Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
May 15, 2012
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

At its extreme northern end, Las Vegas Blvd. is nothing like the congestion and bright lights of "The Strip." By the time you pass Nellis Air Force Base and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the road becomes a smooth, four-lane blacktop that stretches like a straight strip of ribbon into the mountains. Patterson turns left and points the Shelby 1000 toward the horizon.

There's no need to launch from a standing start. It's a given that 1,000 hp will overpower the street tires in First, Second, and even Third gears. At the top of Third, Patterson nails the throttle and the Shelby 1000 hurtles forward under a rush of exhaust noise and supercharger whine, sounding very much like the in-car camera view of an Indy Car on TV. Peripheral vision becomes a blur as Patterson shifts into Fourth and the blue Shelby continues to rocket forward before Gary eases off the throttle at somewhere around 140 mph, although it's obvious that there's plenty more available.

"What separates the men from the boys is what happens after 60 mph," Patterson explains as the Shelby 1000 coasts down to a more normal highway speed. "That's where big power rules. We haven't tested the quarter-mile yet but it's not really set up for that. Our original Super Snake ran 10.87 at 134 on drag radials. With Shelby 1000, it's not going to be much quicker. When you get above 100 mph, that's where an extra 250 horses come in handy."

Patterson eases to a stop and we trade seats. Testing the shifter, I find that it's familiar and precise, which is somewhat comforting. The clutch pedal is firm but not overly stiff, although I notice that it takes some finesse to get the car rolling because the rpm drop quickly as the clutch engages. (In a later conversation with Nevarez, he tells me that he fixed that glitch with his tuning magic).

I take it easy in First, then dip into the boost in Second. Tire spin. Third gear produces more of the same, only it takes a little more throttle to send the rear end slewing sideways, which is a bit disconcerting at 60 mph. Easing into the throttle, the tires finally grab traction and the Shelby 1000 does what it does best as vehicle speed and engine revs climb. It's a total rush through Fourth gear, when I decide that it's best to leave the high-speed driving to Patterson.

Heading back to Shelby American headquarters, I get an idea of how the Shelby 1000 handles normal driving situations. With huge Shelby/Wilwood brakes, there's plenty of confidence in the car's stopping ability. Driving along a bumpy access road, the suspension is firm but not rough. I love the fact that the car purrs along at lower speeds just like any other new Mustang, riding and sounding like a performance car but perfectly content and well-mannered.

It’s a true Jekyll and Hyde performance car.

With its outlandish horsepower and price tag, Shelby American doesn't expect to sell many Shelby 1000s, 25 to 50 at the most. But you can bet that much of the R&D and technology will trickle down to future Shelby products, as if 525hp G.T. 350s and 800hp Super Snakes aren’t powerful enough.

Best of all, Carroll's wish for a 1,000hp Shelby has come true.