With layoffs of 30-40 percent at Shelby's Las Vegas plant and no plans for a custom OEM car beyond the 2011 Shelby Mustang GT350, Carroll Shelby has told a Texas newspaper that it may be his last, as he looks to build fewer cars and sell more parts.
The reason? Money, plain and simple. Clearing a reasonable profit on a full car is tough, but parts can do the job much more easily. Even as Shelby cuts his workforce for custom car production, the parts business is growing at 15-20 percent, he told The Dallas Morning News.
Along with the 500 or so GT350s Shelby plans to build over the next year, the plant will also turn out more of the Super Snake GT 500 package conversions. But beyond that, there's nothing planned. Shelby American's president John Luft cautions not to read too much into that, however, leaving the door open for yet more Shelby customs.
The 2011 Shelby Mustang GT350 is a supercharged version of the standard 5.0-liter 2011 Mustang GT, upgraded with about $60,000 worth of suspension, appearance, brake, and other performance modifications. A small number of GT350s will also be built without the supercharger for SCCA competition.
Taking the already insanely potent GT500 to the stratosphere, the Super Snake package involves a donor car, a supercharger, a Ford Racing suspension setup and custom wheels wrapped in Pirelli P-Zero tires plus a number of cosmetic updates. Power? 630 to 725 horsepower on the 2009-2010 models, and possibly more for the upgraded aluminum-block 2011 model. Pricing for the 2009-2010 Super Snake package ran between $30,000 and $34,000--on top of the price of the car.
Whatever Shelby decides to do with his business, he's certainly made his mark both in terms of the cars built by his company and the brand he has built. We'll just have to wait and see how the next step in its evolution unfolds.