The prototype 2008 Ford Shelby GT convertible, the first retail Mustang-based convertible built by Shelby since 1970, will be auctioned January 19 at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction, with all proceeds benefiting the Carroll Shelby Foundation.
Like the previous-model-year Shelby GT coupes, the first convertible started as a specially equipped Mustang GT, and then was shipped to Shelby Automobiles in Las Vegas to be fitted with such enhancements as a Ford Racing Power Upgrade Package that boosted horsepower and torque, a Hurst short-throw shifter for the manual transmission, sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch tires and an aerodynamics package, as well as special badging and color scheme.
The result was a new generation of Shelby-prepped Mustangs that carried on the heritage of performance. Only 2,214 of the 2008 Shelby GT coupes and convertibles were built.
This blue-with-silver-stripes Shelby was the official press car, used by the automotive media for road testing and photography, and driven by Carroll Shelby at its introduction.
“This is a historically important car because it represents a return of the Shelby ‘small block’ convertible to Ford dealerships, as well as the final year of the pre-title manufacturing agreement between Ford Motor Company and Shelby for the Shelby GT program,” Neil Cummings, co-chief executive of Carroll Shelby International, chief executive of Carroll Shelby Licensing and co-president of the Carroll Shelby Foundation, said in a news release.
“The winning bidder will own a car personally cherished by Carroll Shelby, as well as having the satisfaction of contributing to the charity that Carroll so loved,” Cummings added.
The Shelby GT convertible will be driven onto Barrett-Jackson’s auction block by Aaron Shelby, co-president of the Carroll Shelby Foundation, a decade after his famed grandfather piloted the car.
“The Carroll Shelby Foundation has been helping kids with the race for life since 1991,” Aaron Shelby said in the news release. “We’re selling the Shelby GT prototype driven by my grandfather to help raise money for the charity that he loved.
“Those funds will give financial support to children and the medical professionals who help them overcome life-threatening health issues. Some of the money will also promote continuing educational development through initiatives like the Carroll Shelby Automotive Technology Program.”
Also during the Barrett-Jackson auction, Shelby Automotive along with Superformance will unveil a special series of limited-production Shelby Cobra roadsters and Daytona coupes that honor racing great Bob Bondurant, who had such success competing in Cobras and Daytonas during the 1960s.
Bondurant, a Scottsdale resident, operates the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, Arizona, just south of Phoenix.
Superformance, under the name Shelby Legendary Cars, will produce the continuation Cobras and tribute Daytonas that replicate those legendary performance sports cars, each with special badging honoring Bondurant.
Bondurant helped Shelby Cobras make their mark in the racing world as a Shelby American team driver in 1963, then in 1964 partnered with Dan Gurney to win the GT class in a Daytona at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, beating arch-rival Ferrari. In 1965, Bondurant won seven out of 10 FIA World Championships in a Daytona, securing the FIA GT championship for Ford and Shelby.
The 47th Barrett-Jackson collector car auction takes place January 13-21 at WestWorld in Scottsdale, Arizona. For information, visit the auction website.