As lesser mortals approach their 80th year it might be expected that they start thinking seriously about that place by the seaside and regular appointments with the pipe and slippers. However, automotive legend Carroll Shelby chose to celebrate the end of his eighth decade with a huge birthday bash in his home state of Texas and the release of the first "continuation" Shelby Mustang GT 500E, writes Robert Daines.
The Shelby Mustangs are revered among muscle-car enthusiasts and, with the current yearning for automotive nostalgia, it is no surprise that "Shel" has decided that the time is ripe for a revival of one of his most well-known models.
Only 400 of the reborn Shelby GT 500s will be made, with serial numbers leading on from the last of the original models. Each is created from a fully restored classic Mustang and comes with period Shelby Mustang features including a roll bar, side exhaust and sequential indicators.
Under the pure 1960s-style hood lurks a Shelby-tuned Ford V8, while uprated performance brakes ensure that the reborn road-rocket stops as well as it goes.
In a nod to the needs of modern users, the Shelby Mustang GT also features air-conditioning and a top-notch sound system. These would not have found favour with power-hungry buyers in the 1960s, who would have preferred sweltering to losing precious power to an air-con compressor.
To ensure authenticity and to aid future value to collectors, each of the continuation Shelby Mustangs will be listed with the official Shelby American World Registry as bona fide Shelby creations.
The first of these highly desirable muscle cars was auctioned at Shelby's birthday celebration on Thursday evening at the Texas Speedway. In addition to the auction of the GT 500, Shelby was on hand to deliver the first production GT 500E "Super Snake" to its new owners.
The first of only 75 Super Snakes to be built, the car features the legendary aluminium-alloy, 427 cubic inch Shelby V8. For dedicated speed freaks, Shelby will add a supercharger to the package. More details at www.carrollshelby.com.