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Performance legend rejoins Ford
Carroll Shelby, creator of '60s Shelby Mustangs, will work with Ford's Performance Group.
August 18, 2003: 5:15 PM EDT
By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN/Money Staff Writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Performance guru Carroll Shelby and Ford Motor Co. say they're ready to do it again. Shelby, a former race car driver who became the driving force behind a series of highly collectible muscle cars and sports cars, will be offering his expertise to Ford's performance group.

Shelby at LeMans, 1967  
Carroll Shelby at LeMans in 1967 with the Ford GT40.

Ford and Shelby first worked together over 40 years ago, a partnership that created the high-powered Shelby Mustangs coveted today by muscle car collectors. Shelby already has acted as a consultant on the Ford GT, a supercar that will go on sale next year. Shelby, who turned 80 earlier this year, was a senior technical advisor to the Ford team that created the GT.

Ford GT  
The upcoming Ford GT

The first 2005 Ford GT -- only three 2004 GTs will be produced -- sold at Christie's auto auction at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California Sunday for $557,500. It had been expected to bring up to $180,000. The car will be built, to the buyer's specifications, in late 2004.

Ford first hired Shelby in 1965 to help with the GT40 racecar it was designing. That car was the inspiration for the new Ford GT. The original GT won the 24-hour LeMans race in France 4 times from 1966 to 1969 and won the World Sports Car Championships in 1966 and '67.

An AC Cobra racing at Sebring in 1964.  
An AC Cobra racing at Sebring in 1964.

Before being tapped to work on the Ford GT40, Shelby already had created his legendary Shelby AC Cobra, with its British AC Ace roadster body over a Ford V8 engine. A 1965 289 Cobra sold at the Monterey Sports Car Auction on Saturday for $192,500. A 1967 427 Cobra went for $332,759 at that auction.

In 1964, looking to compete against Corvette on the road-racing circuit, Ford asked Shelby to create a street-legal, high-performance version of Ford's Mustang. Shelby's answer was the 1965 Mustang GT350, a 306 horsepower fastback. In 1967, Shelby upped the ante again with the 355 horsepower GT 500.

1968 Shelby Mustang GT 500  
1968 Shelby Mustang GT 500

A Ford GT 350 sold for about $6,000 in 1965, or about $32,000 adjusted for inflation. Today, a 1965 GT 350 in average condition is worth about $52,000.

Production of Shelby Mustangs ended in 1969. Ford and Shelby officially ended their long-term racing agreement in 1970.  Top of page

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