Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] will auction the right to purchase the first 2007 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 coupe available to the public during the 2006 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event in Scottsdale, Arizona. Carroll Shelby is scheduled to greet the winning bidder of the auction, which will be sold on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006. Proceeds from the no-reserve sale will benefit the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation, and the GT500 will be displayed throughout the 35th anniversary event from Jan. 14-22, 2006.
"We have a long and distinguished history working with Carroll Shelby," said Craig Jackson, president and CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. "Only Ford and Shelby American have sold more genuine Ford-powered Shelby vehicles than the Barrett-Jackson auction over the past 35 years. I'm proud that Ford Motor Co. and Carroll Shelby chose to offer the rights to the first 2007 Shelby GT500 coupe at our auction, where only the finest, authentic Shelby vehicles are offered to the public."
Shelby, who celebrated his 80th birthday at a gala conducted in his honor at Barrett-Jackson in 2003, reinvented the performance world with his Cobras and Mustangs in the 1960s. The automotive icon reunited with Ford later that year to develop enhanced editions of the company's vehicles.
"The new Shelby GT500 is an amazing American car that will offer fantastic performance," said Shelby, founder of Shelby Automobiles. "It's fitting that Ford would choose to offer the first one available to the public at Barrett-Jackson, America's auction house, which has helped raise so much money for charities over the years. This will be a rare opportunity to own a very special car while also helping so many children that desperately need medical assistance."
The GT500 will feature upgraded suspension, brakes and interior. However, it is the car's heart that makes it truly special. The Shelby's supercharged 5.4-liter, 32-valve V8 is based on the engine in the Ford GT, making it the most powerful factory-built Mustang in history. Projected to churn out over 475 HP with 475 ft. lbs of torque, the car will have a higher factory rating than the 1969 Mach 1 428 Super Cobra Jet or legendary 1969 Boss 429. The first GT500 is expected to be available in June 2006.
Shelby has enjoyed success in virtually every sports car and formula series in the world. In 1959, he won the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans and was named Sports Car Illustrated's "Driver of the Year." Retiring from racing due to a heart ailment, he founded Shelby American and created the Cobra sports car in 1962. He was responsible for the Shelby GT350 and GT500 in 1965 through 1970.
Shelby is the oldest and longest living double organ recipient. He received a heart in 1990 and then his son Mike donated a kidney to him in 1996. He created the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation in October 1991. The organization is dedicated to providing assistance for acute coronary and kidney care for young people.