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Carroll Shelby's Dream of a Carbon Fiber Mustang GT500 Is Actually a Reality
"Since 1998, Carroll Shelby believed that carbon fiber would be the future of American sports car manufacturing" - Neil Cummings, Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International.

Carroll Shelby's Dream of a Carbon Fiber Mustang GT500 Is Actually a Reality

Years have gone by, many things have changed from that initial thought; the automotive industry is not what it used to be more than 20 years ago. Technology has evolved in a ten-fold manner every year, and manufacturers try to always be on the leading edge of design when it comes to new products.

But there comes a time when no matter how high-tech a vehicle is, how much screen real estate it has, how many ambient lighting colors and self-driving capabilities it boasts, it can never capture the soul of a classic machine. The mechanical sounds of every gear shift, the tiny creak when breaking, the engine vibrations sensed through the steering wheel, the feeling that you are one with the car, not just a regulatory measure in a vehicle that can go by itself anywhere, mean so much more nowadays. That deep connection is so much harder to find when drive modes and buttons dictate the driving experience while everything else gets fitted with a microprocessor.

The guys at Classic Recreations (CR) are on a major quest to take everything that is good about the modern driving experience and put it on their vintage projects. They specialize in finding the balance between the newest advancements in technology, fabrication, and materials, and the authentic and meaningful experience of owning a piece of history. Their inventory is full of such examples, but nothing represents more this philosophy than their full carbon fiber line-up of Shelby officially licensed models. That was the dream of Carroll Shelby when he first envisioned his Mustang designs, but back then, the technology wasn't there for him. By partnering up with the SpeedKore, Classic Recreations have come up with a true engineering statement in honor of the heritage that Mr. Shelby left behind for all of us.

Thanks to the use of carbon fiber, the Shelby GT500CR series is lighter than its steel counterpart by more than 600 lbs (272 kg) but with way more structural rigidity. Increased responsiveness and tons of firepower are key ingredients that make the CR Mustangs feel more like Italian supercar than American muscle. But that is no bad thing. Oh no!

This aerospace-grade material is by far more lightweight and more rigid than conventional steel or aluminum. But molding it into the perfect form with absolutely no tolerance to any inconsistency to form a panel of excellent quality every time, that presents the real engineering challenge.

The crucial aspects of CR's molding process consist of a carbon fabric impregnation system using epoxy resin reinforcement material for a denser and stronger final result. The repeatability and consistency of the process are also essential. These come naturally due to CR using their own autoclave, a machine designed to function with high heat and pressure to eliminate any source of impurities during the fabrication process.

The full-carbon edition of the Shelby 500CR comes with some impressive specifications. First and foremost, CR will build only 25 of these limited edition 1967/68 supercars. The delivery process is done by the Shelby American facility in Las Vegas, and the availability is worldwide. Each vehicle gets its own unique badging and will be registered in the Shelby Worldwide Registry.

An 810 hp Whipple supercharged Ford 5.0L Gen 3 Coyote engine with a custom dyno tune is the beating heart of this beast, and it can be mated to a six-speed manual Tremec transmission or an automatic option. The dual adjustable coil-over suspension and tubular subframe connections add to the high-precision handling characteristics of the vehicle.

In addition, the 6-piston front and 4-piston back Willwood calipers together with slotted, cross-drilled, and zinc-washed rotors ensure some massive stopping power. The carbon Mustang can also be fitted with specific 18-inch aluminum wheels and high-performance Michelin Z-rated 225/40/18 front and 315/30/18 section tires. Not least, it can become a screaming beast thanks to its stainless long tube headers, dual 2.5-inch mandrel bent exhaust system, and Magnaflow mufflers.

Interior-wise, the mighty carbon Shelby GT500CR benefits from Alcantara headlining, Lecarra leather-wrapped steering wheel and Carroll Shelby Signature gauges with white faces. Furthermore, the seats are some very supportive Shelby Scat Rally Series 1000, fitted with 5-point cam-lock seatbelts. As an optional extra, future owners can equip their Mustang supercars with a touchscreen entertainment audio system with navigation connected to a Stillwater Designs amplifier, subwoofer, and speaker set.

Not cheap and tests your patience

Considering everything, it is common sense that the Carbon Edition Shelby GT500CR does come at a substantial price. It starts at $274,900, but after ticking some optional boxes, it very quickly can climb up from there well over $300k. And after dealing with all these huge numbers, you must also take into consideration the fact that the expected waiting period is between 12 to 18 months. But, for the right owner, it most definitely can be the perfect car that money can buy in the modern era.

With a power-to-weight ratio that rivals even the most exotic European supercars, heritage like no other American muscle car in history, and scarcity that will ensure every owner will feel unique, the Classic Recreations full carbon fiber Shelby Mustang GT500 is a top contender for the king of classic car ownership, and not just a forgotten dream in a genius mind that did so much for the American car industry.


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