Jerry Heasley
August 13, 2010

40th Anniversary Shelby Mustang G.T. 500 You've heard the saying "the more things change the more they remain the same". Well, Carroll Shelby is proving this adage true again with his latest project, a 40th anniversary edition of his G.T.500. On this car, you'll find more of the features that made his Shelby Mustangs famous in the 1960s.

Collectors will recall Shelby introduced the first G.T.500 in 1967. All were fastbacks. All were big blocks. All were outrageously fast and styled for hot looks as well as function.

Fast-forward a fabulous 40 years. For the first time since 1970, Shelby's back with Ford to produce a Shelby Mustang. But, Carroll doesn't want to stop with the assembly line supercharged G.T.500. He wants to offer the public more by celebrating with a 40th anniversary edition of the car that bears his name.

So, in order to get the skinny on that, Modified Mustangs hopped on a plane bound for Las Vegas to have a gander at the prototype - the black convertible you see here. Gary Patterson of Shelby Automobiles met us at the big white building, rimmed with a racing stripe and giant "SHELBY" lettering, on the grounds of Las Vegas International Speedway. This is Shelby Automobiles. They build Cobras and various special edition Shelby Mustangs here, not so different from the glory days of the 1960s, when Shelby-American was located in Los Angeles, by the airport.

We jumped in the black convertible and went for a spin on the way to our photoshoot. Patterson is a hot shoe and theresident test-driver. He has extensive seat time in the G.T.500. We asked the difference between this 40th anniversary edition andthe regular G.T.500.

"I like the sound of the 40th better. It's got a much deeper tone to the exhausts, and the car handles better because the center of gravity is lowered. Plus, it has a much better wheel and tire package."

New drivers would not detect such nuances. Like me, the 500 horses would simply amaze them. Modifying is true to form in the Shelby world. Basically, Shelby Automobiles modifies a Shelby - not a regular Mustang GT - into a 40th anniversary model.

Patterson said, "First, you go to your Ford dealer and buy a G.T.500. Once you own the car, Shelby can then put the 40th anniversary package on it."

Several of Carroll's 40th anniversary upgrades were apparent. The light bar sure stood out with the top down. The "razor" style wheels are obvious upgrades. They're 20-inchers, up a couple of inches from the stock 18s. The front fascia "splitter" is another pretty bold feature, but does not change the important snakehead look of the front end.

Other 40th upgrades are not so noticeable, like the front and rear brake duct kits. Channeling cool air to red-hot rotors was a common Shelby upgrade in the 1960s. Flip on a turn signal, and the 40th anniversary taillights blink sequentially, another feature Shelby added to his Mustangs for 1968.

Shelby Automobiles offers their 40th anniversary package on both coupe and convertible platforms. The price is $11,250 for the coupe and $12,500 for the convertible.

In our view, Shelbys in 40th anniversary guise will be more collectible, in the long run, than the basic assembly line G.T.500. Production will be "limited," but we don't know how limited just yet. Shelby has a new "mod shop" at his Vegas facility to fill orders. Like we said, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Shelby is basically up to his old modifying tricks again, just like he was back in the days when muscle cars ruled the streets.

Shelby G.T.500 40th Anniversary Package

Carbon fiber front fascia splitter, carbon fiber mirror covers, aluminum hood grille inserts, deck lid SHELBY letter kit, 40th Anniversary badges - front fenders and front grille; sequential taillights, stripe kit (convertible), front brake duct kit, rear brake duct kit, 40th Anniversary ring around the center of the rear faux gas cap

CSM consecutively numbered plaque in center of dash and in engine compartment, 40th Anniversary doorsill plate with CSM consecutive number, Shelby door handles with snake logo, light bar with solenoid activated brake light system (convertible), Shelby floor mats, billet oil stick and fluid caps, center gauge cluster with Shelby gauges - boost/oil and fuel pressure, armrest cover with snake logo, aluminum Shelby map light accent, satin door lock knobs

Borla exhaust system (cat-back)

Special Shelby/Eibach coil over suspension, Shelby/Eibach sway bar kit

20" American Racing Shelby Razor wheels with Shelby center caps available in anthracite or Shelby-exclusive black with 255/30-20 (front) and 284/30-20 (rear)