The 1999 Shelby Series 1 is the only vehicle designed and built from the ground up by Carroll Shelby and his company, Shelby American. Designed as a cutting-edge descendant of the legendary Cobra, it combined state-of-the-art carbon-fiber construction, a bespoke race-grade suspension, and a thoroughly modern Oldsmobile 4.0 liter 32-valve V8 engine. The result was a car that could blast from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and run a 12-second quarter mile on the way to a top speed of 170 MPH. They are simply stunning pieces of machinery, with spectacular finish quality and highly polished mechanicals, creating what might have been the ultimate American supercar.
CSX5004 is one of the first production Shelby Series 1 automobiles actually produced. this car, which shows just 440 miles on the clock, is in virtually new condition in every measurable way and is the one to own if an investment-grade Shelby is on your wish list. The custom-built bodywork was designed to evoke the muscular 2-seater curves of the original Cobra, but still have its own look. From the aerodynamic nose and covered headlights which are vaguely Ferrari-esque, to the gaping (and fully functional) heat extractor on the hood, to the sculpted gills on the sides, to the faired-in wing out back, the car has predator written all over it. And it’s all completely functional with nothing done for mere style, just as Shelby himself has always intended. With so few miles, this car is completely unmarked, and even areas like the nose and rockers show zero evidence of road rash. Panel fit is exemplary, as you would expect from a hand-crafted work of art, and the paint finish is deep and lustrous. The stripes you so often see on these cars were optional, and I think you’ll find that the lack of stripes lets the car’s shape speak for itself instead of trying to emulate its older brother. In short, this car speaks for itself, and the result attracts a crowd every time you stop.
Power comes from a highly tuned Oldsmobile 4.0 liter V8 which was specially chosen for this project due to its cutting-edge technology and high power-to-weight ratio. Making 320 horsepower and 290 pounds of torque in this application, the silky-smooth powerplant definitely isn’t from your father’s Oldsmobile unless your father was America’s most famous road racer. Set well back in the chassis and draped in a real carbon-fiber shroud, it’s a long way from the honking 427 Ford that lived under the hood of the older cars, and delivers its performance in a much more sophisticated way. Where the original Cobra might have been a hammer in search of Ferrari-shaped nails, this car delivers its electrifying performance with great sophistication, a smooth surge of endless torque, and the most melodious exhaust note this side of an Aston-Martin. The engine bay is race grade throughout, from the fully exposed pushrod suspension to the silicone hoses, there’s very little evidence that this was a production-line vehicle. A few well-chosen OEM components ensure reliability, including the power steering, A/C system, and brakes, and thanks to a powerful cooling system, it stays cool on the track or in the desert. You’ll also dig things like the fabricated aluminum overflow tank, the lovely TIG welds along the firewall, and the awesome Shelby snake eye logo embossed on the underside of the hood’s support structure. And it’s all in perfect, unused condition, with everything fully functional.
Like the Corvette, the engine spins a torque tube connected to a slick-shifting 6-speed ZF transaxle specially modified for the Series 1. The chassis is made of extruded and formed 6061 aluminum that was welded together and then post-heat-treated for maximum strength. Like a car destined for LeMans, aluminum honeycomb panels were bonded into the floor boards and rocker panels for added structure and stiffness. The suspension, as I mentioned, is a highly sophisticated race-quality setup that uses pushrods to mount the coil-over shocks inboard to reduce unsprung weight. The chassis is a lovely hand-fabricated tube frame that could pass for modern art if left naked, and is a model of efficient packaging. Out back, an independent suspension carries more race-quality parts, including more coil-over shocks. The massive brakes have been borrowed from the C5 Corvette, and in a car that is some 700 pounds lighter than a ‘Vette, performance is extraordinary. Custom 3-piece Shelby wheels are not only light, but incredibly strong with forged centers and spun aluminum rim halves that allow custom fitment in 18x10 and 18x12 sizes. And even Goodyear was getting in on the act, creating a special run of custom 18-inch tires for the Series 1, measuring 265/40/18 up front and a positively massive 315/40/18 out back.
Where the hardware is race-grade throughout and uses custom fabrication techniques that are destined for the track, the interior is pure luxury, fully in tune with our expectations in the 21st century. Deep leather buckets are supportive and custom made for this application, featuring Carroll Shelby’s signature embossed in the backs. You’ll note that they have provisions for a 5-point harness system, which would not be out of place in the Series 1. The custom dash uses a mixture of custom and off-the-shelf GM components that ensure reliability without compromising style and performance. That means powerful HVAC that will chill you in the middle of the desert, and a stereo that delivers big sound thanks to speakers scattered throughout the passenger compartment. Of course, there’s the requisite Shelby badge on the dash, as well as the serial number and another signature, and the floors are covered with embroidered floor mats. There is no trunk, with the rear area being filled with a fuel cell set within the wheelbase for ideal weight distribution, but there is a snug black canvas convertible top that folds easily into a well behind the seats, where it’s hidden by a hard cover.
Building a custom, hand-built automobile that meets all of today’s emissions and safety standards is no easy task, and that’s why the Series 1 is so special. Uncompromising in its quality and dedication to performance, this car’s only real rival might be a Ferrari. Exclusive, fast, and beautifully built, this CSX5004 is investment-grade throughout, and an absolute blast to drive.