Home Careers Classic Muscle Cars That Made Carroll Shelby A Legend

Classic Muscle Cars That Made Carroll Shelby A Legend

Vukasin Herbez May 18, 2023

Photo Credit: Shelby American

Dodge Viper RT/10

The original Viper in the early ’90s showed what happens when talented individuals with clear goals want to make the perfect car. Chrysler enjoyed solid sales and wanted a model to celebrate their success. They also wanted a car to connect them with their muscle car roots from the ’60s and ’70s. But they wanted a car with more power, refinement, and performance to show that a light but powerful roadster was still attractive. Thanks to their influence, the team soon gathered over 80 engineers and designers, officially starting Project Viper. In 1989, they revealed the Dodge Viper concept at the Detroit Motor Show. Automotive fans went crazy over the aggressive but elegant lines with a prototype V10 engine.

Photo Credit: Mecum

The public’s reaction was so overwhelming that Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca rushed the car into production. They wanted it to be ready for its 1992 release and pace car duty at the legendary Indianapolis 500. Under the hood was an 8.0-liter fully aluminum V10 with 400 HP and 465 lb.-ft of torque. The performance secured the Viper’s place as one of the most powerful new models on the market. With a price of just over $50,000 and 0 to 60 mph times of 4.6 seconds, the Viper beat those European exotic machines.

Photo Credit: Shelby American

Shelby Series 1

After the success of the Viper, Carroll decided to return to the sports car manufacturing business, but with a new project. His idea was to introduce a retro-styled car. It would be a power roadster with sharper handling, more direct driving dynamics, and a modern drivetrain. The idea materialized in the form of the Shelby Series 1. It was a world-class sports convertible and the only vehicle Shelby ever built from the ground up.

Photo Credit: Shelby American

Its low silhouette and design went back to the mid-’60s. However, everything was new under the body, including the Oldsmobile 4.0-liter V8 engine delivering 320 HP. Since the car was light, the performance was impressive. Accelerating from 0 to 60 mph took approximately four seconds. And that was fantastic for the late ’90s. Unfortunately, U.S. regulations regarding car manufacturing forbade Shelby from producing the Series 1 as a regular model. They only allowed him to build it as a kit car, which he refused. Due to limited availability and high price, they only made about 250 until 2005.

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