Dale Amy
February 22, 2014
Photos By: Scotty Lachenauer

Horse Sense: For his 50th birthday in 2014, Michael plans yet another cross-country jaunt in his Shelby, aiming for destinations like Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and the Pebble Beach Concours, before heading back east to New Jersey via the whole length of Route 66.

The fact that many of the cars bearing his oh-so-collectible name tend to become garage queens used to rile Carroll Shelby to no end. A racer by nature, and speed-merchant to the end, the irascible Texan always preferred that his cars be driven—with mucho gusto!—and not merely displayed like shampoo'd show poodles. With that in mind, we have to think the globetrotting logbook of this particular '07 Shelby GT would have made the big man grin with satisfaction.

This well-traveled coupe belongs to New Jersey's Michael Bruno, who may have come late to the Shelby party, but he seems to be making up for his tardiness with a vengeance. Those decals on his coupe's flanks aren't just window dressing or wishful thinking—this thing has seen roads or tracks in 36 states of the union and no less than 11 countries.

On one 2012 trip alone, Michael's blown Shelby GT was shipped to Amsterdam where it joined 11 other Shelby Mustangs and a Ford GT on a two-week, 4,000km blast through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, France, and Belgium. And this wasn't just genteel cruising, as the Shelby Run Europe itinerary included various speed runs as well as lapping sessions at Germany's infamous Nurburgring—where a single lap consists of no less than 75 turns spread over 14 miles—and on the historic track at LeMans.

I almost couldn't believe my eyes as we drove under the Dunlop Bridge.

The French track left an indelible impression: "I almost couldn't believe my eyes as we drove under the Dunlop Bridge," Michael said. "As we progressed along the track, so did our speed. Soon our tires were warm and the pace increased dramatically. I couldn't see the pace car—I was too far back in the pack. But apparently the pace driver thought he was leading F1 cars around the track, 'cause he was long gone. We did what any self-respecting drivers would do—we sped up. A lot. Before long, we were cruising along at speeds in excess of 140 mph on the Mulsanne Straight…"

A stout FRPP 4.6 Aluminator short-block is at the heart of the matter—an intercooler pump failure having sent the factory version to the scrap heap. With a conservative tune onboard, the Whipple-topped Three-Valve sends 510 hp to the tires—frequently, by the sound of things.

Looking back, it seems Mr. Bruno came to the Shelby fold without a whole lot in the way of premeditation: "I rented a Shelby GT-H on vacation with my wife in Orlando in September 2006. While tearing around Orlando, stopped at a red light, my wife remarked, ‘If we could only bottle that smile on your face!'" As it happens, he could. On returning home, Michael learned that the Shelby GT would be sold to the public for 2007. "I went down to my local Ford dealer," says Michael, "and ordered the first new car I ever bought in my life." It was also his first Mustang in any form.

And so it began. At first, Michael was commendably restrained when it came to modifications—he really didn't do much of anything for three years. Instead, being a newcomer to this whole Mustang thing, he spent the time researching and learning about what might be best for his project's intended track and touring uses. When the time was right—and apparently at the suggestion of others in the Shelby community—he sent the coupe to MacKenzie's Mustang Supply in Palm Springs, California, for a list of upgrades to chassis and brakes, as well as the addition of a polished Whipple 2.3-liter twin-screw blower.

Currently mostly stock Shelby, save for the trio of stack-mounted gauges, Mr. Bruno has plans for his interior—if the world- traveling coupe ever sits still long enough.

He and his wife, Dale, then set about racking up the miles and grin-inducing experiences with the car. They hit a bit of a stumbling block on the quarter-mile at Englishtown about 18 months later when an apparent intercooler-pump failure led to a bottom-end meltdown, complete with holes in the factory block. So off it went to L&M Engines in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, where a Ford Racing 4.6 Aluminator short-block came onboard. Michael had Jon Lund whip up three different tunes for his SCT programmer in order to contend with the varying qualities of fuel he encounters on the GT's travels. And it does travel—41,000 miles and counting, so far.

In 2010, Michael and Dale piloted it on an 8,500-mile tour of the US; it's been to North Carolina to see the wild horses on the Outer Banks; it's been to five Shelby Bashes in Las Vegas, and this past October went to Shelby's Terlingua, Texas, gathering for the fourth time. Dearborn, Michigan? Yup, been there to three separate events. You get the picture—this thing seldom sits still.

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And now Michael's wife, Dale, who was, after all, partly responsible for nudging him into this whole Shelby thing with her original stoplight observation, has also joined the herd with her own Shelby. And it's no garage queen, either.

"In 2008, she traded her Escape for an '08 Vista Blue Shelby GT coupe, automatic," Michael said. "It is her daily driver all year 'round. Four snow tires from November to April and off she goes—50,000 miles so far, smiling all the way…"

Carroll would definitely approve.

Wearing a Deep Draw hood and festooned with meaningful graphics and a smattering of carbon fiber, Michael Bruno’s ’07 Shelby GT looks ready for display despite having 41,000 spirited miles notched up on the ol’ odometer.

Tech Specs: 2007 Shelby GT

Engine and Drivetrain
Block: FRPP 4.6-liter Aluminator
Crankshaft: Steel Cobra
Rods: Manley
Pistons: Manley
Camshafts: Custom grind
Cylinder heads: Stock Three-Valve aluminum
Intake manifold: Whipple intercooled lower
Power Adder: 2.3-liter Whipple twin-screw, polished
Fuel system: Ford GT 255-lph pumps w/ 60 lb/hr injectors
Exhaust: Stock manifolds w/ MMS custom exhaust
Transmission: Stock Tremec 3650 five-speed manual
Rearend:8.8-in w/ FRPP 4.10 gears and Shelby KR differential reservoir

Engine management: Stock w/ Jon Lund tune
Ignition: Stock coil-on-plug
Gauges: Auto Meter/CS gauges

Suspension and Chassis
Front suspension
K-member: Stock
A-arms: Stock
Struts: Tokico D-Spec, 16-way adjustable
Springs: FRPP/Shelby
Brakes: 14-in/six-piston Baer/Shelby Extreme
Wheels: Shelby 50th Alcoa, 20x9-in (show); GT4, 18x9-in (track)
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport, 265/35R-20 (show); Nitto Invo, 255/40R-18 (track)

Rear suspension
Shocks: Tokico D-Spec 16-way adjustable
Springs: FRPP/Shelby
Control Arms: Steeda billet upper and lowers w/ Fays2 Watt's link
Brakes: Stock
Wheels: Shelby 50th Alcoa, 20x10-in (show); GT4, 18x10-in (track)
Tires: Michelin Pilot Super Sport, 265/35R-20