Carroll Shelby's company keeps his dreams alive

 
 
Updated 5/21/2018 6:28 AM
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  • Shelby American will use 10 donor 1967 fastback Mustangs to create Shelby GT500 Super Snakes.

    Shelby American will use 10 donor 1967 fastback Mustangs to create Shelby GT500 Super Snakes. Photos Courtesy of Shelby American

  • Shelby American will use 10 donor 1967 fastback Mustangs to create Shelby GT500 Super Snakes.

    Shelby American will use 10 donor 1967 fastback Mustangs to create Shelby GT500 Super Snakes.

  • The two-seat Series 2 can be custom ordered with roll bars and multi-point, racing seat belts.

    The two-seat Series 2 can be custom ordered with roll bars and multi-point, racing seat belts.

The late Carroll Shelby had big dreams for Ford's Mustang and many of them came true. One, however, did not -- until now.

In 1967, the Texan tuner conducted an engineering study on a then-new Mustang GT500, one he dubbed the "Super Snake." The souped-up serpent boasted a lightweight 520-horsepower, 427-cubic-inch engine, heavy-duty brakes, rear traction bars and unique triple stripes. Carroll himself drove it around Goodyear's San Angelo, Texas, test track, taking it up to 170 mph.

Each of the Super Snakes will be powered by a 550-horsepower big block 427-cubic-inch V-8.
Each of the Super Snakes will be powered by a 550-horsepower big block 427-cubic-inch V-8. -

Carroll and former Shelby American employee Don McCain liked it so much they considered doing a limited run of vehicles, but after crunching the numbers, found the costs were too high.

Now, 50 years later, the program is being relaunched with ten Super Snake continuation cars being built.

Shelby American will use original 1967 donor fastback Mustangs as a foundation, each equipped with factory Vehicle Identification Numbers and original titles.

Power will come from a race-inspired big block 427 V-8 from Carroll Shelby Engine Co. and rated at more than 550 horsepower. Both aluminum and cast-iron blocks will be available. The Mustangs will have a four-speed manual transmission. Just like the original, the cars will have disc brakes and the iconic triple stripes.

Before his passing a few years ago, McCain was deeply involved in the Shelby engine program and promoted the idea of a rebirth of the Super Snake. He signed ten dash plaques for the cars, as did Carroll Shelby, who died in 2012. Each new car will get one.

Super Snakes will be built to order and sold through Shelby American, with pricing starting at $249,995.

Shelby Series 2

The Shelby Series 2 will be a lighter, faster version of the Series 1 that was introduced in 1999.
The Shelby Series 2 will be a lighter, faster version of the Series 1 that was introduced in 1999. -

Another wish of Carroll's is happening, too, with his company picking up production of the Shelby Series 1. That car was launched in 1999.

The Series 1 was Shelby American's first all-new design -- one not built on an existing model from an outside brand, such as a Ford Mustang. A total of 249 were built.

Now, a new generation of the sports car, called the Series 2, is being offered, although it will be based on that original two-seat design. While it's visually the same, the overall weight is 12 percent lighter thanks to use of billeted aluminum and carbon fiber components.

Another big change is in that the car will be able to handle 800 horsepower. The engine will be a Carroll Shelby Engine Co. 427 FE or 427 Windsor motor, though other engine options can be had, too, as well as things like multi-point seat belts and four- or six-point roll bars.

The vehicle's aluminum body will be available in a brushed, polished or painted finish with Shelby racing stripes. The cars will come with a one-year warranty and customers will get a weekend training session at Spring Mountain Raceway near Las Vegas to learn how to handle their new rides.

Only four cars will be commissioned and hand-built each year and each will bear a Shelby American CSX5500 series serial number, recorded in the official registry. There's no word on pricing.

• Share your car's story with Matt at auto@dailyherald.com.

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