Owned by Patrick from Tilsonburg, ON.
The Making of a 2015 Shelby GT
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Mustang, the Ford Motor Company launched a new generation of the car known as the S550 platform. Besides the styling changes it would also be the first year of using independent rear suspension.
To commemorate the event, they produced 1964 special order anniversary cars available in either Wimbleton White or Blue but only available from SVT dealerships that apparently received one car each. Obviously those dealerships had their best customers that were given the chance to buy those cars.
To augment those specially and rare cars, Ford offered an anniversary package that you could order on a GT version.
They also discontinued the Shelby GT 500 that year and instead only produced the GT 350 with the flat plane crank Voodoo engine, building just 137 of them, 37 of which were the “R” racing version.
I realized that I was not going to get one of those cars, nor did I want to be limited to a colour. So I decided to order a GT from my local dealer and have it shipped to Shelby American in Las Vegas to be converted into a Shelby GT.
Shelby American had on their web site a selection of options that you could build the car and have specific parts painted to your own specifications and the site was active just as you would build and see a vehicle on the Ford web site.
Already having two yellow Mustangs (my very first car, a 70’ Mach 1 and a 94’ aftermarket Python ) and just seeing my car built in the colour and accent combinations I chose, it was no brainer for me to add a third yellow car to the stable.
I ordered the car in February and it arrived in Las Vegas by train from the Fat Rock, MI. plant on April 29th that year.
I had the option of having it made into a Super Snake once it arrived there, but Super Snakes were being built each year and I wanted my car to be a Shelby GT to be a replacement for what the FMC were not building that model year. I also didn’t think I needed another 100 HP over the 638 RWHP my Shelby GT as projected. Nor did I feel like I wanted to pay another $10,000 over the already $47,000 USD I was shelling out for the conversion, over the $56,000 CDN I paid my dealership for the base GT.
The weeks went by and there were delays I was told were because the new build did not have all the emissions approval for the state of California. I think the suspension created some challenges with the fitting of the Wildwood six and four piston brake package that I had chosen, as I wanted to be able to stop fast if I needed it!
Nonetheless Shelby agreed to start the conversion after I offered to send another $10,000 over the initial deposit.
About July 1st, I received word from my Shelby sales rep that the Ford Supercharger they had installed on the car would not “load up” with the automatic transmission that I had ordered (so my wife could also drive the car) and they advised that they would be providing a 2.9 L Whipple supercharger in lieu of and that would give me the option of reducing the pulley size in the future, adding another 100 HP if I chose, at very little cost.
They continued to send updated weekly photos and I could see the transformation from the GT, to something that looked like a car in a body shop with all my old (new) GT parts laying on the ground, finally the finished build.
When I finally visited Shelby for a private shop tour in September 2018, (conducted by their president Gary Patterson) , I learned that they have a parts reseller come and take away all the unused parts, as they simply did not have the storage for all those parts and they needed to focus on the building of cars.
Finally, because I was going away to France that summer, they finally got the car finished up in early August and I was able to arrange to get a car carrier to pick it up.It was taken to Chicago and loaded onto a smaller enclosed trailer and we met the car in Pt. Huron on August 15th and transferred it in our trailer.
The customs people at the border were aghast and almost had me unload it so they could see it better. They were especially surprised at this new car from the US had my personal plates already on it along with an Ontario ownership! I had arranged all that through my dealership and all I had to do at the border was to pay the HST on the Shelby upgrade amount.
Because they rushed the car out of their shop they did not have time to Dyno it before shipping but they sent me the type test from another automatic they had done at 652 RWHP and the engine was close to 725 HP.
I had the car dyno tested at Shawn Hyland Motorsports in Woodstock (a former Shelby build shop) later that fall at 596 RWHP and they said that had they started with a cold engine test, that likely it would have measured close to what Shelby had sent me.
Nonetheless, the car has to driven carefully as the Michelins they installed on it break loose so easy and I have too much respect for those tires. There is a distinctive whine the Whipple puts out at normal driving and then when you stand on it. I have wound it up a few times, but stopped at 200 KPH as I value my driver’s licence too much!
Because of the modifications made to the engine, the FMC is void and the engine warranty is five years 60,000 miles with Whipple.
My warranty is ending this summer but I have only have 12,000 KMs on the car and that was after having it in Florida for two winters, having it shipped down and back.
Whether I am “whining” around The Villages, Fl. or locally around Tillsonburg the car turns a lot of heads and the Borla exhaust makes my presence known before I get down the street!
It did take quite a bit of effort to finally get a word from Shelby as to the uniqueness of my yellow automatic with serial no. 15SGT0015.
Shelby American has several build shops around the world, Las Vegas, Edmonton, now Newcastle (outside Windsor), China, England and Saudi Arabia, but because the S550 build was a new car and an experimental build in some respects. The person in charge of the Registry at Shelby (Steven Thornton) advised me that they had built just 16 cars in the 2015 model year, only one yellow automatic and I was their only Canadian customer that year.
I have the car insured by Chubb through Zehr at a replacement cost of $125,000.