Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
April 5, 2016
Photos By: Drew Phillips, Classic Recreations

When Jason Engel’s iPhone rang it was a Facetime call from a potential customer in Russia. He answered only to see a young man in his 30s wearing a Metallica T-shirt. The old expression “Never judge a book by its cover” comes to mind, as this particular 30-something Russian was actually a well-to-do businessman with a hankering for high-performance American iron. Engel, owner of Classic Recreations in Yukon, Oklahoma, and his Russian customer hit it off, and Engel built the car of the businessman’s dreams, though admittedly it wasn’t a Mustang.

When it was time to grow the collection, the Russian businessman, who prefers to remain nameless, called upon Engel once again for the latest addition—one of Classic Recreations’ Shelby G.T. 500CR Mustang builds. But this wouldn’t be just any build; the businessman wanted every option on the car, including Classic Recreations’ brand-new Pro Touring Track Package. “He kept saying ‘I want the best’ when we were discussing options and features,” says Engel.

The Classic Recreations G.T. 500CR comes in three flavors: 525, 545, and 900S. You can indulge yourself in the full spec sheets at classic-recreations.com, but in a nutshell the 525 is the 340hp entry-level model, the 545 is a 545hp 427 Windsor–based midlevel package, and the 900S is a max-effort solution with the best of everything using a custom-built 427 Windsor and enhanced with a ProCharger F1-R supercharger system making 770 hp. No matter which model you choose, they are all officially licensed by Shelby Licensing and are added to the official Shelby registry.

The Shelby you see here is the 900S model. “This is by far the most optioned Shelby we’ve ever built,” Engel tells us. It is also the most expensive when you consider the entry point for the 900S model ($219,000), plus the $25,000 Pro Touring Track Package and another $6,000 in custom three-piece wheels the customer requested. That’s a lot of rubles (16,899,873 at the current exchange rate!). Nonetheless, the deposit was made and the build started in earnest. Since it was the first build with the new Pro Touring Track Package, Engel was excited to see the new build come together.

You’re drooling on just over 800 supercharged and intercooled horsepower (at the tire). Classic Recreations uses Concept One pulley systems, MSD ignitions, FAST EFI, and more to make the G.T. 500CR-900S engine reliable, streetable, and most of all sexy to stare at!

The Pro Touring Track Package differs from the standard Rod & Custom Mustang II–style setup Classic Recreations uses and upgrades the car to Detroit Speed’s Aluma-Frame front cradle system with its DSE forged spindles, splined antisway bar, and more with JRI single-adjustable coilover shocks with Classic Recreations–specific valving. In the rear the standard TCP G-Link system is upgraded to Detroit Speed’s QuadraLink four-link setup with matching JRI coilovers as well. The standard build time for the base suspension upgrades is generally a few days per Engel, but the full Detroit Speed front and rear upgrades, along with the Pro Touring Track Package wheel tub system, take approximately 20 days.

Engel says, “This is our first build with the Forgeline three-piece wheels too. Normally we run a 315-series tire in the rear, but with this package we run a 335-series tire on a 12-inch wheel—10-inch wide up front! We have to open it up more, deleting the rear seat for tub room, notching the rear framerail for clearance, and so forth. With this car we had to build around the suspension and it took us six months longer than our normal builds.”

The rest of the chassis upgrades include a narrowed 9-inch rear (4 1/2 inches total). Getting driveline angles correct and the wheel/tire fitment were some of the biggest challenges, making the chassis portion the most difficult part of the build.

For the body, Classic Recreations offers the choice of an original vintage body or a Dynacorn reproduction licensed body. This particular 900S was built using a Dynacorn body, as titling and registration overseas make the Dynacorn body a better option. Classic Recreations has built at least 50 Dynacorn-bodied Mustangs over the last 11 years, saying even the early bodies built in Taiwan were better than the original Ford bodies and that they are even better now that final body assembly is happening in California. “We spend 40 hours fitting the body (gaps and so on) whether it is Dynacorn or original,” explains Engel. Most of the Dynacorn builds go overseas since the original bodies are easier for domestic customers to get titled and registered in their respective states.

You may notice that this particular G.T. 500CR-900S is painted gray with black stripes. While some may quickly jump to the “Eleanor” bandwagon, the Classic Recreations builds are not E-cars and are indeed Shelby Mustangs. “Nothing on that car is ‘Eleanor.’ The flares, scoops, everything is completely different. Even our rocker is similar to a Viper in design and not an ‘Eleanor’,” Engel states.

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Classic Recreations was aiming for a “pissed off” look (in Engels words) and not something just overly pretty. Early on in Classic Recreations’ history, Engel would even go so far as to lead customers away from the gray and black combination, preferring black with silver, white with blue, red with white, and so forth just to be different. The gray you see here is actually a Classic Recreations custom color called CR Gray, which is a tri-coat finish. A black base is applied, then the gray, and finally the clear, which is cut and buffed out to a show-winning mirrorlike finish.

Once Classic Recreations finished the chassis work and applied the custom topcoat, the rest of the build followed standard G.T. 500CR-900S build steps. Underhood is a Dart Windsor small-block stroked to 427 ci and fed 93-octane through a FAST port fuel injection system, while air induction comes courtesy of a polished ProCharger F1-R intercooled supercharger pushing 21 psi of boost into the AFR cylinder heads. Backing the 427 is the standard Tremec TKO-600 manual trans and the aforementioned 9-inch. “He wanted this 900S to be balls-out,” says Engel, “and on a 93-octane tune we were able to get 804 hp to the tire. We hit 771 lb-ft at 4,600 rpm too.”

There’s no shortage of Shelby emblems, logos, and signatures in this cabin, but when you’re buying a G.T. 500CR-900S you’re not exactly the subtle type either! Cam-lock harnesses keep your backside snug in the Shelby signature bucket seats while the Pioneer audio system keeps your head rockin’.

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Inside is standard G.T. 500CR-900S accoutrements like a full deluxe Shelby interior (dash, door panels, and so on), Shelby signature seating, a Shelby steering wheel, Shelby gauges (in this case in metric/kph), and a custom G.T. 500CR console. Of course, the back seat has been deleted and replaced with a custom panel to allow the wider wheel tubs of the Pro Touring Track Package. Shortly after this photo shoot, the car was shipped to Russia and is now in its owner’s hands. He promised Engel it will get a regular workout and not become a garage queen.

Apparently Engel’s Classic Recreations is doing something right because build number three for this Russian businessman is getting under way right now: a supercharged Coyote 5.0L–powered 1950s Ford F-1 pickup truck. It’s something a bit outside of Classic Recreations’ wheelhouse, but no doubt it will be stupid-fast and look absolutely stellar.