Dale Amy
January 1, 2008
Photos By: E. John Thawley III
No, this isn't a Shelby CS6-it's a Cenora CS8. Think of it as a CS6 with more cylinders, power, and gadgetry. It's only when you look closely underneath, inside, and underhood that the differences-and the serious investment of time and hardware-become obvious.

Horse Sense: Until we laid eyes on the CS8, we didn't realize how much we like the understated Vista Blue.

We last visited one of Jason Cenora's California creations-a boosted and laughing-gassed New Edge GT turned show monster-in our Sept. '06 issue ("Waxing the Competition," p. 78). Around the time that issue was hitting bookshelves and mailboxes across the continent, he was already going at it again. This time he got down and dirty with an '06 Vista Blue GT. At the time, it showed a mere 88.1 miles on the clock, and it was destined to shine in last November's SEMA show in Las Vegas.

On his New Edge build, Jason had been almost on his own-and he did an amazing job. In the interim between that project and this S197, he made the professional acquaintance with the crew at Shelby Automobiles. This came about because he opted for a job change from being self employed to working as sales director at Hillbank Motorsports, a division of Superformance USA. The company worked with Shelby in the development of the decidedly assertive, V-6-powered CS6. As for the CS6, "I was hooked, save for the fact that my passion lies with two more cylinders," Jason says. Thus, the seed was planted. "Working alongside Shelby Automobiles President Amy Boylan and Vice President Gary Patterson, we developed the Shelby CS8, a fire-breathing V-8 that would terrorize the streets."

Or, more correctly, the show circuit. As he had with the New Edge, Jason turned to project partners: Xtreme Motorsport Performance, Advanced Car Creations, and Merzee's Paint and Body. With them, his concept transformed into reality in a couple of months, barely in time to make its Las Vegas debut. Outside, the humble GT was fitted with the hood (shared with the Hertz GT-H), front fascia, grille, side scoops, and striping of the CS6. The back has a GT 500 fascia and Classic Design Concepts' rear ducktail. Tucked within that menacing grille are Shelby/PIAA foglights, bracketed by ultra-cool Saleen HID headlights. The whole shark-in-a-swimming-pool aggressive persona is complete with Shelby Razor 20x9-inch rims (by American Racing), mounting Falken FK452s in 275/35 dimensions. Somewhat hidden behind these are Shelby crossdrilled and slotted 14-inch brakes, front and rear, nourished by custom, blue braided-steel lines.

It would be a shame to get this dirty. There's a lot of billet, chrome, and polished aluminum in the CS8's engine bay. We're guessing Jason's quote of 476 rwhp and 442 lb-ft was attained without engaging the nitrous.

Most of the car's nonstock suspension hardware comes from Progress Technology, with a shopping list that includes 375-lb/in coilovers up front and 275-lb/in versions at the stern. The California-based company's sway bars, rear lower control arms, and Panhard bar are all adjustable, so once the car finally gets off the show circuit, it can be seriously dialed in. Speaking of which, there's a whole raft of Auto Meter C-series gauges spread across the width of the custom-painted cockpit, with some UPR billet accessories included. Less obvious are the Alcantara headliner and armrests and the custom steering wheel from American Stitches.

ICE is comprised of a combination of Alphasonik amps, capacitor, and drivers; an Eclipse 5500 head unit/GPS; and a PlayStation 2 for those times when movies and music are too boring. You want monitors? There's a 15-incher in the trunk, a 7-inch flip-down up front, two more 7-inchers in the back of the headrests, and another 5.6-inch screen in the rear center console-all from Vivo Electronics.

This car is called a CS8, after all, so what's underhood is also important. Given Shelby's historic association with Paxton, it's only appropriate that a polished and intercooled Novi 2200R should be the principal power adder. The stock long-block is also fed by the new Three-Valve fogger system from Nitrous Express. In case that's not enough, Paxton's intercooler gets a chill from the Nitrous Express Ntercooler sprayer system.

Despite its frighteningly dead-stock internals and its primary mission as a show car, Jason hasn't been afraid to take the CS8 down the strip, recording an 11.83 e.t. at 115 mph. He also claims a top speed of 156 mph, making it a show car that can show its taillights to a lot of the competition.