The Ford Shelby GR-1 concept springs from a long line of Ford performance project cars and quickly establishes itself as one of the most contemporary and dramatic front-engine, two-seat, fastback supercars. This running prototype reaches closer to reality with a 605-horsepower, 390-cubic-inch all-aluminum V-10 engine, a road-tested version of the Ford GT suspension and a stunning new polished-aluminum body.
Sensuous, perfectly proportioned and wholly modern, this show car builds on the success of the Ford Shelby Cobra concept – the 2004 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) "Best in Show" winner – and reinforces Ford's continued commitment to performance.
The Shelby GR-1 concept's name pays tribute to both a performance great and "Group Racing." This uniquely emotional American sports car design represents Ford's continued desire to include a high-end, limited-production specialist supercar in its lineup. Initially unveiled as a design exercise at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August, the Ford Shelby GR-1 concept is a sports car salute to "performance art."
Inspired by the biggest, baddest engine of them all – the renowned 427 – Ford engineers created a new aluminum-block V-10 to power last year's Ford Shelby Cobra concept. This 6.4-liter engine – reprised for service in the GR-1 – is adapted from Ford's MOD engine family. It delivers the rush of raw power – with 605 horsepower and 501 foot-pounds of torque – associated with that big 1960s V-8 powerplant without the aid of supercharging or turbocharging.
This combination of brute force and thorough engineering has created a rarity in the world of auto shows – a concept car that can actually do, rather than merely promise, 0-60 in under four seconds, and would easily exceed 200 mph if not electronically limited.
"After I drove last year's Cobra concept, I knew we had a winner in the 6.4-liter V-10," says Carroll Shelby, renowned race driver and consultant on the Ford Shelby GR-1 concept. "We decided to transplant that engine directly into the GR-1 with practically no changes, right down to the rear-mounted transmission, which really helps the weight distribution."
For approximately three years, the Ford powertrain team has been working on an all-aluminum V-10 targeted at ultimate, naturally aspirated performance. When they bolted this modern-day Boss into a Mustang chassis for evaluation, it only took one drive to confirm its potential.
"When we found out there was yet another concept car with the Shelby name on it, we knew it begged for this engine," says Graham Hoare, director, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering. "Although it's not yet ready for production, we've reached a credible engineering level for such a serious concept car – and it has a modern soul that matches the Shelby mission."