Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, Mustang Monthly
October 13, 2011
Photos By: Drew Phillips

When it comes to vintage Mustangs, the name Shelby brings visions of rare fastbacks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars that are only bought and sold between collectors in the know, or at some big auction like Barrett-Jackson. Shelby Mustangs are some of the most sought after and collected cars in the world, and not just amongst Mustang enthusiasts! Chances are, if you have ever been through a collector car museum or an expansive private collection, there's a good chance there's at least one Shelby Mustang included there.

While the original Shelby Mustangs are indeed to be revered and collected, if you ever drove an original you might be hard pressed to agree on all the hoopla. Sure, they were stout cars with more power and better handling 45 years ago, but compared to today's performance barometer, they fall short. But what if you could own an actual Shelby Mustang with the timeless classic looks of a '60s era fastback, but with modern performance, braking, and handling? Well now you can, thanks to Jason Engel and his crew at Classic Recreations [www.classic-recreations.com; (877) 235-3266] in Yukon, Oklahoma.

Jason grew up in the car business and has been around performance cars his whole life. Classic Recreations started 11 years ago in a small two-bay garage, but Jason has been building his own cars for more years than he can remember before that. The shop had tackled the ever popular early Camaro and Chevelle builds, but Jason had been watching the early Mustang market and saw the writing on the wall, so to speak. The vintage Mustang was heading up market, with big name shops building all sorts of tribute cars, G-machines and Pro-Touring efforts.

"I told our guys let's build a Mustang! Let's try it and see what we can do," Jason exclaimed. The shop built an early Mustang, going crazy with the typical suspension and power upgrades, and then debuted the car at Barrett-Jackson, where it quickly sold. The Mustang got such interest there, that Classic Recreations took three orders for similar cars on the spot, all still with a two-bay shop and only a couple of employees. From that exposure at Barrett-Jackson, Classic Recreations was featured by ESPN2 in a new automotive show, but the show never aired. Classic Recreations got the rights to it, but it never went anywhere.

While a shame, it helped Jason realize that PR, marketing, and exposure is the key to turning a small business into a big one. Since those initial orders, Jason and his crew have built several more cars and have had great success selling internationally. He credits eBay Motors with a lot of his success and turning the company global. Eighty percent of his business is overseas sales; places like Russia, Dubai, Kuwait, New Zealand, Germany, and more.

"The classic car demand is insane over there," Jason tells us. It's common for someone to spend $100,000 locally for a rough driver of a Mustang, so it's not that much more to buy the Classic Recreations Shelby and have a fully restored and mechanically sound Mustang with modern upgrades and true Shelby lineage.

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"Being the global market we're in and the attention we're getting, we of course came up on Shelby's radar," Jason told us. In the past, Jason had tried many times to get a meeting with Shelby to discuss a build series of special Shelby Mustangs, but a chance meeting with the man himself at an event turned into an endorsement deal that includes the exclusivity of being listed in the Shelby registry right alongside original Shelby Mustangs, and 289 and 427 Cobras; something other vintage Mustang builders can't claim with their cars. "It's more than a license; it's an agreement to build, for all intents and purposes, a Shelby Mustang," Jason explained.

Classic Recreations builds its Shelby Mustangs from original Mustang bodies. All damaged or rusted metal is replaced in house by skilled craftsman. The stock Mustang body receives classic Shelby cues like the ducktail trunk lid, sequential taillights, scooped hood, and body sidescoops. Custom side-exhaust rocker panels and a one-piece front valance give the Shelby a slight custom touch without taking away from the classic Shelby Mustang look. Classic Recreations uses Standox paint materials and each body is painted using one of five base/stripe color combinations. The GT500CR-900S shown here is painted Stetson Black with Gunmetal stripes. Custom paint colors can be optioned though for those looking for even more exclusivity.

With the body looking pristine, Classic Recreations fills the empty chassis with top-of-the-line hardware, including in-house-built custom engines, electronic fuel injection, overdrive transmissions, top-notch braking systems, and suspension upgrades that include adjustable coilovers, rack-and-pinion steering, and more. Inside, Classic Recreations keeps the classic Mustang look for that nostalgic feel, but the stock low-back seats are upgraded to aftermarket performance buckets (having them wrapped in supple leather is an option). Between the two supportive buckets is a custom Shelby-style console trimmed to match. Shelby signature gauges fill the dash and a tilt steering column is topped by a vintage-look, three-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel. A modern heating and cooling system keeps the driver comfortable no matter where he/she lives, while a custom Digital Designs audio system does its best to compete with the aural intensity coming from under the hood.

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Currently, Classic Recreations offers three models of the GT500CR; the 525 model, 545 model, and the top of the line 900S. Each model features a handbuilt 427ci Windsor small-block stroker topped by a custom-tuned Mass-Flo EFI system. The Mass-Flo system is one of the few aftermarket EFI systems that utilize a mass-air meter for accurate fuel adjustments and great driveability. The 900S adds a ProCharger centrifugal supercharger to the mix to put horsepower at well over 700! Backing the 427 is a five-speed manual transmission, either a Ford Racing or Tremec unit depending upon the model.

Brake packages and wheel/tire packages differ between the models, but even the intro model wears 13-inch front and 12-inch rear discs with 17-inch performance rubber wrapped around American Racing's Shelby wheels. Of course, Classic Recreations offers select options to personalize your GT500CR further, including leather interior, DVD system with motorized screen, and even conversion to righthand drive for those countries that require it. Further custom options are available upon request to make your GT500CR truly one of a kind.

The GT500CR is truly a Shelby in every sense of the word, including the aforementioned listing in the Shelby registry, authentic Shelby styling, and even Carroll's signature on the dash. The 525 GT500CR starts at $119,000 with the supercharged GT500CR-900S shown here will require $199,000 from your bank account to enjoy. Other classic Shelby models are being considered by Classic Recreations, and it hopes to announce them soon. The upcoming models will be more "vintage" in nature than what the company produces now (more along the lines of the original Shelby Mustang if we had to hazard a guess). As for modern Shelby Mustangs like the Shelby GT and current GT500 offered at your nearest Ford dealer, well, Jason would love to do something with them in an official Shelby-licensed capacity. It is being considered, but they are currently not doing anything with the new cars.

While the price of entry is indeed steep for some, we may be just a bit jaded here in the states where a fully restored Mustang can be had for as little as $15,000 and one with current restomod-type upgrades might run into the 30s or 40s of thousands. Spin the globe to the other side of the world, though, and good luck finding any Mustang, let alone something full restored and modernized, for anywhere near what you'd pay for it here in the good old U.S. of A. Of course, if you have the means to do so, Classic Recreations can certainly build you your dream Shelby no matter where you live. But, if you're on more of a beans and franks budget, Classic Creations, through its custom division 1 of 1 Cars (www.1of1cars.com), can still build or restore your dream ride.

"We can restore someone's Mustang or build a custom vehicle using the same quality craftsman and materials through 1 of 1 Cars," Jason explained to us. So whether you're looking for an official Shelby Mustang that will be listed in the Shelby registry and fitted with modern upgrades, or if you're just looking for a quality shop with the resume to put your mind at ease, Classic Recreations can make your Mustang dreams come true.

The Mass-Flo system is one of the few aftermarket EFI systems that utilizes a mass-air meter for accurate fuel adjustments and great driveability. The 900S adds a ProCharger centrifugal supercharger to the mix to put horsepower at well over 700!

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The Details

Classic Recreations' '67 Mustang GT500CR 900S fastback

Engine

  • 427ci Windsor small-block
  • Dart Machinery 351W block
  • 4.125-inch bore
  • 4.00-inch stroke
  • Eagle forged steel crank
  • Eagle forged steel I-beam connecting rods
  • Diamond dished pistons with valve reliefs
  • Extrude Honed Airflow Research 205cc CNC-ported aluminum heads
  • 2.08-inch intake, 1.600-inch exhaust valves
  • Custom ground roller cam (specs withheld)
  • Mass-Flo sequential port EFI aluminum intake
  • Anderson Motorsports PMS tuner with three-bar map sensor
  • Blow-through mass-air meter
  • 1,000-cfm billet throttle body
  • 70-lb/hr injectors
  • Concept One serpentine pulley system
  • BeCool aluminum cross-flow radiator
  • Dual 13-inch electric fans
  • MSD TFI distributor and 6A ignition
  • MSD Blaster HVC coil
  • ProCharger F-1R supercharger
  • Three-core intercooler
  • Pulley ratio set for 21 psi of boost
  • Rick's Hotrod fuel tank with Aeromotive A1000 fuel pump
  • Aeromotive regulator
  • 790 hp

Transmission

  • Tremec TKO-600 five-speed manual
  • Quicktime SFI bellhousing
  • McLeod Twin-Disc clutch
  • Modern driveline cable clutch conversion

Rearend

  • TCP FAB9 9-inch housing
  • Strange nodular carrier
  • Four-pinion Traction-Lok
  • 3.50 gears

Exhaust

  • BBK ceramic coated long-tube headers
  • MagnaFlow stainless steel mufflers
  • 2-1/2-inch dual exhaust

Suspension

  • Front: Rod & Custom Motorsports Mustang II coilover system, antisway bar, power rack-and-pinion steering
  • Rear: Total Control Products G-Link coilover system, antisway bar, subframe connectors

Brakes

  • Front: Shelby/Baer Extreme-Plus 14-inch disc, cross-drilled and slotted, six-piston caliper
  • Rear: Shelby/Baer Extreme-Plus 13-inch disc, cross-drilled and slotted, six-piston caliper

Wheels

  • Front: American Racing Shelby 427, polished, 17x8
  • Rear: American Racing Shelby 427, polished, 17x11

Tires

  • Front: Nitto NT555 Extreme, P245/45ZR17
  • Rear: Nitto NT555 Extreme, P315/35ZR17

Interior

  • Flaming River polished tilt column, LeCarra steering wheel with GT500CR insert, Scat Procar Rally bucket seats in black leather with Shelby signature embroidery, GT500CR/Shelby console, Auto Meter Shelby signature gauges, custom GT500CR floor mats, Optima trunk mounted battery, Digital Designs component speakers front and rear, 8-inch subwoofer in custom enclosure, Digital Designs C4b and C3b amps mounted in trunk, Old Air Products heat and cool system

Exterior

  • Standox base/clear two-stage paint, Stetson Black with CR Gunmetal stripes by Classic Recreations; fiberglass front fascia, lower valance, rocker extensions, scoops, decklid, and wheel flares; carbon-fiber infused fiberglass hood; Shelby GT500CR emblems, sequential taillights, Le Mans-style fuel filler