Anyone who has heard the Ford vs Ferrari story or even watched the 2019 film understands why and how a Texas chicken farmer became a racecar driver and then turned into an automotive designer and entrepreneur.
Whenever Ford and performance are put in the same sentence, the first thing to come to mind is Shelby. Carroll Shelby is credited with the creation of the first Ford high-performance Mustang. The first high-performance car to bear the Ford Shelby emblem was the AC, which was built in Britain.
Shelby replaced the AC’s engine and renamed it the Cobra. That was back in 1962. The success of the Cobra at the FIA Manufacturers Grand Touring World Championship in 1965 as the only American car in the race sparked the flame of the Ford Shelby partnership.
There have been many cars that have been built under the Shelby umbrella. While some have left their mark in history, there are some we wish never left the production line.
10 1962-’65 Cobra 260 (Mark II) – Annihilated Everything
In the 1950s when car enthusiasts in Europe talked about their sports cars, Americans were still talking about their pony cars and daily drivers that were nothing but lemons compared to what the Europeans had.
Shelby – American legendary driver and 1959 Le Mans winner decided that it was time for him to drive an American sports car, and that is when the Cobra was born. He bought a British built car and upgraded the engine giving it enough power to go against some of the best racing cars. The 1962-’65 Cobra 260 (Mark II) was powered by a 289-cubic inch V8 engine that pushed 271 horsepower to the 2000 pound Cobra’s drivetrain.
9 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger – Completely Missed The Mark
The Dodge Charger is renowned for its power and stamina and as far as high-performance muscle cars go, the Dodge Charger is right at the top. However, the late ’70s to ’80s cars were lemons and even the king of performance could not do much to improve on them.
The 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger was powered by a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine. Shelby paired this engine with a hotter camshaft, opened up the exhaust, and he fitted a close ration five-speed transmission to the power train. The engine delivered a maximum output of 107 horsepower which took the 1983 Dodge Shelby Charger from 0-60 mph in 9.0 seconds.
8th 1965-’67 Cobra 427 (Mark III) – Annihilated Everything
In 1965, the new Cobra 427 was released. It sold for $7,500 – which was considered quite expensive. The Cobra 427 (Mark III) was estimated to go from 0-60 in 4.3 seconds and 0-100 in 8.8 seconds. When it came to a quarter-mile run, the Mark III hit the finish line in 12.2 seconds at a top speed of 118mph.
The Cobra 427 (Mark III) was fitted with some of the best braking systems that allowed it to come to a dead stop from 100mph -0 in 14.5 seconds. Despite these impressive numbers, the Cobra 427 (Mark III) was not a success due to the high price. These days, it’s highly desirable, and in 2018, the average auction price of the Cobra 427 (Mark III) was $1,045,000.
7 2006 Shelby Mustang GT-H – Completely Missed The Mark
In 1965, Shelby and Hertz had a deal, where Shelby offered the 1966 GT350H Mustang to Hertz as a rental car. This business plan was shaped to be beneficial for all the parties involved and it also worked a promotion platform for the Shelby Mustang to potential buyers.
The success of this deal in 1965 pushed Shelby, for and Hertz to come together in 2006 to create a new rental-racer- the Shelby Mustang GT-H. This car was fitted with the Ford Racing FR1 power pack that featured a cold-air intake, unique X-pipes, muffler set, and the FR3 handling pack that included sway bars, specially tuned dampers, and lower springs.
6 1965-’66 Mustang GT350 – Annihilated Everything
In 1964, Shelby was tasked to convert one of Ford’s most successful Mustang the 1964 Ford Mustang into a sports car. The task of converting this car that featured a Ford Falcon economy car structure turned into one of Shelby’s best works. Shelby worked on upgrading the engine and suspension on the car, he went ahead and added a Holley carburetor to the original 289-cubic-inch V8 engine that pushed 271 horsepower.
He paired this with 4-speed manual tranny close-ratio Borg-Warner transmission. He also fitted an exhaust system that led to the front of the rear wheels and exhaust headers to go with it. This pony car’s engine was upgraded to push 306 horsepower and its handling was outstanding. In 2018, the average price at auction for the GT350 was $356,500.
5 1987 Shelby Lancer – Completely Missed The Mark
Shelby’s works with the Mustang, Cobra, Ford GT40, and some of his lesser-known works that included the Dodge Omni GLH-S were mind-blowing and set the pace for American sports cars and muscle cars.
However, sometimes even the mighty fall, and when they do, the whole world knows about it. The 1987 Shelby Lancer was one of Shelby’s big falls. Built to rival his very own creation the Dodge Omni GLH-S this car did not meet the mark. This front-wheel-drive machine featured an engine that had a maximum output of 175 horsepower and accelerated from 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds.
4 1965 Mustang GT350R – Annihilated Everything
The 1965 Mustang GT350R was built to be the 1965 Mustang GT350 performance trim. This beast was powered by a K-Code 271 engine that pushed 306 horsepower. This car was not built for comfort or easy driving, from the get-go Shelby made it clear that the 1965 Mustang GT350R belonged to the track and that it doesn’t make for a good daily driver.
Only thirty-four units of this icon rider we built which went against the SCCA rules of a hundred cars that were to be built and speeded. Shelby proved that the thirty-four units were all they needed to compete at the highest levels of American racing.
3 1986 Dodge Shelby GLH-S – Completely Missed The Mark
This car was the embodiment of Shelby’s philosophy of “a good thing made better.” However, this car missed the mark by a long shot. When the Chrysler kingdom got a new king- Lee Iaccoca, Shelby was requested to help in the creation of a high-performance car to rival the Volkswagen Rabbit GTI.
Using the same approach applied to Mustang and the Dodge Omni, Shelby went ahead and upgraded the engine and suspension. The new 2.2-liter turbo-four engine delivered 175 horsepower, which was not all that impressive.
2 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 “Super Snake” – Annihilated Everything
This is one of the rarest Shelby cars in history. Twenty-three original units of the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 “Super Snake” models were made but only two were made from the original mold. The 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 “Super Snake” featured a dual supercharged engine that pushed 800 horsepower. The very first Super Snake was labeled CSX 3015 and was used by the man himself Carroll Shelby, it is the only one that survived.
Shelby was said that when he was building the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 “Super Snake” he was looking to have the fastest and meanest car on the road, and he most certainly achieved it. The Super Snake is the fastest road-legal Cobra, it estimates to accelerate from 0-60 mph in a little over three seconds. In 2007 during the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 “Super Snake” was sold for $5.5 million.
1 1963 Cobra ‘Dragonsnake’ – Completely Missed The Mark
When mentioning Shelbys that completely missed the mark it is a shame if you do not mention the 1963 Cobra “Dragonsnake.” This car was sold for $8,000 in 1963. This car was built to be a ¼-mile drag car. The Dragonsnake featured a couple of racing options that allowed the car to accelerate from 6-60 mph in 5.5 seconds, which was faster compared, to some Ferraris during that era.
Only 8 units of the 1963 Cobra “Dragonsnake” were made. One of these was the CSX2093, which won the NHRA National events seven times. What makes this car fall into the worst category is due to being a sports car that’s incapable to handle anything else a straight line.
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