Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
October 1, 2003

According to Lesley Hudson, her husband, Mark, always wanted a Mustang, so when the time was right, the couple dropped in at Gene Evans Ford in Union City, Georgia, to testdrive a used late-model Mustang. But when Mark spotted a brand-new 2000 Tribute Edition Shelby in the showroom, he forgot all about the "regular" GT on the used lot and turned his oohs and aahs to the new black with gold Shelby.

"Mark always loved the '66 Hertz GT350Hs," Lesley tells us. "As soon as he saw the Tribute Edition in black and gold, he knew it was the perfect car."

As it turns out, Gene Evans Ford Sales Manager Bob Winiarczyk was the instigator behind the Tribute Edition Shelbys on the Gene Evans lot. A longtime Boss 302 owner, Winiarczyk knew the value of special Mustangs and arranged to transform a number of standard GTs by adding the Stage 1 Shelby-inspired GT500 package from Mustang F/X (P.O. Box 2201, Tallahassee, FL 32316; 850/576-7669; www.mustangfx.com).

The Shelby kit added LeMans and GT500 stripes, 35th Anniversary hoodscoop and sidescoops, an aluminum shift knob, sequential turn signals from Classic Design Concepts, and a Ford Racing high-performance air filter. The package also came with Shelby caricature decals for the rear quarters, but because some customers found the decals more distracting than appealing, Winiarczyk left them off for customer installation. He then took his cars a step further by installing 17x8-inch vintage American wheels, an FR500 steering wheel, 3.73 gears, a Hurst shifter, and handling springs.

After purchasing the Mustang, the Hudsons had it certified through Mustang F/X as Shelby Tribute Edition No. 11 for the 2000 model year. Then, they began using it as their primary transportation. Wanting the Shelby Tribute to perform as sharp as it looked, Mark employed RJ Performance from their hometown of Sharpsburg, Georgia, to install a Vortech V-2 supercharger with intercooler, along with Bassani catalytic X-pipes-a combination that resulted in 350 hp and 350 ft-lb of torque at the rear wheels.

Later, during the car's only outing at a dragstrip, on slicks during the Mustang Club of America's Grand Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, Mark drove the Tribute Shelby to a 12.61 e.t. at 110 mph.

With less than 14,000 miles on the odometer, the Hudsons decided to yank the Mustang from highway duty and put it on the show circuit. Today, Tribute Shelby No. 11 lives a life of pampered leisure as a concours trailered competitor at Mustang Club of America events, where it has earned a number of First, Second, and Third Place trophies at MCA National shows.

Mark finally got his Mustang, which eventually became an enjoyable hobby for both him and his wife. In fact, it is Lesley who tells us, "I'm real glad we didn't buy that 'regular' used Mustang."