Shelby South Africa has muscle and heart

Carroll Shelby, a humble chicken farmer from America designed and built a car for the Ford Motor Company in 1965 that won the iconic 24 hours of Le Mans in 1966 beating the darlings of the automotive motorsport world at the time, Ferrari.

Since that iconic victory, Shelby has become synonymous with Ford and making their cars faster, so much so that Shelby has become a world-renowned name and now it is here in South Africa.

Peter Lindenberg, a renowned sportsman with almost four decades of motorsport experience brought the Shelby name into South Africa in 2015 and has since then been met with open arms by fans of the brand. Shelby South Africa takes a standard Ford Mustang and adds Shelby developed performance-enhancing parts to the car which can increase performance to well over 500 kW. On top of this early explosion into the motor industry, Shelby SA was also given the rights to 5 of Shelby American’s Terlingua upgrades, which is the most track-capable upgrade that Shelby American has on offer. Four of these five have been sold already to passionate South African collectors.

Shelby South Africa does not just deal in new cars. They have also secured the South African distribution rights for the Cobra, Daytona and Ford GT40. I recently got to experience the latter at a special event which was hosted by Shelby South Africa at Zwartkops raceway. The GT40 was built following the original manufacturing processes as those built by Carroll Shelby in the 1960s. It features a naturally aspirated V8 engine behind the driver and a very compact passenger compartment. The car makes a glorious noise and it handles rather well. It is quite an experience, the cabin gets hot and makes all sorts of strange noises while there is a constant fight between the driver and the machine.

Another highlight is the new Ford vs Ferrari movie that launching in the cinemas soon, which portrays the story of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles and how they developed the Ford GT40 to beat Ferrari during the 1966 race of 24 Hours of Le Mans. The movie also features three Ford GT40 vehicles that were built right here in South Africa by a company in Port Elizabeth. The cars are not replicas but rather continuations of the originals. Additionally, Shelby SA and Hi-Tech Auto partnered up to build an exact copy or rather, twin sister car, to the hero car in the movie.

Matt Damon who plays Carroll Shelby in the movie, James Mangold the director and Aaron Shelby who is Carroll’s grandson signed the dashboard and once the car has been completed it will be auctioned off and the money will go into a bursary fund to give financial aid to young people who want to get into the automotive engineering business. The movie will be out in cinemas from the 22nd of November 2019.


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