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Shelby American marks 50th Anniversary with 950-hp street-legal Mustang

Consumer Reports News: April 06, 2012 05:08 PM

Last year, I drove a Shelby GT500 Super Snake at the California Speedway. The very latest evolution of the high-performance GT500 Mustang, this Super Snake was street friendly, but with 800 horsepower, its brutality could be unleashed with a mere ankle twitch. Unlike many of today's miserly mainstream machines, I never questioned what it would be like with more power. But living-legend Carroll Shelby did. In fact, after his first ride in the Snake, Shelby American President John Luft says the namesake leader challenged the team to reach for 1,000 horsepower. And they did.

At the New York International Auto Show, Shelby American commemorated the 50th anniversary of its introduction of the car that started it all, the very first Cobra (aka CSX2000) with the unveiling of the Shelby 1000. Advertised on their flyer for "when 800-hp is not enough," the Shelby 1000 takes the basic concept to the next level, offering extreme performance in street and track configurations. (This is a challenging marketing proposition; I can't recall a time when 800-hp wasn't enough.)

The Shelby 1000 is 50-state street legal, and it generates 950 horsepower on 91-octane pump gasoline. Frankly, that is rather amazing. A turn-key, warranteed package that any well-heeled American muscle daredevil could buy?! For those looking for a more exclusive, track-limited model, the Shelby 1000 S/C produces 1,100 horsepower.

Both iterations start with an owner-provided, late-model Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang and a check for at least $150,000. The transformation is thorough, with the centerpiece being a rebuilt 5.4-liter V8, with fresh internals and larger supercharger.

2012-Ford-Mustangs-NYIAS.jpgThe company plans to make just 100 examples, and it is a safe bet that some will be pampered and mostly unused as car show regulars. And likely, a few, sadly, will be wrecked. But whether driven or coddled, clearly this is a historic car to celebrate a truly special milestone.

For those looking for Mustang thrills, Ford now offers quite a variety, as we saw on hand at the show. With the V6, V8 GT, Boss 302, and GT500 offering quite a performance ladder from which to choose.

Jeff Bartlett

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