Although we've had a quite a bit of Shelby news lately, this story was too hard to ignore. Recently, Ford Motor Company announced it would be auctioning off a very special Shelby GT500 durability prototype at this year's Barrett-Jackson's Westworld auction in Scottsdale Arizona.
The car in question was originally built back in 2007 as an engineering mule (one of the earliest GT500s we might add with updated 2010 model year styling). The car was then updated to 2013 specs and flogged around Sebring International Raceway at speeds of some 150 mph for 24 hours to ensure that all systems on the vehicle could withstand such severe conditions, should customers who purchase one of the production spec 650 hp, 200 mph capable monsters choose to perform similar antics.
The durability prototype sports a full roll cage, special Recaro racing seats (the production model will be offered with SVT designed Recaros), six-point harnesses for the driver and front passenger, evidence of mounting points for testing equipment inside the cabin, plus signatures from every engineer who worked on the 2013 GT500 development program on the underside of the trunk lid.
Prior to the auction, Carroll Shelby, who personally drove this car at Sebring, declared that "it was exciting to be back to collaborate on this GT500 durability car with the SVT guys. I'm really proud to have my name on this car. They took my dreams of what at a car should be and made it a reality."
The durability prototype, assigned the lot number 3043, proved to be the highlight of Barrett-Jackson's Mustang sale on Saturday January 21. As it rolled onto the stage, Ford's President of the America's Mark Fields and Ford Global Performance chief Jost Capito talked about the car's history, while the vehicle was surrounded by children from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the recipient of proceeds from this particular sale.
Bidding started off fairly strong for the one-off Shelby prototype but then fizzled at $150,000. However, this being Barrett-Jackson, things weren't quite done yet and momentum soon gathered, the car eventually going under the gavel for $300,000.
The winning bid was by Scottsdale, AZ collector Ron Pratte, a man who's been buying up a number of Shelbys at auction in recent years. And while this one can never be driven on the street, unlike so many engineering mules that are usually written-off or scrapped, it will at least be preserved for posterity.