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Shelby honoured with 634kW Cobra

Feeling blue: The Carroll Shelby tribute car is painted in the traditional Cobra colours made famous in the 1960s.

Ford pays tribute to industry great Carroll Shelby with one-off GT500 Cobra

Ford logo21 Aug 2012

FRIENDS of the late Carroll Shelby, including the Ford Motor Company, have produced a one-off tribute to the industry icon.

The unique 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Cobra also marks the 50th anniversary of the Shelby Cobra, a V8-powered sportscar based on the British AC Cobra with which Shelby famously ended Ferrari’s dominance of European GT racing in the 1960s.

Built in conjunction with Shelby American, the Shelby tribute car is powered by a reworked Ford Racing supercharged 4.0-litre V8 engine that produces some 634kW of power.

This is a remarkable 140kW more than the standard Mustang-based Shelby GT500 Cobra sold by Ford, requiring the fitment of massive 13-inch-wide rear wheels with 345-section tyres to get the power to the ground.

A new rear wide-body wheelarch kit was required to cover the 20-inch-diameter wheels, which was supplied by Shelby American, along with the wheels (10 inches wide at the front), a specially designed bonnet and high-performance Wilwood brakes.

The car is finished in Shelby’s historical ‘Guardsman Blue’ colour with wide white Cobra stripes and was unveiled last weekend at the Monterey historic car race meeting by Ford board member Edsel Ford II – who in 1978 created the Shelby-inspired Falcon Cobra hardtop that Allan Moffat raced at Bathurst.

 center imageLeft: Carroll Shelby.

Mr Ford – who worked for Shelby doing a variety of jobs including cleaning transmission parts as a teenager – also announced that the company has recognised Shelby’s contribution to its heritage by renaming a road at its Dearborn product development centre Carroll Shelby Way.

Ford group vice-president for sales and marketing Jim Farley, who also helped unveil the tribute car, said Shelby had worked with Ford for most of the last 60 years and was instrumental in the creation of classic performance vehicles including Cobras, the GT40 and Mustangs.

He said Shelby had inspired Ford designers and engineers for more than half a century and that they would now get “a daily reminder of his way” as they traverse the newly renamed Carroll Shelby Way through the heart of the development centre to the entrance to the proving ground.

“Even at 89 years of age, Carroll was an inspiration to us all,” said Mr Farley of Shelby, who died in May this year.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of the original Shelby Cobra. The one-off car we have created represents the very idea he had about making the 2013 Shelby GT500 into a true Cobra.

“Sadly, Carroll Shelby is no longer with us, but his spirit lives on with the designers and engineers he interacted with over the years and he will continue to influence Ford performance cars for many years to come.”

Starting at Monterey – where Cobra was the featured marque for 2012 – the Shelby tribute car will tour the United States in the coming months but Ford has yet to announce its ultimate destination.

“Carroll was a philanthropist, noted for supporting causes that moved him,” said Mr Farley. “In that spirit, this car will be taken on tour around the country, and hopefully will be used in a special way at the end of its tour – a way Carroll would appreciate.”

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