If recent models are any indication, Carroll Shelby's 45-year-old performance tuning division is as strong as ever. But recent company downsizing may signal a shift in the company business from building cars to selling parts.
The Dallas Morning News reports the 87-year-old Texas native intends to shift his business model following the launch of the 2011 Shelby Mustang GT350. Unlike the factory-built Ford Shelby GT500, which we recently sampled, the GT350 is an aftermarket-tuned Mustang. The process of turning a stock Mustang into a full-blown Shelby can cost nearly $70,000 -- a cost that is difficult to shoulder.
"It's hard to make any money on a car," Shelby said. "But our parts business is growing 15 to 20 percent a year."
Shelby plans to build around 500 GT350s per year for the next three years, a far cry from the 6000-odd examples of the 2007-08 Shelby Mustang GT.
"I've told him, 'Shel, you need to put your feet up and take it easy,' and he doesn't argue much," said Bill Neale, Shelby's best friend and a Dallas artist.
But John Luft, president of Shelby American and Shelby Licensing, believes Shelby isn't quite ready to rest on his laurels.
"You've heard him say for many years that his favorite car is the one he will build next," Luft said. "That still lives within him."
Source: The Dallas Morning News