Blowing Hot: Raw Power For Shelby

Shelby Series 1 Sportscar

 

Think Shelby and, chances are, the brutally functional shape of the Cobra will spring to mind. It was Carroll Shelby, after all, who conceived and masterminded this all-conquering sports car in the 1960s. As well as beating Ferrari and winning the FIA World Manufacturers’ Championship in 1965 with the Cobra Daytona Coupe, the now-legendary Shelby went on to build the meanest and baddest Cobra of them all - the much admired, and much-copied, 427 SC. There’s every chance you’ll have seen a replica of this car, but as all of the originals were built by Shelby American Inc in the US, the real thing is a rare sight in the UK.

Equally rare on Britain’s roads is Shelby’s more recent sports car sensation – the Series 1. In 1999, Shelby drew deeply from his beloved motor sport world to create what was described by Top Gear TV as "the best handling American muscle-car ever," when they drove it in 2000. But that was over three years ago. At the time, the car boasted a normally aspirated, 320hp Aurora V8 engine developing 290lb ft of torque, a six-speed rear transaxle, and perfect 50/50, front-rear weight distribution. Shelby hinted then that a supercharged version might be on its way, and guess what? A blown version of the car went on sale last year – with nothing less than mind-bending performance on tap.

Further good news is that Shelby will introduce a 2003 US certified Series 2 in March of this year, which will also be available supercharged to deliver the same knee-trembling performance as the legendary Cobra. The car will be sold worldwide and Shelby American Inc is now taking deposits for this unique, limited production sportscar.

How about 0-60mph in just 3.2 seconds and a standing quarter mile of 11.3 secs at 126mph from the forced induction, quad-cam, four-valves-per-cylinder, 4.0-litre V8. The delivered 450bhp and 406lb ft torque are impressive figures, although not the highest outputs by super-car standards, yet the car accelerates off the line like no other. Part of the reason for this lies in the supercharger system, the installation of which goes way beyond simply bolting on a Vortec blower, and part in the chassis construction and weight distribution of the car.

continues | Part Two
Published 29 January 2003 MAC

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