Jerry Heasley
November 1, 2008

The vintage Tasca Ford badge on the rear hints that Adam O'Dwyer's Shelby GT is a little more than the average Mustang from Shelby Automobiles. Most of us are familiar with the Shelby GT that Carroll turns out of his Las Vegas manufacturing plant. A little less known is the Mod Shop upgrade to a GT/SC, the latter two letters denoting supercharged. As a certified Shelby Mod Shop, Tasca has added its tune to Adam's Shelby GT.

Like a lot of us, Adam wanted a piece of the Shelby legend. He barely missed a '68 GT500KR and a couple of other vintage GT350s and GT500s throughout the years. What proved a better alternative for this young family man was a new Shelby.

"I was scouring magazines and websites and just couldn't seem to find the right vintage Shelby, especially since the prices were skyrocketing," Adam says. He almost bought a "beat-up" '68 GT350, selling some stock and an old IRA to pull together the needed cash. While the seller hemmed and hawed, Adam heard about the new Shelby GTs.

Adam said, "I realized I could spend $45,000 on the '68, then spend 10 years and another $20,000 fixing it. Or I could spend that same $45,000 on a new Shelby with the options I want and enjoy the car now." He calls this decision "life-changing."

Adam flew out to Shelby Automobiles in Las Vegas, where John Walker gave him a ride in a white Shelby GT prototype with the Whipple supercharger. "I fell in love with that car," Adam recalls. "I was like, 'Yeah, I got to have one of these!'" In February 2007 he visited nearby Pride Ford in North Attleboro, Massachusetts, and ordered a Mustang GT with the Shelby GT package. Ford built the Mustang GT at the Flat Rock, Michigan, assembly plant, then shipped the coupe to Las Vegas, where Shelby Automobiles built the car into a Shelby GT.

At the time, there were no Shelby Mod Shops in other parts of the country. So Adam instructed the Mod Shop at Shelby Automobiles to install the Whipple supercharger, GT/SC stripes, Shelby razor wheels, and other upgrades, such as lowering the suspension. The black-with-silver-stripes coupe left Las Vegas as a 500hp supercar.

This would have been the end of the story except for the Tasca connection. From car magazines, Adam knew that Tasca was the Ford dealership where Phil Gilbert first put together the big-block engine that became Ford's famous 428 Cobra Jet. Tasca was into drag racing big time in the glory days.

In August 2007, Tasca became the first satellite Shelby Mod Shop. But even before the deal was inked, Adam had his GT/SC delivered to Tasca for tuning. In fact, he had his car shipped directly from Shelby to Tasca before finally putting the car on the road.

Tasca tuned Adam's supercharged 4.6L to 513 horses, then to 545. At that level, the clutch started slipping, so they dialed the tune back to 513. When Adam turns up the wick with a stouter clutch and other mods, such as forged pistons and crank, it can go back up.

I met Adam during the Shelby Run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on January 11 while attending Carroll Shelby's 85th birthday party. Adam offered me a ride for one leg of the journey. After riding shotgun in a '66 GT350H, the GT/SC felt like a warp-speed supercar.

It's amazing the enthusiasm that Carroll Shelby inspires with his car. Adam even wrote a song. "My friend Barry Robinson cleaned it up a little then recorded it. Vicky Cota [secretary for Shelby Automobiles president Amy Boylan] heard it and passed it along to Amy. She loved it, so she forwarded it to Shelby's California office. Next thing I know, I get a call from Shelby Licensing asking if they can put it on Carroll's website,"

Adam also thinks he might have played a part in bringing Shelby Automobiles and Tasca together. After reading a magazine article about Michael Stickney's '67 Tasca Shelby, he scanned and e-mailed a copy to Amy. A month later, Shelby and Tasca were talking. Soon, the deal was done when Tasca became a Shelby Mod Shop. Carroll Shelby flew into Providence, Rhode Island, for Tasca's annual car show.

Adam, of course, was there with his Tasca Shelby GT/SC.