Each owner will also receive pictures of the build. Each car will come with pictures of the team. Each car will get a plaque to go in the trunk of all the team members signing it. There will be "something" signed by Carroll Shelby - exactly what, we don't know yet. But, the cars will come with a full history.
Amy Boylan was excited, "This is our first car. This is our first Mustang at Shelby Automobiles in Las Vegas. It's an important car." We walked onto the production floor where employees were assembling GT-H models at six different workstations. Two employees per workstation assemble two cars per day. That's about 12 total per day.
Akos Feher is Director Of Production. He and Gary Davis (Production Manager of Cobra and Mustang) set up the line. Brand new Mustang GTs arrive by rail from Ford Motor Company. First, they go to pre-assembly, where workers remove the hoods and fascia. Then, cars go to each workstation (lift) where two people do about 95 percent of the conversion. They modify the suspension, exhaust, engine, hood, and fascia and install some of the badges.
From the workstations, the Mustangs go to a line where an expert team installs the stripes. Then, the cars return to the workstations where the assemblers install the Shelby letters and more badges. Originally, Feher and Davis placed three people per lift. They found out two people per lift worked better. They start at the back end of the car, doing the rear end and move to the front.
"We found we can do a car in less than five hours," Akos explained. "But, that's without accounting for unexpected events, like one of the hoods doesn't fit or they have mechanical problems. But, in an ideal situation when everything is clicking, it's about two cars per station comfortably per day."
J.B. Perrier was working on a Hertz car elevated on a lift. He told us, "I do everything - assembly and finishing detail work." We wanted to know how different a GT-H is from a stock Mustang. First, the cars come from the factory as stock GTs. We asked Perrier, who proved very articulate, to run through what they did to make a factory GT into a Hertz model.
"We take the stock hood off, put an aftermarket hood on. New front fascia, so we take the old one off, put a new one on. Take all the old badges off, put all the new badges back on." Which is what?
"The Hertz badging. The Shelby. On the front, sides and then the rear. The pony? We take the GT badge off and put a pony on and then drill for Shelby on the back, right below the brake light. And we drill the side scoops. They're non-functional. We install the doorsill plates and put an engine badge under the hood. It matches the number of the sticker on the dash inside."
The wheels remain stock. The suspension does not. Lowering the car an inch to an inch and a half adds to the cool look. "We change the front struts. They are new front struts, lowered. And then rear springs and a new rear axle. It's all lowered. New rear springs, and new rear shocks. We replace front and rear sway bars.. Add a brace in the front. All these parts come from Ford Racing." The 4.6 is peppier than stock by 25-30 horsepower.
"Under the hood we add a cold air intake. Then, there's the exhausts. We cut the H-pipe out, and put the X-pipe in and put new mufflers on with tips on them." A major part of the work is applying the stripes. Mike Smith, who was applying stripes, explained, "There are 22 separate pieces of adhesive vinyl."
Apparently, installation is not for amateurs. "The adhesive is very aggressive. That's why we have to float it on. Normally, we put them on dry, but this car has to be so accurate that we have to float and align panels as we go." Nathan Banks, who was applying rocker panel stripes told us, "If you do it slow for the first five minutes, it will save you a good three hours later. So just take your time, do it right and save time."