- Shelby Super Snake shows SA its fangs
- Latest Mustang capable on road and track
- SA Shelby Mod Shop joins global chain
PRETORIA, South Africa – Limited production, a Le Mans-winning, seven-litre V8, and an 800km test of Goodyear’s latest performance tyres preceded the introduced the first Shelby Super Snake to the world.
That was back in 1967, when the Shelby Super Snake became the first Ford Mustang-based muscle cars that Shelby American has since built into a pantheon of loud, extreme, exclusive Mustangs.
It was on World Snake Day, July 16, 2020, that Ford Southern Africa chose to salute toCarroll Shelby’s first Super Snake and those that slithered forth since.
”Shelby’s determination to push the performance envelope and make a name for himself,” Ford SA told The Corner, ”has long provided Mustang owners with a higher footing when it comes to outright performance and looks.
LE MANS ‘DOMINATED’
”The Shelby Super Snake is one of the most well-known nameplates of them all, created more than a half-century ago but going from strength to strength.”
1967, The Corner was told, was a dominant period in Ford’s motorsport history thanks to the Ford GT40 which dominated Le Mans the previous year. Besides using the seven-litre V8, those venerable race cars also ran on Goodyear rubber to celebrate the launch of road tyres that precipitated the first Super Snake.
A little more history…
Shelby was commissioned to build a special GT500 powered by the same mighty seven-litre 427 engine instead of the Interceptor 428 unit under the bonnet of all other GT500 units. With more power going to the road, Shelby modified the Super Snake with larger front brakes, a Detroit Locker (an automatic locking diff for more grip), traction bars, and taller gear ratios to achieve a higher top speed.
40 YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS
In Carroll’s hands the car achieved a top speed of 273km/h, cementing it as the fastest car in its class. In Carroll’s own words, remembering that day “I told them that I wanted to build a vehicle that could blow the doors off of most anything on the planet.”
However, despite that car being one of the most definitive Mustangs of all time, the Super Snake moniker would be dormant for 40 years. It was woken in 2007 with the far more modern Mustang and the Super Snake name and unmistakable signature detailing now (2020) are not only today’s most iconic-looking Mustangs but also have a venomous bite.
Amy Boylan, president of Shelby Automobiles at the re-launch of the 40th Anniversary Edition Super Snake, said: “The name ‘Super Snake’ is legendary because the one Shelby built was the pinnacle of muscle cars in 1967.
“We’re bringing that concept forward 40 years for customers who own a Ford Shelby GT500. We’ll give their car amazing new capabilities.”
These capabilities continue to catch the eye of South African car enthusiasts who have a deep fascination for Ford’s muscle cars. When Ford SA announced it would bring the iconic Mustang in right-hand drive, Shelby SA immediately entered into discussions with Shelby American to give the brand a platform in sub-Saharan Africa.
The first five cars were presented to the South African motoring public in June 2016. Since then it’s been possible to upgrade the Mustang’s standard performance, handling, and cosmetics to those of a bona fide Shelby Super Snake.
READ MORE Ford features on Carman’s Corner
Atloli Lesela, brand manager for cars at Ford SA, explained: “The Mustang is already the world’s most popular sport car but there’s a niche group of customers who want to experience what Shelby has perfected through the years.
”Having Shelby American represented in South Africa keeps the Shelby nameplate alive for current and future generations of local Mustang fans, Based on the world-class Ford Mustang GT, the new supercharged Super Snake is equally capable on the road as on the track.”
Peter Lindenberg heads Shelby SA: ”The new Super Snake is an exercise in subtle detail and has many first-to-market products.”
Working with Ford Performance, Shelby American sharpened the handling of the independent suspension then upgraded the brakes with have callipers and discs. Under its bonnet the Super Snake combines Ford’s five-litre V8 with forced induction to deliver 500kW – or add a supercharger and things power up to more than 560kW!
The Super Snake can be further distinguished by its interior… Lindenberg says the Snake’s bonnet vents, designed to look like snake eyes, are among the stand-out visual characteristics, but the cabin can take floor mats, sill plates, and an enhanced instrument cluster,
LOOK OUT FOR A MOD SHOP
Switch back to the shell and you might add a front splitter, rear spoiler, rear panel, rear diffuser, striping and tinted windows.
The trademark Shelby experience and transformation runs through the Mod Shop, with South Africa’s Western Cape being one of the furthest and most remote places to join this limited number of Mod Shops worldwide.
“There are only seven Mod Shops outside of America,” adds Lindenberg. “Three in Canada, one each in Europe, Australia, China – and now South Africa. The Mod Shop is where the upgrades are done to customers’specification. Our technicians are trained at Shelby American and we only use Shelby components.”
Vince LaViolette, Shelby American vice-president for operations, chimed in: “The work of Carroll Shelby and his team in the 1960’s continues to influence everything we do today at Shelby American.
“While ‘iconic’ is overused, there’s no better way to describe Carroll’s achievement in creating the Super Snake.”