Superformance Is Actually Building the Shelby GR-1 Concept
If you’re of a certain age, you’ll probably recall the Ford Shelby GR-1 Concept revealed at the 2005 North American International Auto Show after a brief stint as a clay model. Having already introduced the Shelby Cobra Concept as the hypothetical successor to the American roadster inspired by the original AC Cobra in 2004, Ford wanted a follow-up. The end result was the GR-1, which bore a striking resemblance to one of the best-looking cars ever assembled — at least from this author’s perspective: the Shelby Daytona.
Unfortunately, Ford never built the GR-1, as it was tied up finalizing the first-generation GT. We thought we’d never see one on the streets but, as it turns out, we were wrong. Superformance, an aftermarket company based in Irvine, California that specializes in vintage Ford race replicas or continuation cars, has picked up the torch.
Just about everything Superformance touches is somehow rooted in vintage motorsport. In fact, the most modern product on offer comes via Caterham Cars — a brand which owes its entire existence to the now-primeval Lotus Seven.
According to Car and Driver, Superformance made its announcement at the Petersen Automotive Museum’s annual Shelby tribute on January 6th through CEO Lance Stander. Accompanied by Shelby American vice president Vince Laviolette, Stander said his company will add replicas of the GR-1 to its lineup with Shelby’s full blessing. The duo are even in agreement to manufacture versions of the model with electrified powertrains.
The original GR-1 used an aluminum, 6.4-liter V10 producing an estimated 605 hp and 501 lb-ft of torque, plus loads of extra hardware from the first-generation Ford GT. Equipped with a 6-speed manual gearbox, the manufacturer claimed the concept vehicle could hit 60 mph in under 4 seconds with the right driver. However, Superformance and Shelby American are setting the bar a little higher for the model’s revival.
“We’re shooting for a two-second Shelby,” Stander said.
“It’s been a project I’ve been working on with Ford for about six years,” the CEO continued. “We originally said we want to do the GR-1, and we spoke to everyone at Ford and they said it’s never going to happen. Just forget about it. We could have done a replica, we could have done a kit car, but that was never good enough for us. We had to get licensed by the original manufacturer, and it had to have all credibility. So I just kept plodding along and eventually the stars aligned, the right people at Ford got to hear about it and … a couple of guys at who really wanted to see it happen at Ford Design in Europe, and the next thing I know is Ford Licensing is contacting me.”
Superformance says it wants to build 200 aluminum special-edition GR-1s before a secondary run of carbon fiber models. The first examples are said to be roughly two years away, according to Car and Driver, and there’s no confirmation as to whether the company can use the Shelby GR-1 name.
[Images: Ford Motor Co.]
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Would love to see this built. It is one of the best designs to come along in a very long time. I saw it at a car show in Austin.
I still have low resolution video of this along with the Shelby Cobra concept driving around the engineering quad of Virginia Tech. Great recruiting tools for Ford. The GR-1 and Indigo are my favorite concept cars no one has heard of.