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Hot Things Going on at Shelby American!
Brand new Shelby G.T. 500 Super Snakes on their way. Plus a new Shelby supercar, the Ford-powered Series 2!
Recently we’ve reported the return of the legendary Shelby G.T. 350R machines built at Shelby American’s Gardena, CA facility (formerly Carroll Shelby’s office and distribution warehouse). At a press conference today (May 17, 2018) came news that the company is expanding their line of offerings by bringing back the 1967 GT500 Super Snake and an updated version of Carroll’s own supercar, the Series 2!
1967 GT500 Super Snake
The 1967 Shelby Super Snake continuation cars will use 1967 donor Mustangs and include a Shelby serial number for the official Shelby registry. Only 10 fastbacks will be built, each with original signatures by Carroll Shelby and Don McCain who spearheaded the program in 1967.
“Shelby American’s line up of vehicles today is the most diverse in our 56-year history,” said Joe Conway, CEO of Shelby American. “From high-tech modern muscle to off-road super trucks, track day thrill rides and heritage cars like the continuation 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake, we offer something for everyone who wants to be best in class.”
Over the last several years, Shelby American has broadened its lineup in response to customer demand. The company introduced the 1968 Shelby Continuation GT500KR earlier this year and now it is returning a legend to the stable. The continuation cars are built to order in Pennsylvania for distribution through Shelby American.
“We’re fulfilling the dream of Carroll Shelby and Don McCain,” said Shelby American president Gary Patterson. “Shelby built an engineering study dubbed the ‘Super Snake’ for high-speed tire testing by Goodyear in 1967. When that successful test ended, Shelby American offered it to Mel Burns Ford in So Cal to retail to the public. Former Shelby American employee Don McCain approached Shelby about doing a limited run of cars. They carefully studied the idea but sadly, the timing did not work because the car was too expensive. The program never came to fruition, until now.”
Shelby chief engineer Fred Goodell randomly chose a white fastback for transformation in 1967. He first replaced the engine with a lightweight medium riser 427 motor. The race motor was fitted with a host of modifications that was said to increase output to 520 horsepower. Shelby added heavy duty front disc brakes, Detroit Locker rear end, rear traction bars and special Goodyear Thunderbolt tires. The Super Snake sported unique triple stripes and a redesigned grille for improved air cooling.
Debuting for the media at Goodyear’s San Angelo, Texas, test track, Shelby personally took the wheel of the Super Snake and was clocked at 170 mph. After turning the car over to Goodell for the 500-mile test, the Shelby Super Snake set a new top speed world record for its class.
The Super Snake was an expensive vehicle, which discouraged McCain and Shelby from continuing the program leaving only one built by Shelby American. The one-off prototype changed hands a few times over the years. Most recently, a collector paid over $1.3 million for it.
Fifty years later, the company will complete Carroll Shelby’s “unfinished business.” Another 10 of the muscle cars will be offered to enthusiasts worldwide.
The Continuation series Shelby GT500 Super Snakes are built from original 1967 Mustangs, with factory VINs and original titles. The donor cars are stripped to bare metal for transformation into the mighty Super Snake. Customers can opt for an original donor period Shelby fastback for transformation into a Super Snake.
A race-inspired big block V-8 remains the heart of the car, as the Continuation Shelby Super Snake is powered by a 427ci V-8 from Carroll Shelby Engine Co. making over 550 horsepower. Both aluminum and cast-iron blocks are available, backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. Just like the original, the cars will have disc brakes and the famous triple stripes. Before his passing a few years ago, McCain was deeply involved in the Shelby engine program and promoted the idea of a rebirth of the Super Snake program. He signed ten dash plaques for the cars, as did Carroll Shelby.
Patterson and the McCain family introduced the car to the media today and will again to enthusiasts during the Carroll Shelby Tribute event on Saturday, May 19, at Carroll Shelby International in Gardena. The event will include a car show, vendors, autograph session, adult trike races and more.
Super Snakes will be built to order and sold through Shelby American. The cars will start at $249,995 (US).
The Series 2
The other big news out of Shelby is the re-introduction of the Series 1, now completely updated, finally Ford powered, and renamed the Series 2 roadster. “Carroll Shelby’s first ‘clean sheet’ car, was the Shelby Series 1,” said Joe Conway, CEO of Shelby American. “Carroll always intended for that innovative chassis to be the first in a line of modern sports cars, which is why he called it the Series 1. The new Shelby Series 2 is the evolution of that minimalist car, offering breathtaking performance in a modern two seat roadster.”
The Series 2 story began with a dream in the 1990s. Carroll Shelby had built many vehicles in partnership with several companies based on a chassis or design from those carmakers. Around 1996, he decided to produce a car that was pure Shelby. Though it was a fresh design, the Shelby Series 1’s front engine, rear wheel drive layout was fairly traditional. The styling was lauded for being both sporty and aggressively handsome because it melded “big roadster” proportions with a variety of classic cues.
Crafted of lightweight composite materials, the Shelby Series 1 only weighed about 2,850 pounds, including its well-appointed leather trimmed interior, top, and air conditioning. The all-aluminum monocoque chassis was then, and is still, one of the stiffest chassis in the world, with the engine mounted aft of the front suspension for a nearly perfect 49/51 weight balance. The naturally aspirated (Oldsmobile) Aurora 4.0-liter DOHC V-8 engine was rated at 320 horsepower connected to a rear mounted 5-speed manual transaxle; a supercharged option increased horsepower to about 460. A total of 249 were built.
The new Shelby Series 2 emerged through a unique agreement between Shelby and Wingard Motorsports to create a handful of cars with the choice of an aluminum, carbon fiber, or one of the first titanium car bodies. Wingard can finish out the roller for customers, too.
“Several years ago, Wingard Motorsports purchased the remaining Shelby Series 1 chassis and parts,” said Gary Patterson, Shelby American President. “Working with Shelby, founder Bob Wingard revised the car to reduce weight by maximining the integration of billeted aluminum and carbon fiber components. He further refined the suspension, braking and drivetrain to allow an increase of more than twice the horsepower of the original car. The Series 2 is now more than 12% lighter and will support over 800 horsepower.”
The Shelby Series 2 is built on the original aluminum honeycomb monocoque frames with next generation hardware. It uses an inboard cantilevered suspension design for the front and rear, which minimizes the sprung wheel weight. Penske Shocks fine-tuned the suspension at their facility in Charlotte. The car has a big brake system with 6-piston calipers on all corners and custom 19-inch mono block performance wheels with Pilot Cup 2 tires.
Standard drivetrain configuration is for a 5-speed ZF transaxle torque tube coupled to a multi-disc clutch system mated to a Carroll Shelby Engine Company 427 FE or 427 Windsor motor. Other engine options can be supported, as well as multi-point seat belts and 4- or 6-point roll bars. However, the Shelby Series 2 will not come with cupholders.
Each commissioned Series 2 will be a unique and “one-of-one.” Custom interiors designed to accommodate most drivers with an incredible six inches of peddle adjustment will include carbon fiber Carroll Shelby signature seats. Aluminum bodies will be available in a brushed, polished, or painted finish with the Shelby signature racing stripes.
“While the Shelby Series 2 is based on the first-generation car, it’s a significant leap forward,” said Patterson. “It blends old school craftmanship and current technology, pushing the roadster into super car territory. It is the perfect car for collectors and enthusiasts globally who want the ultimate in exclusivity and to be completely engaged with the driving experience.”
The Shelby Series 2 includes a one-year warranty for parts and labor, as well as painted finishes. Shelby will offer a weekend training session at Spring Mountain Raceway near Las Vegas to new owners who want to maximize their driving enjoyment. Each car will be built to order and bear a Shelby American CSX5500 series serial number that will be recorded in the official Shelby American Registry. For more information, visit www.Shelby.com.