LOS ANGELES - February 6, 2009 - Shelby Automobiles, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc. (CSBI.PK) has returned to drag racing with a limited edition Prudhomme Edition Super Snake package for the Shelby GT500 Mustang. Carroll Shelby and Don "The Snake" Prudhomme unveiled the program during a private reception at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, Calif. The drag racing inspired 800 horsepower post title package was a collaboration between Shelby Autos and Don Prudhomme, who successfully drove a top fuel car for Carroll Shelby in the 1968 NHRA season.
Each year, the Automobile Club of Southern California holds a dinner to support the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum on the first night of the Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals. In honor of the fortieth anniversary of the first race that Mr. Prudhomme drove for Carroll Shelby, the Shelby Autos team unveiled the new drag racing package that they developed together over the past year.
"Don is an exceptional drag racer and I'm proud that he drove my first Top Fuel car in 1968," noted Carroll Shelby. "By leveraging Don's experience, we turned a really good car into a great drag racer that will beat up on the MOPAR and bow tie brigade right out of the box."
The program is a post-title package for 2007-2010 Ford Shelby GT500 cars already in the hands of owners. To create the Prudhomme Edition Super Snake, Shelby Autos pumps up the 5.4L supercharged engine to produce 800 hp on race fuel or 750 hp on 93 octane pump gas. The Shelby includes a Kenne Belle modified air intake sticking out of the hood in the tilt front end, a five-point Impact safety harness and a Borla side exhaust system. A front and rear adjustable BMR racing suspension and drag tires are included to improve traction during launches; optional street tires are available. For a more aggressive stance and improved aerodynamics, side lower rockers are incorporated. Only 100 total packages at $100,000 (not including car) will be offered.
"Working with Don on this project was a great experience for our design team," noted Amy Boylan, president of Shelby Automobiles. "Carroll and Don earned their stripes in competition over the years, so we had to build a car that would continue their racing domination. Our Prudhomme Edition GT500 Super Snake builds on that legacy and gives Shelby enthusiasts today a way to rule the quarter mile in their town."
By the mid-1960s, Carroll Shelby and Don Prudhomme were both at the top of their respective games. Prudhomme was one of the winningest Top Fuel drag racers in the country. Shelby was a racer-turned-builder of Cobras, GT40s and Mustangs who won endurance and road racing championships worldwide. His company even offered drag racing packages for privateers to compete in their Cobra or Shelby Mustang on the strip.
"The Snake" and the Cobra's creator teamed in 1968 for an NHRA ride. Prudhomme's Ford Cammer-powered rail made its debut as "Shelby's Super Snake at the 1968 Winternationals. He won the race and drove the rest of the season under the Shelby banner.
Don "The Snake" Prudhomme's successful racing career included winning the NHRA funny car championship four times. He was the first funny car driver to exceed 250 mph. In 1994, he began managing his own racing team, which won the Top Fuel championship in 2002 and 2003. Prudhomme was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1991 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2000.
"It's been a great opportunity to work with Carroll and the Shelby Autos team on this amazing program," added Prudhomme. "I'm honored that Carroll gave me this honor to build a car that's true to his legacy and my efforts to move them across the finish line first. The car can be tuned to deliver over 800 horsepower on race gas, which should pretty fast. It's a well sorted out package that is capable of dusting the competition in the Shelby way."
The Prudhomme Edition Shelby GT500 Super Snake is intended to be truly a road and track car.
"The thing I really think is cool about this car is that you can drive it both on the track and on the street," added Prudhomme. "It reminds me of how drag racing used to be back in the day when we would drive our cars to the drag strip, race them, and drive them home at the end of the day. That's maybe the neatest thing about this car."