Within the automotive industry just like any other, there are a few big names you have to know. For the enthusiast, this would include individuals such as Enzo Ferrari, Donald Healey, Ferdinand Porsche, Steve McQueen, and the man we are currently concerned with, Carroll Shelby. Shelby is well respected for his legendary performances behind the wheel and success in the 1959 24 Hours of LeMans where he drove an Aston Martin DBR1 to victory. Shelby raced for both Aston Martin and Maserati but his racing career is not what the general public knows him for. When the Shelby name is mentioned, the first thing that pops into your head is usually the snarling Mustang or AC Cobra. Carroll Shelby helped engineer these massively successful sports cars that are still well recognized and loved to this day however, they were not truly his. Just about all of Shelby’s creations were brought forth by means of partnerships with Ford Motor Company, General Motors, and Dodge. There was one exception which is arguably regarded as the purest reflection of Carroll Shelby.
The Shelby Series 1 was the only car that Shelby created solely from his mind and brought into fruition. The design of the car is clearly focused on performance composed of a carbon fiber and fiberglass body, all aluminum frame, and bare minimum interior design. Only 249 examples were produced but not all completed by the factory. The Series 1 began its short production run in 1999 but it was interrupted as a result of the Venture Corporation acquiring Shelby American Inc. and then going bankrupt. In 2004, Shelby Automobiles Inc. purchased the assets to the Series 1 with the intention to continuing production of the car but Shelby quickly encountered a problem. Now being in the early 2000’s, the Series 1 would have to be re-certified to current safety standard at a cost that would not make the venture worth while. To get around this, all cars after this incident were sold as “component cars”, sold with no engine or transmission installed.
The example on offer is chassis number 5CXSA181XXL000018, indicating that this was the 18th example ever built. The significance of that being that it not only makes this an early car but also an example completed in full by the Shelby factory and not sold as a component car. This is a one owner example, having been lightly used traveling only 1,500 miles since new substantially elevating this car’s collectability to any enthusiast.
The exterior of this example is well preserved, the original silver paint showing as superb driver quality with any deep scratches, scuffs, or inconsistencies completely absent. The only note worthy flaw is some fading developing on the red racing stripes on the rear of the car but not worth correcting so that the originality can stay intact. The panel fitment and gaps are all within the appropriate clearances but it is to be noted that the horizontal door jam gap on either side is a bit larger than expected. This can be attributed to the nature that these cars were built, with the touch and go production resulted in a lower standard for build quality. The black soft top is also well preserved, free of any tears, fading, or other common flaws associated with an aged soft top. The headlamp lenses, windscreen, and mirror glass are all crisp and clear. All of the wheels are in immaculate condition having incurred no curb rash or damage whatsoever.
Pop open the door and the jams show without any quarrels to be had. The door panels are as they were from the factory, consistent with the remainder of the interior. The seats have been very lightly used, showing no signs of mistreatment, and boast Carroll Shelby’s iconic signature embroidered on each. One will quickly notice the simplicity of the design of the interior and the integration of GM components. Not only did Shelby have relationships with Ford but GM as well, hence the Oldsmobile Aurora V8 power plant. None of plastic panels have cracked or been flawed in anyway with all electronic components fully operational.
These cars do not come equipped with a trunk as they are very much focused on performance so we will go ahead and jump right to the engine bay. Open up the carbon fiber bonnet and thus reveals the tuned Aurora DOHC 32 Valve V8 engine, putting out a snappy 320bhp. Even in the engine bay we see lightweight materials used down to the air intake to make this car as light as possible. The engine itself sits completely behind to the front axle in order to achieve a near perfect weight distribution between the front and rear of the car. The exposed aluminum frame, engine ancillaries, and components are all as they were from the factory making the engine bay clean and correct. Moving to the underside, it shows in line with the rest of the car maintaining factory markings and showing no signs of incurring any damage.
Mechanically, all items pose as completely functional with no known repairs to report. A turn of the key and the engine fires instantly, letting out an addictive bark from the complete Borla exhaust system. Once in gear, the Shelby Series 1 effortlessly hums along with the very responsive Aurora V8 at your disposal. The manual 6-speed gear box has a throw that takes some getting used to but smoothly shifts in and out of gear without issue. The clutch is like new and the brakes have plenty of bite to control your speed and get aggressive in the corners. The double wishbone and push rod suspension design makes this car achieve an element of nimbleness, always making use of the power being sent to the rear wheels.
The engine produces proper oil pressure as well as holds a steady operating temperature at idle and during hard use. The cabin can get a bit noisy at higher speeds which can be attributed to the unconventional nature in which this car came about in comparison to a sports car that was mass produced. All in all, this example drives like new with no question marks remaining.
The Shelby Series 1 is arguably the most accurate depiction of what Carroll Shelby thought to be a proper sports car. As a result of his unfortunate passing, cars that have had the influence of Shelby have become much more collectible and given that the Shelby Series 1 was built by Mr. Shelby from the ground up, makes this example lucrative property to own. With 249 examples produced, the low miles, 1 owner status, and superb original condition equates to this car being much more desirable than other examples. This is great opportunity to own a unique piece of Shelby history as well as to own a potent roadster with an exhaust note that will put a smile on any car guy’s face.
Available Documentation: (Please click on the links below to view the file)