If you think the new Shelby 1000 is simply a boosted 1000-horse Super Snake, think again. While this understated Mustang, unveiled at the New York Auto Show in April, does begin life as a 2011/2012 Super Snake, this post-title Shelby has been totally reengineered to handle the supercharged 5.4-liter V-8's claimed 1000 bhp at 6450 rpm and 750 lb.-ft. of torque at 4500 rpm.
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Shelby himself is responsible for the 1000, and he's says he's been much more involved with the development of this tractable 200-mph Mustang than with his company's other recent creations. "When we had Carroll in Vegas to drive the 800-horse version of the Super Snake," explains Shelby's Gary Patterson, "we all expected to get a bunch of accolades and `attaboys' after he finished driving the car. But even before the car had stopped rolling, Carroll was asking us when we'd have a 1000-horse Mustang."
That time is now. Gary Davis, Shelby's vice president of manufacturing and R&D, says the prototype show car seen here is 95 percent complete, although the production 1000 will have some slight interior modifications and wear unique 3-piece wheels shod with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires, possibly as wide as 335s in back (the wheels on the car right now are the GT500's stock Pirellis).
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Production Mustangs aren't designed to handle 1000 bhp, so Shelby goes to great lengths to strengthen the unibody S197 chassis, beginning with special subframe connectors that run the length of the wheelbase and tie the chassis together front to rear, side to side and to the body in the rocker area. Also, a new tubular chrome-moly front subframe is stronger and lighter than stock, and its rear attachment points on the frame rails just aft of the front wheels—a notorious buckling spot for high-horsepower Mustang drag cars—are strengthened via welded-in plates. This subframe allows the supercharged aluminum-block V-8 to be moved back a bit and down 0.75 in. to help this Mustang turn, and the strengthened transmission tunnel now features an integral loop designed to prevent the 1000 from pole vaulting should its massive aluminum driveshaft ever break.
In back, all the attachment points for the 1000's rear control arms have been made stronger, and the entire rear-axle assembly has been replaced by a beefy unit from Currie that has a 9-in. ring gear, sturdy 35-spline axles and bigger 5/8-in. drive studs, the last deemed necessary when early tests showed the 1000 was bending its standard wheel lugs. The axle is also controlled by a billet Watt link that eliminates rear steer tendencies associated with wheel travel. The suspension is a coilover Eibach R2 setup, with camber plates and adjustable dampers tuned to help the 1000 get off the line with authority but still remain controlled on a road course.
The 1000's 5.4-liter V-8 employs Ford's aluminum block, line-bored and fitted with 4-valve heads ported for 35 percent better flow. Although the valves are stock, higher tension valve springs, titanium retainers and a proprietary cam grind help make more power. In the prototype 1000 here, a liquid-cooled belt-driven Kenne Bell 3.6-liter blower is on duty, providing 19 psi of max boost to this engine, which has raised compression (8.7:1 versus 8.4:1) and an rpm limit that has been raised from 6150 rpm to 6450. The intercooled supercharger makes usable power throughout the rev range, with a stout 850 bhp on tap at only 4900 rpm.
The forged crank comes from Ford Motorsport, and the forged moly-coated pistons have ceramic crowns that provide the heat protection needed to reliably make such massive power. And speaking of power, Patterson says the 1000, in its current tune, produces about 800 bhp at the rear wheels, which equates to around 920 at the crank. While that's not a true 1000 bhp, the Shelby does have a stock exhaust manifold and catalytic converters. A non-street-legal package for drag racers and road racers, with a 4.0-liter Whipple blower, long-tube headers and no cats, produces around 960 bhp at the rear wheels, or about 1100 bhp at the crank.
While we wish the 49-state Shelby with cats had a genuine 1000 bhp at the crank, we'll cut Shelby some slack. Patterson also adds that development continues on the powertrain, and a true street-legal 1000 bhp isn't out of the question before the New York show debut.
When I drove the 1000 on the road course adjacent to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it could spin its rear wheels in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears, accompanied by just enough blower whine to tell you something special is going on beneath that raised hood. While the Shelby folks are still fine-tuning the low-speed driveability of the car, the 1000 felt great at speed on the course, even though I wished the stiff action of its short-shift kit was as light and easy as that of the twin-disc clutch.
Although the 6-piston 14.0-in. Wilwood front brakes are up to the task, you frequently enter corners with much more speed than expected. If you go in way too hot, the car will push, but for the most part, the 1000, aided by its better balance and 2.5 degrees of negative front camber, turns in especially well, which will get even better with the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires. With AdvanceTrac (tailored to the car by Shelby) off, the exit slip angle is largely (and entertainingly) determined by your right foot. Sport mode is a good compromise for enthusiastic beginners, as it allows a fair amount of drifting without intervening. Yes, the 1000 has a heavy feel, but the massive power makes for a superbly entertaining car, and the standard launch control holds the revs at 4500 rpm before the driver sidesteps the clutch and gets a wild computer-managed ride.
When the 1000 was conceived, Shelby wanted an easily driveable street-legal Mustang that would go 200 mph, without major visual modifications. That car has been built. At $149,995 ( the cost of a GT500), the 1000 is by no means cheap, but it's a substantive, expensive build, and the Shelby folks will tailor the suspension, tires and alignment for road racing, drag racing or street use. Although Shelby has talked about driving the 1000 in a standing mile and hitting the magic 200, he says macular degeneration has made his vision so bad that it would be "stupid" to now give it a try.
So here's an idea ol' Shel might like—let us drive it to that speed. We can't think of a more fitting way to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Shelby American. More 50 Years of Shelby - Road Test: 1962 Shelby CSX2000 >>