As a tribute to General Motors’ Northstar V-8, we’ve been playing “Name that Northstar” all week long. Should you actually want to own a Northstar, however, you may want to consider our Potential Purchase of the Week: a 1999 Shelby Series 1.
Er, make that two Shelby Series 1s. We’ve found two examples of the roadster up for grabs, one on eBay, and one on the docket for Barrett-Jackson’s Orange County event next weekend.
Considering how many Series 1s were completed, it’s hard to find one for sale, let alone two cars up for grabs at the same time. Shelby had planned to build 500 examples, but a number of issues ended up halting production far short of that goal. Only 249 Series 1s were produced, although some legal maneuverings in bankruptcy court allowed Shelby American to produce continuation cars in 2005.
At the heart of the Series 1 is the 4.0-liter, DOHC Aurora V-8 sourced from Oldsmobile. As we’ve noted in some of our earlier coverage, the Aurora V-8 was essentially a de-stroked version of Cadillac’s 4.6-liter Northstar. In Shelby guise, the eight-cylinder was coaxed to throw down 320 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. Although that seems low, the car’s lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber construction kept its curb weight down to 2650 pounds, and allowed the car to sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
Channeling that power to the ground was a six-speed rear-mounted transaxle (sourced from the C5 Corvette). Shoving the transmission to the rear of the car allowed Shelby to achieve a perfect 50/50 front/rear weight distribution, and a lightweight single plate clutch ensured the engine responded promptly to your right foot’s desires.
Both Series 1s up for grab sale were built in 1999 and carry the according 17-digit “CSX” Shelby VIN codes. The cars originally sold for about $175,000 when brand-new. Only time will tell if a lucky buyer is able to snag one for considerably less (or, perhaps, more) than the original MSRP.