging and dangerous. Serious accidents can also lead to passengers in fragile conditions and they must be removed from the damaged vehicle quickly and very carefully, hence the training.
But this fire department's most recent training session late last week was somewhat different. How so? Their practice extrication vehicle was a 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.
The department's Facebook post even acknowledged it "almost broke [their] hearts to cut up" the muscle car. Fortunately, your heart rate can drop back to normal because this Rapid Red GT500 was just a test vehicle. In other words, it doesn't appear to be a street-legal Shelby GT500 with that glorious Predator 5.2-liter supercharged V8 producing 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque. Base price: just over $70,000.
The post also states this test mule was provided by Ford itself, so it'd be a reasonable assumption the vehicle was used for final development testing and would have been sent to the crusher regardless, as is standard procedure for all pre-production vehicles.
As you can see by these photos, vehicle extrication is a nasty process that involves cutting off the vehicle's sheetmetal in order to reach the injured passengers. Preserving the vehicle is not even a priority. You'll also notice the Mustang's side airbags were inflated even before the chopping began in order to further simulate a real-life scenario.
There's no doubt having an actual working vehicle on-hand for training purposes is a smart thing to do. Who knows? Perhaps one day you or someone you know will greatly benefit. But hey, at least this pre-production Shelby GT500 was sacrificed for a very good cause.