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Ford dealers taking bids on Shelby GT500s in hopes of huge profits


DETROIT -- Just how much would someone pay for the hard-to-get, 500-hp 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 coming this summer?

Plenty, dealers hope.

Some Ford dealers are holding online auctions for the muscled-up Mustang variant from performance-car legend Carroll Shelby. They expect it to rake in $15,000 more than Ford Motor Co.'s suggested retail price.

The automaker hasn't announced the price, but it's anticipated to be around $40,000. Ford will build 8,000 to 10,000 GT500s.

The highest bid on eBay Motors online auction Thursday morning, May 11, was $58,100 for a GT500 being hawked through Advantage Ford-Lincoln-Mercury in Duarte, Calif. There were other bids for $10,000 to $12,000 above the expected sticker.

Junior Bryant, a salesman with the Alexander Automotive Family in Murfreesboro, Tenn., says his posting on eBay got more than 1,500 hits on the first day.

"We're not trying to take advantage of anybody," he says "It's the market that dictates the value of the car, not us."

Brondes Ford in Toledo, Ohio, asked 15 customers who put down a $500 deposit to bid for the store's allotment of three or four cars. Sales manager Rob Whitner says he expects the store get $15,000 to $20,000 over sticker.

"There are people that want the first of everything," Whitner says. "It's a matter of supply and demand. We're not the kind of store that's trying to gouge anybody."

Ford isn't concerned with dealers selling above sticker. In fact, the automaker sold off the first GT500 at a Barrett-Jackson auction in Arizona in January for $600,000. Proceeds went to the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation

Ford spokesman Dan Bedore says a similar frenzy occurred in 2001 when customers clamored for the Thunderbird. Bedore says dealers can charge what they want for cars.

"It's actually a good problem to have," he says.

Frank Rodriguez, dealer principal of Greenway Ford in Orlando, Fla., is taking the opposite approach. Rodriguez says he is refusing deposits. He says that when the Ford GT debuted, customers were angry because they didn't get the car at the time it was promised.

Still, Rodriguez, who was chairman of the Ford dealer council in 2004, says that when cars come in, he expects to charge "whatever the market will bear."
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