If you’re seeking a gift for a person who resides in the overlapping part of a Venn Diagram which includes gearheads and voracious readers, this book about the history of Shelby American might be a good selection. And, hey – if that person is yourself, there ain’t nothing wrong with buying it for your own bookshelf.
Borla Exhaust is a staple at SEMA and usually has some new product on hand. However, they’re usually supposed to be attached to vehicles sporting a combustion engine, making the Ford Mach-E that’s taken pole position at the company’s display area feel like a prank. Though it isn’t. The all-electric model needed to be there so Borla could show off its all-new “exhaust" kit that relies on speakers to make noise.
In 1966, Shelby American joined forces with Hertz for its Rent-a-Racer program. Legend has it that the entire thing started as a way for Carroll Shelby to sell 1,001 modified Ford Mustangs, effectively conning the rental agency into paying for the privileges of advertising his products. But the resulting Shelby GT350H has become a bit of a legend, with the surviving examples consistently going for six figures at auction.
In actuality, Hertz was already offering high-performance vehicles years before Shelby got involved and the pair had previously worked together to offer the Cobra in 1962. Their marriage solidified the company’s efforts to occasionally provide customers with the opportunity to drive something truly glorious to drive. While the Mustang (along with the Corvette) remained a staple for North America, Shelby models wouldn’t return until 2006 delivered a second incarnation of the GT350H, to be followed by the 2016 GT-H. Hertz and Shelby American have confirmed a new partnership — one that has resulted in the 900+ horsepower Mustang Shelby GT500-H.
Shelby American is bringing back the GT500KR as an ultra-rare alternative to an already specialized variant of the Ford Mustang. So rare, in fact, that the odds of you actually obtaining one border on nonexistent.
Ford debuted the original in 1968 to capitalize on Carol Shelby’s winning streak with the Mustang and the “King of the Road” KR designation returned in 2008 while the retro renaissance was in full swing. Both were sold in limited numbers, with the new model being no different. Designed under the premise that Shelby could build one hell of an automobile for roughly $5,000 in 1968 ($40,000 today), the first GT500KR boasted a modified 428-ci (7.0-liter) Cobra Jet V8 engine and plenty of exterior accouterments helping to boost both performance and presence. Underrated at 355 horsepower, Shelby’s time with the Ford parts bin actually yielded a powertrain estimated to be in excess of 400 bhp with 440 pound-feet of torque.
There’s a Ford dealership in Iowa claiming that Blue Oval has canceled some Mustang Mach 1 and GT500 orders for the 2021 model year, suggesting that interested customers re-up for the 2022 MY vehicles.
Representatives from Granger Ford (located in, get this, Granger, IA) have taken to the Mustang6G forums to explain that their store has been notified that some customers will have to go without this year due to component shortages. While cancellations don’t appear to be widespread, other shops have confirmed they’ve gotten similar memos.
Ford has been getting into trouble over “track-ready” Mustangs after a few customers formally accused the company of erroneous marketing in 2017. A class-action lawsuit was even filed in March of that year, stating that the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 suffered from overheating problems that precluded it from being fully functional on a racetrack — specifically early examples of the car equipped with either the Technology Package or left in the base configuration.
Earlier this month, Federal Judge Federico A. Moreno certified statutory and common law fraud classes pertaining to the model in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Washington State. Additional approvals relating specifically to statutory fraud and/or implied warranty claims were made for Oregon, Missouri, Tennessee, and Texas.
Enthusiasts are up in arms about the departing Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 because they already know its Mach 1 replacement won’t be able to compete with it on a racetrack. This was by design, however. Ford wants something a little more street friendly and easier on people’s wallets. It can also save on production costs by utilizing components that helped make the GT350 an engineering marvel, without relying on its pricey V8 with the flat-plane crankshaft. The Mach 1 gets the same 5.0-liter V8 found inside GT models, tweaked to deliver 480 hp and 420 pound-feet of torque.
On the 73rd anniversary of Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier (aka Mach 1) in the Bell X-1 “Glamorous Glennis,” Ford decided to tell us how much the upcoming model will cost so it could begin taking orders. The automaker has settled on $52,915 (including destination), placing the Mach 1 a healthy $4,000 above the Bullitt Mustang and nearly ten grand below the outgoing GT350.
I didn’t plan for it to happen. It just did.
I had requested a Shelby GT500 loan because I’d driven the car on the launch but wanted to see what it’s like to live with the king of current Mustangs in the real world. Because the car is likely in high demand among Chicago-area automotive journalists, the loan would be short. So I’d have a gap in my schedule.
I don’t need test cars to get around. I am not dependent on them – I don’t feel beholden to the fleets or the automakers. I have other ways to get around, whether it be walking, biking, using a cab/Uber, or whatever. But I try to schedule cars each week, either so I can review them for TTAC (even if it takes a while to actually get around to the write-up, sorry gang) or at least use them as background for knowledge and comparison.
I almost turned the invite down.
In early June, Ford lit up my inbox with an invitation to head to Joliet, Illinois, to drive the Shelby GT500 on track at the members-only Autobahn Country Club.
Ah, Joliet – best known for the now-defunct prison featured in The Blues Brothers and other media. Also home of the Chicagoland Speedway, where NASCAR has a Cup race most years, as well as the Route 66 drag strip, which hosts NHRA events. Too bad we couldn’t turn the Shelbys loose on the oval. Or the drag strip. The latter was actually part of the plans. More on that later.
Shelby has been synonymous with the Mustang since Ford started manufacturing the GT350 in 1965 — cementing the model’s role as a certified performance machine. While Shelby Mustangs haven’t been available every year, Ford has lately been careful to include them in the lineup (if you haven’t noticed, there’s a horsepower war raging between domestic manufacturers, and the 760-hp Shelby GT500 is one of the main combatants).
But what happens as automakers transition into electrification? With a greener mindset spurring the change, these companies don’t seriously intend on delivering unnecessary high-performance models — do they?
You bet your ass they are. We’re already seeing them entering production, and Ford is now tentatively planning a Shelby variant of its all-electric Mach-E. Given its transition from “Mustang inspired” to “part of the Mustang family,” it’s now fair game.
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