At Shelby, 50 years of making great American muscle cars (pictures)
This year marks a half-century since Carroll Shelby began selling road-ripping super cars. In 2012, they're as hot as ever. CNET Road Trip 2012 got a G-force ride.
LAS VEGAS, Nev.--If you've seen one on the road, it was probably leaving you in the dust somewhere. That's because cars made by Shelby are some of America's most powerful, with some boasting more than 1,000 horsepower, and top speeds well higher than most.
This year marks 50 years since Carroll Shelby produced the first Cobra. According to the Shelby museum, located at its headquarters in Las Vegas, Shelby "took the antiquated AC 'Ace' chassis, inserted a new small block Ford engine, and re-engineered the car to handle all the additional power. Weighing only 2,020 pounds, the Cobra easily vanquished sports cars from Jaguar, Chevrolet, Porsche, Aston Martin, and others. And in 1965, Shelby's Cobra team wrested the sports car racing world championship from Ferrari."
This is the first Cobra ever produced, located in the Shelby Museum, and according to the company's vice president of operations Gary Patterson, Shelby America recently turned down a $25 million offer for the car.
Although the company turns out many cars under its own nameplate, it also has a shop that will modify almost any vehicle, turning them into super cars.
This is a 2005 Ford Mustang that has been significantly modified with a new 4.6-liter engine and super-charger. Much of the car is stock, but has all-new panels in back, as well as a new hood, brakes, and a few other components. Carroll Shelby signed the car's interior himself a year ago, shortly before he passed away.
The 50th anniversary Super Snake costs $60,000 (not including the base Mustang). For that money, buyers get a long list of features including a 750-horsepower engine, a supercharger, carbon fiber body components, and more. The car also can come as a convertible.
This is a Shelby GT 350 that is in the middle of the assembly process. The car already has its new engine, but many of its components, including the front fender and other parts, have yet to be added back on.
This is a Shelby 1000, owned by the company and used at promotional events, that is having some minor maintenance work done. The Shelby 1000 is designed with more than 1,000 horsepower, and can go more than 200 miles an hour.
"This is the standard by which all other muscle cars will be measured and special enough to receive its own branding," reads a Shelby 1000 pamphlet.
This is a Cobra 427, a vehicle that is designed to match the specifications of the original, 1960s-era Cobra.
However, because such cars don't meet emissions standards in most states, Shelby does not ship them with the engine installed. Instead, buyers can either have their local dealer finish the installation -- meeting the standards in their state -- or do it themselves.
This is going to be a Shelby GT350, but as seen in this picture, it is still a Ford Mustang. Although many of its stock parts have already been pulled out of the car, it hasn't had any of the Shelby modifications done to it yet.
This is a GT 500 engine that Shelby is tearing down in order to make a Shelby 1000 engine. When finished, the Shelby 1000 will cost a buyer of the 1,000-horsepower-plus car at least $150,000 on top of the price of a stock Ford Mustang.
Since Shelby is one of the most accomplished car modification companies in the world, it should be no surprise that in order to get around the company's many buildings, executives can drive a golf car modified to look (a bit) like a mid-'60s Shelby GT350.