The new top pony car will need all the stopping power it can muster.
3D printing is picking up steam in the automotive industry. The latest to embrace the technology is Ford, which will reportedly use the high-tech manufacturing method for a vital component on the upcoming new Mustang Shelby GT500.
Ford has announced that its new Advanced Manufacturing Center is being tasked with producing parts for the top Mustang's brakes. The product of a $45-million investment, the 135,000-square-foot facility has 23 3D printers on site. Just which parts of the brakes it will produce, we don't know. But the forthcoming high-powered pony car will surely need every bit of stopping power it can muster.
Set to be revealed next month at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the new Shelby GT500 is expected to pack a 5.2-liter supercharged V8, churning out some 720 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque to reach a top speed of 190 mph. That'll give it a significant edge over the existing GT350, and help the Blue Oval take on the likes of the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE – maybe even some versions of the Corvette – in the pony/muscle-car wars forever being waged in southern Michigan.
Way back in 1988, Ford bought the third 3D printer ever made. By now it has 90 of them for producing parts and tooling, using them to build early Ford GT prototypes, the Mondeo Vignale's grilles, and interior components for the F-150 Raptor. One (unidentified) component it's printing in three dimensions could save the automaker over $2 million.
"More than 100 years ago, Ford created the moving assembly line," said Ford operations chief Joe Hinrichs "Today, we are reinventing tomorrow's assembly line – tapping technologies once only dreamed of on the big screen – to increase our manufacturing efficiency and quality."