Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
May 6, 2016

In true Carroll Shelby spirit, the special edition 2016 Terlingua Race Team Mustang goes “all in” paying homage to the 1967 Trans-Am championship-winning Mustang campaigned by the Terlingua Race Team and driven by Jerry Titus. Terlingua was more than just a race team. The gang, headed by Carroll Shelby and Bill Neale, would hunt, ride motorcycles, and tear up on a 200,000-acre ranch in Texas.

“The Terlingua Racing Team was created in the 1960s to have a lot of fun for a lot of people,” says Bill Neale, designer of the famous Terlingua Racing Team Crest. “Our group was as passionate about playing as we were about racing. From our wild weekends on the Rio Grande in South Texas, to race tracks across the world, the Terlingua Racing Team took no prisoners.”

To celebrate the history of Terlingua, Shelby American will offer 75 post-title Terlingua Race Team Mustangs (50 in the U.S. and 25 internationally) that will feature 750hp 5.0 engine along with a slathering of race-oriented components that make this a true rack-ready machine. A Terlingua will set you back $65,999, not including the price of a Mustang GT.

Astute enthusiasts will remember the limited edition V-6 Terlingua Mustang offered in 2007. It had the looks, but fans craved V-8 power worthy of the team crest and racing livery that Neale designed to, as he stated, “symbolize that raucous, irreverent lifestyle that thumbed its nose at the establishment.”

Thumbing his nose was not hard for Carroll Shelby. In 1967 his Terlingua team proved triumphant over GM, Chrysler, and Ford. Now, 50 years later, the Terlingua Mustang goes after the competition with world-class power and supercar handling. In addition, each of the 75 models will be serialized and carry an autograph plaque of Bill Neale (a Terlingua founder and designer of the racing team crest), Carroll Shelby, and Jerry Titus, the 1967 Trans-Am Champion winning driver.

Our 2016 tester was fashioned in bright yellow with black accents. Made with weight-saving carbon fiber body components, the car was finished with racing stickers and roundels with the number 17. Additionally, Shelby will offer the Terlingua package in any color, but hood choices are limited to black carbon fiber or yellow.

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We spent a day with at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch putting the Terlingua Race Team Mustang through its paces. For comparison, Shelby provided a Shelby GT and a pair of Super Snakes, including 2014 and 2015 models for good measure.

“The Shelby Terlingua is our most track-inspired Mustang,” says Gary Schechner, VP of marketing and sales at Shelby American. “We start with a supercharged 5.0L V-8 Mustang GT producing over 750 hp and give it an exclusive Shelby-by-Eibach sway bar and adjustable coilovers. Then we bring in Ford Performance upgrades including half-shafts, and the aggressive-sounding Borla Exhaust with black tips. We also added the Brembo Big Brake kit and 20-inch Weld Racing wheels, plus tons of Shelby-designed carbon fiber components and the distinct Terlingua Racing Team badging. This car looks and runs like a Terlingua race car should.”

Each Terlingua is also fitted with a one-piece driveshaft, an ACE Manufacturing twin-disc clutch, and a Barton short-throw shifter.

“The Eibach system we’re running is comfortable on the street, but performs on the track,” says Vince LaViolette, lead designer and test driver for Shelby. “We want the customer to be able to run a full day on track without touching the car, or the brakes. All the consumables, like rotors and pads, have much improved life. We’ve incorporated 2 1/2-inch cooling ducts and we pick up air from the nose of the car. This can make them a touch noisy when they are cold, but it’s a worthwhile trade off.”

The suspension also includes adjustable dampers and rear toe bar, progressive springs, and IRS mounting enhancements designed to resists deflection. LaViolette also notes that the Shelby Team has improved engine and driveline cooling for better street and track performance.

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Emblazoned with racing stickers, stripes and a roundel proudly displaying Titus’ 17, the Terlingua is certainly no a sleeper. Slide into the cockpit and you’re welcomed by heavily bolstered seats with embroidered Terlingua logos. Fire the engine with a tap of the red start button and the crank rotates to create a bold cackle that rumbles at idle and howls when you throttle the loud pedal.

Entering the track we was anxious to see if the supercharged 5.0, wide Michelin Super Sport tires, hood heat extractors, Eibach adjustable suspension, big Brembo brakes, and aero additions would translate into improved grip, better control, and better top-end speed. We weren’t disappointed. The Terlingua felt light and had slightly better balance than the 2015 Super Snake. The enhanced S550 suspension absorbed imperfections and kept the tires in compliance with the road surface. The steering was precise, and when we loaded the suspension we could really feel the tires dig in and grip the track. At the limit we found the Terlingua to be neutral, and we loved the feel of the Brembo Big Brake kit.

We were able to achieve triple-digit speeds easily on the straights and found ourselves amazed at how easy the Terlingua was to drive fast. It inspired confidence, even during high-speed sweepers near the limit of grip. The Spring Mountain Ranch track incorporates a unique “jump” in the middle of two corners that caused the car to get light on its wheels. The Mustang took it like a pro, extending its suspension as the track drops away, then on the downside the Mustang’s suspension takes a set and we were able to roll on full power and remain glued to the road.

“This car sounds loud and looks loud,” says Schechner. “It’s designed for the enthusiast looking for track performance, even more so than the Super Snake.”

Noted Mustang expert and Shelby rep Scott Black says, “This car will have more of the cult following from customers who appreciate not only performance, but the history. They want to experience bleeding-edge technology but yet be very focused on Americana and have a connection to the Shelby legacy and the racing history.”

Standard Features
Carbon Fiber Body Components

Front splitter
Terlingua hood (polished or yellow) with Terlingua vents
Brake duct inlets
Mirror cap covers
Rocker panels
Terlingua rear spoiler
Taillight panel
Rear fascia diffuser
Hood extension (with polished hood)
\Barton short throw shifter
Terlingua upper and lower grilles

Terlingua Striping & Badging

Front grille emblem
C-pillar emblem
Faux gas cap
Rear Shelby letters
Terlingua Racing side panel decals and meatball

Performance

750-plus-hp supercharger (yellow powdercoated)
Ford Performance by Borla exhaust with black Shelby tips
Shelby by Eibach adjustable suspension (coilovers and sway bar)
Shelby Performance cooling pack
Weld Racing Venice wheels (black); 9.5x20 front, 10.5x20 back
Shelby Brembo 6-piston front brakes (yellow)
Shelby Brembo 4-piston rear brakes (yellow)
\Ford Performance half-shafts
3.73 gears (3.55 gears for Auto Transmission)
Ford Performance short-throw shifter
Terlingua engine cap set
Brake duct kit
1-piece driveshaft
Camber/caster plates
Shelby coilcovers

Signed Terlingua Racing Plaque Includes:

Carroll Shelby, Bill Neale, and Jerry Titus
CSM numbered dash plaque
Headrest cover
Carbon fiber gauge pod cluster (boost, fuel, oil pressure)
Floor mats
Backlit Shelby doorsill plates

Optional

Differential cooling kit
Transmission cooling
3.55 gears
Wavetrac differential
Adjustable rear toe rod
Convertible light bar
Carbon fiber latch cover
Katzkin interior package
Rollcage with 5-point harness
Sparco race seats
Painted carbon fiber components
3M window tint, windshield film, clear bra