I love carbon fiber. I love the looks, I love how the lighter weight changes the driving dynamics. I know not everyone feels the same about carbon fiber. To each their own.
So when I saw custom vehicle builder Classic Recreations was able to build the world’s first production heritage carbon-fiber bodied Shelby GT500CR I was excited to report on it. Classic Recreations is an officially licensed Shelby builder and the new carbon-fiber GT500, which boasts 810 horsepower, really does carry on the legacy and heritage of Carroll Shelby.
“Our Carbon Fiber Shelby moved from concept to completion in an unbelievable nine months, all during a global pandemic,” said Jason Engel, founder and co-owner at Classic Recreations. “This first car in the production series demonstrates our ability to engineer and handcraft amazing cars by collaborating with key partners like SpeedKore. The muscle car is a breathtaking 600 pounds lighter than stock and has a power-to-weight ratio on par with most exotic vehicles.”
The unveiling took place on February 2, which was chosen intentionally as it marks the date in history when Carroll Shelby, in 1962, began building what would soon become the first Shelby Cobra CSX2000. Aaron Shelby, Carroll’s grandson and co-President of the Carroll Shelby Foundation helped present the vehicle with Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Stone and VP of Engineering and Design, Jason Engel.
“Shortly after my grandfather beat Enzo on the track at Le Mans, Carroll and Ford engineered the all-new 1967 Shelby GT500 as a ‘Ferrari killer’ for the street,” said Aaron Shelby. “Fifty-five years later, this car has new life with the capabilities to take on Europe’s biggest names once again. I’m proud of Classic Recreations’ efforts to keep Carroll’s dream alive.”
Carbon Fiber Shelby GT500
The carbon fiber upgrade is available on the officially-licensed Shelby GT500CR 900C, 900S and 545 models. Following development of a limited production run of carbon fiber GT500CR bodies, Classic Recreations was fortunate to partner with Shelby American in introducing the wildly successful limited edition “Carbon Edition”. The “Carbon Edition” features exclusive badging, designated Shelby serial numbers and includes a special delivery experience at Shelby American’s facility in Las Vegas. For every Carbon Edition vehicle sold Classic Recreations will make a generous donation to the Carroll Shelby Foundation in the buyer’s honor.
In collaboration with SpeedKore Performance Group, Classic Recreations’ 1967 steel GT500CR was blue light scanned, designed and engineered in CAD, and then permanently enshrined in plugs, from which future molds will be formed. The carbon fiber panels are autoclave-cured, creating blemish-free exposed carbon weave alignment panel-to-panel and exact-match replication. It is the first time the technology has been applied so extensively to a vintage Shelby GT500.
Performance Specs For Carbon-Fiber Shelby GT500
Powered by a 2.9L Whipple supercharged Ford 5.2L Aluminator Gen 3 Coyote engine with stainless steel headers, the transmission is a Ford 10R80 10-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The carbon fiber GT500CR production edition has an adjustable Detroit Speed suspension, JRI Coilover shocks, quadralink rear suspension, high-performance Wilwood brakes, roll bar and rack and pinion steering. The car rolls on 3-piece Forgeline wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich Rivals, 275/35/18 front and 335/30/18 rear.
- Exposed Carbon Fiber Weave (upgrade) with BASF candy red stripes
- Additional Colors Available Upon Request
- Engine: Ford 5.2L Aluminator Gen 3 Coyote engine
- Output: 810hp
- Transmission: Ford 10R80 10-speed automatic w/paddle shifters
- Supercharger: 2.9 L Big-Mouth 132mm throttle body Whipple
- Fuel Management: Ford Direct Port injection
- Fuel Pump: Vaporworx, twin
- Fuel Cell: Rick’s Tanks Stealth 18-gallon
- Rear End: 9” Fab 9 Rear with 3:70 Gear Ratio and Posi Traction
- Pulley System: Vintage Air
- Type: Rack and pinion Power Steering
- Column: Flaming River Tilt (Polished)
Wheels and Tires
- Front Wheels: Forgeline 3-piece 18x10
- Rear Wheels: Forgeline 3-piece 18x12
- Front Tires: BFGoodrich Rival G-Force 275/35/18
- Rear Tires: BFGoodrich Rival G-Force 335/30/18
- Body Panels: SpeedKore Carbon Fiber panels
- Body: Authentic Carroll Shelby Exterior Carbon Fiber Enhancements
- Tail Lights: Shelby Sequential
- Emblems: Carroll Shelby GT500CR
- Gas Cap: Carroll Shelby Le Mans Racing
- Rocker Stripes: Carroll Shelby GT500CR
- Front: 6-piston Wilwood calipers with 14-in. slotted, crossdrilled & vented rotors
- Rear: 4-piston Wilwood calipers with 13-in. slotted, crossdrilled & vented rotors
- Adjustable Rear-proportioning Valve
- Headers: Stainless Works long tube
- Type: Dual 2.5” Mandrel Bent stainless steel
- Muffler: MagnaFlow stainless steel
Radiator: Be Cool Aluminum Crossflow
Fans: 2 - 13” Electric Cooling
- Subframe: Tubular Subframe Connectors
- Rollbar: Cosmetic
- Front: Detroit Speed Alumaframe
- Rear: Quadralink
- Front and rear JRI coilovers
- Sway Bars: Oversized Front & Rear
Special Interior for GT500CR
A special car like this requires a special interior. And this carbon-fiber Shelby has that.
The stunning interior features an Alcantara headliner, Kicker audio system, Kenwood media center and navigation, ProCar leather seats and Shelby 200 MPH custom red gauges. Painted with Glasurit (BASF), Candy Red stripes and then clear coated, the vehicle is available in a number of color combinations or solely as exposed carbon weave.
- Seats: ProCar Leather
- Seatbelts: 5-Point Camlock
- Gauges: Carroll Shelby Signature (red face)
- Console: Carroll Shelby GT500CR
- Headliner: Alcantara
- Speedometer: Classic Instruments 200 mph
- Steering Wheel: Leather-Wrapped Aluminum
- Air Conditioner: Old Air Products
- Floormats: Carroll Shelby GT500CR
- Media Center/Radio: Kenwood double din media center with Navigation
- Amp: Kicker 5-Channel
- Speakers: Kicker
- Subwoofer: Stillwater Designs Custom
How Much Does the Carbon Fiber Shelby GT500 Cost?
According to Classic Recreations, pricing for the standard GT500CR with a complete carbon fiber body starts at $265,000 and is available with several drivetrain and customization options. The limited-release Carbon Edition Shelby GT500CR package begins at $298,000, with customization and upgrades available based on the customer's preferences in addition to the special delivery experience.
More information is available on their website.
What are your thoughts on carbon fiber? Are you a fan? Leave me your comments.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.