Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
March 21, 2011
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

Code Red started life as a standard '08 Shelby GT500. While it's easy to look at the car as a Super Snake on steroids, it's technically not a Super Snake, although many of the components, especially the suspension, come from the post-title GT500 package. The Shelby/Eibach adjustable suspension is Super Snake, although set up more for road racing or high speeds. Brakes are Shelby/Baer six-piston calipers on 14-inch rotors, which look great behind the 20x11- and 20x9-inch Super Snake Alcoa wheels. Tires are Pirelli P Zeros at the front and stickier Nitto NY555R drag radials at the rear.

Inside, safety is paramount with Mastercraft six-point competition harnesses securing driver and occupant into the custom racing seats. Forget about back seat passengers because the rear seat has been removed to provide space for the Shelby-designed 10-point rollcage. Gauges galore keep tabs on what's happening under the hood. A center-dash gauge pod mounts a boost gauge and two fuel pressure gauges-one for each fuel system-plus there's a trio of gauges mounted to the cage under the passenger-side visor for oil pressure, water temp, and oil temp.

At the moment, living with 1,000 hp means giving up creature comforts. The current dry-sump oiling system leaves no room underhood for an A/C compressor, although Patterson says Shelby American is looking into an available wet-sump system or even an electric-driven compressor. And there's little room in the trunk for luggage or golf clubs. The already smallish Mustang trunk compartment is packed with fuel cell, air tank for the boost controller, and a compressor for the Air Locker posi unit.

So, how does it feel to drive a GT500 with 1,000 hp? Just ask Patterson, who has been spending a lot of time in the black beast, all in the interest of testing. "It's a rocket-ship," he says. "You've really got to pay attention because, quite frankly, it drives like a regular car until the tach swings past four grand, then everything changes. It goes from mild-mannered Clark Kent to Superman in the blink of an eye, and you don't need a phone booth."

The black exterior is menacing but doesn't scream "fast car." Other than the red stripes and carbon-fiber splitter and side rockers, Code Red looks very much like a regular 500hp GT500. But that can be fun, as Patterson relates when he tells the story about an encounter with a new Hemi Challenger: "The Mopar Nationals were going on at Las Vegas Speedway. I was coming up from Vegas and there was a guy in a Challenger with big Hemi decals on it. I just cruised around him nice and easy but of course he had to have a piece of this GT500. That was a mistake, even though I didn't have the boost cranked up much. We rolled on at about 80 mph. I dropped it back into third and the tach went from 4,000 to 7,000 rpm. The rear tires were smoking as I went around the guy. I almost felt bad for him."

Obviously, should Code Red eventually go into production, it won't be cheap. Shelby American realizes that it can't be a high-production car like the '07 Shelby GTs or even Super Snakes. Price is estimated between $80,000-100,000, not including the car.

"It was never intended to be a vehicle even close to the Super Snake in terms of volume," says Patterson. "However, there are still a fair amount of people out there, even in this economy, who can write a check for a car like this. It's for the guy who wants the ultimate Shelby Mustang bragging rights."

With Code Red, Carroll Shelby has his 1,000 horsepower. But, as expected, he's not done yet. Code Red may be just the beginning. "We might even do a couple under different configurations," he told us. "I'm preparing to build several more."