Back in 2004 at the Pebble Beach Concours, a styling model of the Ford Shelby GR-1 was revealed as a spiritual successor to the legendary 1960s Shelby Daytona Coupe. Then, in early 2005, the fully working concept was shown on the Ford stand at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, a follow-up to the previous year’s Ford Shelby Cobra Concept. The GR-1 used a Ford 6.4-liter all-aluminium V10 said to put out 605bhp, and a six-speed transmission, but it got no further than show stands because Ford was concentrating on the then-new GT. But now it seems that Superformance, the company behind those top-quality Daytona Coupe, GT40 and Cobra recreations, has been working with Ford on finally bringing the GR-1 to production, and this time it will be even faster than the four second 0-60mph time and 190mph top speed claimed for the concept.
“We’re shooting for a two-second Shelby,” CEO Lance Stander has told . “It’s been a project I’ve been working on with Ford for about six years. We originally said we want to do the GR-1, and we spoke to everyone at Ford and they said it’s never going to happen. Just forget about it. We could have done a replica, we could have done a kit car, but that was never good enough for us. We had to get licensed by the original manufacturer, and it had to have all credibility. So I just kept plodding along and eventually the stars aligned, the right people at Ford got to hear about it and… a couple of guys who really wanted to see it happen at Ford Design in Europe, and the next thing I know is Ford Licensing is contacting me.”
Superformance says it wants to build 200 aluminum special-edition GR-1s before a run of carbon fiber models, and there’s also talk of an EV version. The first cars won’t be available for another two years at least, and we don’t know yet whether Superperformance will be able to use the Shelby GR-1 name. You might think it unlikely, until you hear that Stander first made the announcement about the GR-1 at the Petersen Automotive Museum Shelby gathering, accompanied by Shelby American vice president Vince Laviolette. Stander said his company will add replicas of the GR-1 to its line-up with Shelby’s full blessing. Seems like they’re serious!