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Shelby expands its Mustang range to Australia
Right-hand drive production gives Mustang performance tuner keys to world markets
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4 Sep 2015
By NEIL DOWLING
SHELBY-tuned 2015 Mustangs look set to smoke the streets this year after the iconic American performance-car tuner appointed an Australian agent.
Speaking with GoAuto, Carroll Shelby International co-CEO Joe Conway said that Melbourne-based Mustang Motorsport is now the sole Australian company that is licensed to sell, fit and market Shelby products for the new Mustang Down Under.
Speaking from Austin, Texas, the nephew by marriage of the late Carroll Shelby and also the CEO of component manufacturer Shelby American, said Ford’s decision for right-hand drive production – the first in 50 years – opened the international doors for his company.
“We’re following Ford around the world,” he said. “China, the UK, Canada, South Africa – we’re set up so we can carry on the work of (Carroll) Shelby.
“All of the cars will be pure Shelby but we plan to tailor some to local markets.
“This is the first Shelby muscle car in our history to be designed from day one to be a true global car.”
Mr Conway said modifying right-hand drive Mustangs to Shelby specifications could only be done at the point of sale of the donor car.
“It’s too expensive for us (in the US) to modify a car and then export it,” he said.
“You’re looking at two or three times the original price.
“Upgrading a customer’s car can cost $5000 to $50,000 – it’s up to how much the customer wants to spend and how fast he wants to go.
“We have very strong demand in the States for the new Mustang, especially the Super Snakes that are available up to 1000 horsepower (750kW).”
Mustang Motorsport managing director Craig Dean said the first shipment of Shelby components for the 2015 Mustang arrive at his Victorian shop on September 29.
“We already have customers waiting and there’s more each day,” he said. “We deal direct with Ford dealers or the customer.
“It will take about two weeks for conversions and up to four weeks for more involved work.”
Mr Dean, who also operates 25-year-old right-hand drive modification specialist Crossover Car Conversions, said Shelby kits start at $49,990 for the Shelby GT.
“If the customer wants a supercharger added, the kit climbs to $64,990 and for the Super Snake, it’s $84,990. This is on top of the price of the car.”
Australian pricing for the Mustang ranges from $44,990 plus on-road costs for the 233kW/432Nm 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo EcoBoost Fastback manual, topping out at $63,990 for the 303kW/525Nm 5.0-litre V8 auto Convertible.
The Shelby kits are also available to dress up or improve the performance of the four-cylinder EcoBoost Mustang, with prices about the same as the V8.
“It’s early days,” he said, “because we’re not sure of demand for the four-cylinder models.
“Most people who buy a V8 want to hot it up. The kits go up to 750kW so the sky’s the limit.”
Shelby American builds two models – the GT and the GT500 Super Snake. Both have similar exterior parts made from carbon-fibre and have Weld racing wheels.
The Australian carbon-fibre wheels produced in Geelong, Victoria by Carbon Revolution and shown on the Shelby Mustang GT350R are unavailable, as they are made only for that limited-edition variant.
The supercharger is from Ford Performance Racing and the gearing, suspension and axles are all heavy-duty components.
Options then extend to adjustable suspension, an upgraded supercharger and custom bodywork.
“We call it Shelbyised – the customised Shelby,” said Mr Conway.
“There are no limits to what a customer can do with our kits.”
Mr Dean has already built two Shelby Mustangs after importing and converting two early 2015 models from the United States. One has since been sold and the second is a demonstration car.
Shelby American was founded in 1962 by American racing icon Carroll Shelby. He produced the Shelby Cobra based on the British AC roadster, then the Daytona Coupe and GT350.
Under parent company Carroll Shelby International, Shelby American and Ford started their relationship with the Mustang in 2007, producing the Shelby GT based on Ford’s 4.6-litre version.
The car was built in Detroit and transported to Shelby American’s Las Vegas factory and the arrangement was so successful that 8000 were built in the first year.
The model also competed successfully in its SCCA racing class. The GT name was ceased in 2009 and resurrected in 2013.
The company now makes and markets performance components, Shelby apparel and merchandise and replicas including the Cobra. It recently announced a 50th anniversary recreation of the 1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe.
Carroll Shelby died in 2012.
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