Superformance Is Actually Building the Shelby GR-1 Concept

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
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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  • GoFaster58 GoFaster58 on Jan 08, 2019

    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.

  • Sidewall Nation Sidewall Nation on Jan 09, 2019

    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.

  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.
  • ToolGuy From the listing: "Oil changes every April & October (full-synth), during which I also swap out A/S (not the stock summer MPS3s) and Blizzak winter tires on steelies, rotating front/back."• While ToolGuy applauds the use of full synthetic motor oil,• ToolGuy absolutely abhors the waste inherent in changing out a perfectly good motor oil every 6 months.The Mobil 1 Extended Performance High Mileage I run in our family fleet has a change interval of 20,000 miles. (Do I go 20,000 miles before changing it? No.) But this 2014 Focus has presumably had something like 16 oil changes in 36K miles, which works out to a 2,250 mile average change interval. Complete waste of time, money and perfectly good natural gas which could have gone to a higher and better use.Mobil 1 also says their oil miraculously expires at 1 year, and ToolGuy has questions. Is that one year in the bottle? One year in the vehicle? (Have I gone longer than a year in some of our vehicles? Yes, I have. Did I also add Lucas Oil 10131 Pure Synthetic Oil Stabilizer during that time, in case you are concerned about the additive package losing efficacy? Yes, I might have -- as far as you know.)TL;DR: I aim for annual oil changes and sometimes miss that 'deadline' by a few months; 12,000 miles between oil changes bothers me not at all, if you are using a quality synthetic which you should be anyway.