Shelby American Inc. has reentered the modern sports car arena with its new Shelby Series 2 roadster, 19 years after the Shelby Series 1 was introduced. Beginning in June, four of the handcrafted, limited edition sports cars will be available per year as a component roller configured for the Carroll Shelby Engine Company 427 aluminum FE big-block or Windsor small-block coupled to a custom-designed ZF 5 speed transaxle.
“Carroll Shelby’s first ‘clean sheet’ car was the Shelby Series 1,” said Joe Conway, CEO of Shelby American. “Carroll always intended for that innovative chassis to be the first in a line of modern sports cars, which is why he called it the Series 1. The new Shelby Series 2 is the evolution of that minimalist car, offering breathtaking performance in a modern two-seat roadster.”
The Series 2 story began in the 1990s. Carroll Shelby had built many vehicles in partnership with several companies based on a chassis or design from those carmakers. Around 1996, he decided to produce a car that was pure Shelby.
Though it was a fresh design, the Shelby Series 1’s front engine, rear wheel drive layout was fairly traditional. The styling was lauded for being both sporty and aggressively handsome because it melded “big roadster” proportions with a variety of classic cues, according to the company.
The Shelby Series 1 was crafted of lightweight composite materials, and only weighed about 2850 pounds, including its leather trimmed interior, top and air conditioning. According to the company, the all-aluminum monocoque chassis was then-and still is-one of the stiffest chassis in the world, with the engine mounted aft of the front suspension for a 49/51 weight balance. The naturally aspirated Aurora 4.0-liter DOHC V-8 engine was rated at 320 horsepower connected to a rear mounted 5-speed manual transaxle; a supercharged option increased horsepower to about 460. A total of 249 were built.
The new Shelby Series 2 emerged through an agreement between Shelby and Wingard Motorsports to create a handful of cars with the choice of an aluminum, carbon fiber or one of the first titanium car bodies. Wingard can finish out the roller for customers, too.
“Several years ago, Wingard Motorsports purchased the remaining Shelby Series 1 chassis and parts,” said Gary Patterson, Shelby American President. “Working with Shelby, founder Bob Wingard revised the car to reduce weight by maximizing the integration of billeted aluminum and carbon fiber components. He further refined the suspension, braking and drivetrain to allow an increase of more than twice the horsepower of the original car. The Series 2 is now more than 12% lighter and will support over 800 horsepower.”
The Shelby Series 2 is built on the original aluminum honeycomb monocoque frames with next generation hardware. It uses an inboard cantilevered suspension design for the front and rear, which minimizes the sprung wheel weight. Penske Shocks fine-tuned the suspension at their facility in Charlotte. The car has a big brake system with 6-piston calipers on all corners and custom 19″ mono block performance wheels with Pilot Cup 2 tires.
Standard drivetrain configuration is for a 5 speed ZF transaxle torque tube coupled to a multi-disc clutch system mated to a Carroll Shelby Engine Company 427 FE or 427 Windsor motor. Other engine options can be supported, as well as multi-point seat belts and 4- or 6-point roll bars. However, the Shelby Series 2 will not come with cup holders.
Each commissioned Series 2 will be unique-one-of-one. Custom interiors designed to accommodate most drivers with six inches of peddle adjustment will include carbon fiber Carroll Shelby signature seats, according to the company. Aluminum bodies will be available in a brushed, polished or painted finish with the Shelby signature racing stripes.
“While the Shelby Series 2 is based on the first-generation car, it’s a significant leap forward,” Patterson said. “It blends old school craftsmanship and current technology, pushing the roadster into super car territory. It is the perfect car for collectors and enthusiasts globally who want the ultimate in exclusivity and to be completely engaged with the driving experience.”
Each car will be built to order and bear a Shelby American CSX5500 series serial number that will be recorded in the official Shelby American Registry. For more information, visit Shelby.com.