By on January 7, 2019


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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11 Comments on “Superformance Is Actually Building the Shelby GR-1 Concept...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    I’d give Tom Green’s left nut to get into one of these.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Kelly Johnson is messin’ with people from beyond the grave. But this time he’ll have the ejection seat shoot upwards.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Yay! Couldn’t you have used a picture from when this debuted and they had those models dressed in form-fitting silver Mercury spacesuits?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      Surely, but all the silver-clad models got in the way of the car at the initial SEMA showing. This way you can see the whole car unobstructed. No need to thank me.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Lance Stander? OK, now that you’ve given his porn-star name, how about the real one – ?

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    Lovely but for the nose cap. The headlights need to extend into it. It currently looks like I designed/built/installed it.

  • avatar
    raph

    Sweet! I’ve been lusting after the idea of a Superformance GT40 with a 5.2 Aluminator XS V8 in there. Per Ford’s performance arm the 5.2 Aluminator spits out 580 horsepower and about 440 pound feet of torque. It would be a cool engine for the GR-1 as well.

    I wonder how they are going to package the GR-1? Will it have a conventional layout with a transmission amidships or use a transaxle with the ICE versions?

    I suppose it will be a tube frame car rather than the monocoque the GT40 Mk1 uses which is surprisingly rigid for a 60’s era car and also suprisingly is more rigid than the current Corvette.

  • avatar

    Great! Superperformance should also look into an older concept by David Hilton, which is a blend of Alpine-esque and Ford GT-ish:
    https://66.media.tumblr.com/59b85b869c4401894b81ac81231d5d35/tumblr_pa4l9vMOsj1ti77kbo4_500.jpg

  • avatar
    NeilM

    “Superformance, an aftermarket company based in Irvine, California that specializes in vintage Ford race replicas or continuation cars, has picked up the torch.”

    Aren’t Superformance products built in Port Elizabeth, South Africa?

  • avatar
    GoFaster58

    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.

  • avatar
    Sidewall Nation

    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.


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