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AutoMatters & More: Shelby at 60 — the New Museum & the GT500KR

Segerstrom Shelby Event Center
Segerstrom Shelby Event Center
(Jan Wagner)

The name Shelby is synonymous the world over with high performance automobiles. Think Shelby Cobra, Shelby Mustang and, of course, the legend himself: Carroll Shelby, whose accomplishments both on and off the track are legendary (if you have not seen it already, watch the movie: “Ford v Ferrari”). Sadly, Carroll Shelby is no longer with us, but his legacy lives on in his amazing vehicles, and in the new ones that are being built by Shelby American, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2022.

A beautiful, new museum in Southern California (in Irvine) is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of Carroll Shelby’s soul-stirring automobiles, surrounded by an incredible collection of “Petroliana” (gas station and petroleum industry memorabilia). The Segerstrom Shelby Event Center spans two architecturally stunning floors, within which are exhibited Cobras, race cars, automotive memorabilia and, of course, Shelby Mustangs — many rare Shelby Mustangs, including Machs, Bosses and — who could ever forget — Hertz rent-a-racers?

Hertz Rent A Car Shelby Mustangs
Hertz Rent A Car Shelby Mustangs
(Jan Wagner)

Educational graphics (time capsules) cover the walls, describing the history of the vehicles, and the life and legacy of Carroll Shelby. Informative placards describe the individual vehicles.

Automotive memorabilia includes a large collection of restored gas pumps and gas pump globes, vintage oil cans, coin-op rides, Route 66 signs and more.

You could easily spend days here, with all there is to see and read. Private, docent-led tours of the Segerstrom are available for groups of 10 to 30, and it may be booked for special events. For more information about the Segerstrom Shelby Event Center, including their hours of operation so that you can see their wonderful collection for yourself, go to: https://segerstromshelbyeventcenter.com

Shelby Cobras
Shelby Cobras
(Jan Wagner)

Shelby American was founded by Carroll Shelby. “Sixty years ago, Shelby American and Ford Motor Company collaborated on their first car, the Shelby Cobra,” said Joe Conway, CEO of Shelby American.” To celebrate this 60th anniversary, Shelby American introduced the first of four new, significant vehicle programs.

The first of those is the third-generation Ford Shelby GT500KR — “King of the Road.” As the story goes, its regal name came about in 1968 shortly after Lee Iacocca, Ford Division general manager, mentioned to Carroll Shelby that Chevrolet was about to name their new Corvette “King of the Road.” Carroll had always wanted to use that name already, so he checked with his lawyers, found out that the name was not yet taken and used it for his first-generation GT500KR. Powered by the new, 335 horsepower, 428 Cobra Jet V-8, it was equipped with a modified suspension, redesigned front- and rear-end, custom fiberglass hood, Cougar taillights, functional roll bar and wood-rimmed steering wheel — in both fastback and convertible versions.

50th Anniversary Shelby 427 Cobra
50th Anniversary Shelby 427 Cobra
(Jan Wagner)

In 2008, the second-generation collaboration between Ford and Shelby featured a supercharged V-8 that upped the horsepower to 540. It included a short-throw gear shifter, 3.73:l performance rear axle ratio; unique wheels, tires, suspension settings, stripes and badges; and a special composite hood with push-button hood pins.

Carrying on with the tradition, the third-generation “King of the Hill” Mustang is based on the 2020 – 2022 Ford Shelby GT500. Using that as a starting point (buyers must provide a 2020 – 2022 Shelby GT500 for the transformation), the new “King of the Hill” adds 140+ horsepower — for a truly grand total of 900+ on pump gas. Also added is a dry carbon fiber hood (which reduces the weight by 90 pounds) with functional, water-managed hood vents, including side vents that pull heat off of the exhaust manifold to help prevent heat soak. There are also new wheels, tires, suspension tuning (with more aggressive springs and Ford Performance sway bars), interior elements and badges.

Shelby GT500KR previewed at Segerstrom Shelby Event Center
Shelby GT500KR previewed at Segerstrom Shelby Event Center
(Jan Wagner)

Production will begin in the first quarter of 2022. The first production car will be auctioned at No Reserve, to benefit the Carroll Shelby Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund, on Jan. 29, 2022, by the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company in Scottsdale, Ariz.

This will be an extremely limited production car, with only 60 manufactured per model year (180 total) available in the U.S., plus 45 overseas.

To learn more about the new, 900+ horsepower Shelby GT500 “King of the Road” and how to order one, visit https://www.shelby.com/en-us/Vehicles/Shelby-GT500-KR

To see the most photos and the latest text, and to explore a wide variety of content dating back to 2002, visit AutoMatters & More at AutoMatters.net. On the Home Page, search by title or topic, or click on the blue ‘years’ boxes.

Copyright © 2021 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters & More #723


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