Shelby American to unveil 950 and 1100 horsepower Mustangs at New York International Auto Show next week.

The Shelby 1000 is the most powerful Shelby Mustang ever, comes 50 years after original Cobra launch at NYIAS.

By now you know that the 2013 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 will deliver 650 horsepower courtesy of a specially designed and purpose built 5.8-liter supercharged V-8 engine. That’s right, 650 horse, and a 200mph top speed, right off the showroom floor, straight from Ford, backed by a factory warranty.

But that’s not enough for 89 year old Carroll Shelby. During the many lunches he and I have shared over the last year or two, he talked non-stop about his “1000 horsepower Mustang. I know we can do it, and we’re close. I want this to be the fastest car we’ve ever built, and it’s got to be street legal and idle like a Lincoln.” The development work and testing are done, and the result is called the Shelby 1000. In fact there are two of them. The first is the “street” version, cranking out 950 horsepower, smog legal in all 50 states. Lest you think that the big number is only the result of cranking the boost up on a 750 horsepower GT500 SuperSnake – no.

The factory 5.4-liter engine is stripped to the block and given some serious machine work in anticipation of a new crank, rods and pistons. The heads also get a flow job, and the whole deal is topped by a new supercharger. The other baddest of all Shelbys is called the 1000 S/C, and it’s built primarily as a track rat. The much warmed over 5.4-liter four-cam V-8 in this one is good for 1100 horses.

Some Shelby American-built or modified Mustang have been criticized for wearing too many badges, too much Shelby ID, or other styling gingerbread. Not so the 1000; The front fascia gets a makeover, and the wheelwells are stuffed with Forged alloy Shelby 1000 20-inch wheels exclusive to this model, plus massive brakes more up to corralling the big motor. The Shelby identification is present of course, but it’s relatively subtle. The car looks the business, no doubt, but is absolutely classy in doing so.

Naturally the fuel and exhaust systems get a major makeover, as does the suspension and interior. Ancillary gauges are mounted in a unique instrument cluster on the driver’s side A-pillar.
Why isn’t 650 horsepower good enough? The “mainstream” GT500 is primarily engineered by Ford’s Special Vehicle Team and built on the mainstream Mustang production line. Were it not for Shelby’s licensing deal with Ford for the use of the GT500 name, its likely that car would still be sold as the SVT Mustang Cobra, as it was prior to 2007. Carroll Shelby wanted his ultimate Mustang to be developed, engineered and built by himself and his team of designers, hot rodders, and speed freaks at the Shelby American facility in Las Vegas. Which the Shelby 1000 is. Price announcements and delivery dates are pending. –


Fabulous Delage set the tenor for the entire event

It was my recent good fortunte to serve as an emcee for the Rancho Mirage Desert Classic concours, and in case you weren’t there, here’s a copy of the official press release along with some great photos by my pal Kirk Gerbracht. If you plan to be in or around SoCal next February, put this one your calendar. Its a really high quality regional show put on by real car people at a spectacular resort near Palm Springs and Palm Desert. In case you wondered, yes this is the event that took place at LaQuinta last year, also a wonderful desert resort, but this new location proved the perfect fit.

Here’s the entire scoop:
The 2012 Rancho Mirage Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance ended its 5th annual event on Sunday, February 26, showcasing over 250 world class rare vintage cars and motorcycles displayed on the green at the 4-star Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage. The event was produced in partnership with Palm Springs Life magazine.

Awards in several prestigious categories were handed out including

Super Indeed - a most worth Best of Show

Best in Show Award to Don Murray and his elegant 1963 Ferrari Super America, and the People’s Choice Award to Peter Giabobbi’s outstanding 1959 Ferrari Testa Rossa replica hand built by him from all authentic Ferrari components.

Very cool vintage warbird flyover

With an exceptional field of classic cars, race cars, and vintage motorcycles, as well as a breathtaking aerial display of international war birds by the Tiger Squadron, the 2012 Rancho Mirage Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance offered a thoroughly memorable spectator experience. The spectacular weather and stunning ambiance of the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa provided the perfect combination for this event which was attended by a record number of spectators.

The City of Rancho Mirage, and this Rancho Mirage Resort, were perfect hosts

‘‘The premiere of the Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance in Rancho Mirage exceeded our expectations,” commented Rancho Mirage Mayor G. Dana Hobart. “We look forward to a long and productive relationship with the event’s leadership.”

Everybody loves Ferraris, and this show packed plenty of them; newer, older, and in between

The event was attended by members of the prestigious guests from the Petersen Automotive Museum and The Checkered Flag 200 Club who were out in force mixing with the large crowds of car enthusiasts and the general public. The weekend of fabulous events included The Desert Tour Classic, The Desert Auction, and the Rancho Mirage Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance. In addition, the Classique on Saturday morning drew hundreds of people who lined the streets of the Coachella Valley to watch the Desert Tour participant’s parade past.

The Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance is a world-class exhibition of rare and vintage cars spanning the history of automotive excellence. The annual event features a week of public events including presentations, displays, car auction, and classic car races. Rated amongst the

“Top Ten Classic Car Shows in the World,” The Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance features an exciting line up of over 250 museum quality domestic and foreign cars.

The Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance is a Palm Springs Life Event

For further information visit:

Please don’t leave, many more great photos just below.


I attend a lot of car shows, and rarely see a Paige, much less one this nice.


My buddy's Jeff's Alfa Spider; see the two long legged girls in the background? The one on the left is my Linda, the one on the right is photographer Kirk's wife Cathy


A great Ferrari that nobody ever gets tires of looking at, a 275 GTB, of courseMy friend Andy Cohen's droolworthy small-block Shelby Cobra (and yes, it's a real one...)



Two sports cars from Kurtis, the Indy-winning pride of Glendale, California

Many Alfisit don't care for these lovely Bertone bodied 2000 and 2600 Spiders - I have no idea why not!


"Big American" like these wonderfully massive Caddys was also prevelant and popular at this year's Des Classic


Something for everyone; the Des Classic boasted racecars, bikes, trucks, and even neoclassics

It just wouldn't be a car show without a smattering of SL Benzes

Another Amazing Amelia Island

The annual Amelia Island Concours is one of my favorite happenings in the world. It was my honor to again serve as a judge; there’s almost too much to say about this amazing gathering of cars, heroes, legends, and friends, but here’s the official press release and a bunch of photos for you to chew on.

Winners photo courtesy Neil Rashbaugh



World’s Most Innovative Automotive Event Draws Nearly 23,000 fans

and 295 Automobiles, Kicking-Off the Season in Style

JACKSONVILLE, FL (March 13, 2012) – The 1938 Bugatti Type 57 and the 1962 Ferrari 330 LM took home the Best In Show honors on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at the 17th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, which attracted about 23,000 spectators and 295 vehicles.

The coveted Concours d’Elegance award went to the stunning 1938 Bugatti Type 57, owned by the Off Brothers Collection from Richland, Mich. One of only three surviving Aravis Drophead Coupes bodied by Gangloff, this green Type 57 arrived in the U.S. in 1961 and was fully restored in 2009. Bugatti produced the Type 57 between 1934 and 1939, ceasing production of the world’s fastest stock production car shortly after the beginning of WWII.

The rare 1962 Ferrari 330 LM, or “3765” GTO, owned by Jim Jaeger from Indian Hill, Ohio took home the Concours de Sport award. The 330 GTOs were Ferrari’s in-house hot rods: prototype Grand Touring cars with four-liter V-12 engines instead of the GTO’s traditional 3-liter V-12. Just two were built – a cross between a pure prototype and a road-going Grand Touring car. Assigned to Ferrari Engineer and racer Mike Parkes and factory F1 and sports car ace Lorenzo Bandini, Jim Jaeger’s 4-liter GTO appears as it did on June 23, 1962 when gridded seventh at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The very best in classic car pageantry displays also included the 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe that helped unseat Ferrari as World GT Champion and the sleek 1929 Duesenberg J-108 Convertible Coupe that played a role in the classic move The Gay Divorcee. Several other star cars were seen, including Rita Hayworth’s Ghia-bodied Cadillac, a Duesenberg once owned by Ginger Rogers, Natalie Wood’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster and Tom Mix’s custom Cord 812 roadster.

Variety is the spice of life, and of Amelia Island

“Every year I’m amazed at the extraordinary vehicles I see grace the field, and this year was no different,” said Dick Messer, former Director of The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. “Both winners are perfect examples of style and sport and are very deserving of their awards. I congratulate the judges on their stunning choices.”

The Kalikow Momo Mirage, my late friend Gene Garfinkle worked on the design


Perhaps the Mirage's best angle; powertrain is LT-1 Corvette of the early 70s

Cars that graced the covers of Road & Track were on display, as were a selection of cars that won the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

This year’s Concours also celebrated the momentous 50th Anniversary of the Ferrari GTO, which was marked by a gathering of twelve impressive vehicles on the show field.

Some of Quick Vic's toys


More Vic Elford cars

Rally and road racing champion “Quick” Vic Elford served as the 2012 honoree, greeting attendees throughout the weekend. He also took part in the Great Endurance Drivers Seminar alongside other legendary drivers such as Sam Posey, Hurley Haywood, Brian Redman, Jim Hall, Gerard Larrousse, Joe Buzzetta, David Hobbs, Vic Elford, and Derek Bell.

Ferrari and Cobra fans were also treated to the unprecedented Cobra vs. Ferrari: the Battle for the World Championship for Sports Cars seminar on Friday, where Ferrari racing engineer Mauro Forghieri, Shelby Cobra Championship driver, Bob Bondurant, and Cobra Daytona Coupe designer Peter Brock, discussed one of motorsports’ most bitter rivalries.

Some of the world’s most prominent corporate, public and private collections had displays at the event, including Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. BMW also held the North American Debut of its new 6 Series Gran Coupe four-door coupe during the weekend.

Plans for the 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance are already underway and the event is scheduled to be held on March 8-10, 2013 10th and the 18th Fairways of the Golf Club Amelia Island at Summer Beach adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

About The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Now in its second decade, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is among the top automotive events in the world. Always held the second full weekend in March, “The Amelia” draws nearly 250 rare vehicles from collections around the world to The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach and The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island for a celebration of the automobile like no other. Since 1996, the show’s Foundation has donated nearly $1.7 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other deserving charities on Florida’s First Coast. The 18th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for March 8-10, 2013. For more information, visit or call 904-636-0027.

The Pontiac Pegasus concept, running 4.4-liter Ferrari V-12 engine.


Chuck Wray's '60 Alfa Giulietta Spider Veloce, the best Julie I've ever seen


Driven: 2012 Chrysler 200S Convertible – finally more than a rental car

The Chrysler Sebring is dead – long live the 200. By now you likely know that the old Platypus-looking Chrysler Sebring sedan and convertible have been substantially remodeled and reborn as the Chrysler 200. For my recent weekend in Palm Springs for the Desert Classic Concours, I copped a top line 200S hardtop convertible from Chrysler’s press fleet, and it proved a great desert weekend ride. I was most anxious to see if the car’s 200-fication was just a quick reskin and a badge job or packed enough substance to make the car a player in the mid-sized sedan and coupe catagory. I’m pleased to tell you the latter is the case. The prior car’s frumpy face has been Botoxed into a handsome prow, with a neat tushy tuck as well. I can’t tell you how much crisper this car looks than the old one.

The convertible hardtop is the nifty tricky, as it gives you the closed, metal-roofed security of a coupe, and all the sky you could ask for by holding down the retractable top button for about 30 seconds. There’s no latching or unlatching to futz with, as the trunk opens up, the roof folds in half, and then neatly hides itself away neath the metal tonneau cover. Of course all this mechanism is kinda heavy and complex, and impedes on trunk room, but fortunately doesn’t eat up the entire hold, so between the remaining trunk volume and the back seat, there’s plenty of weekend luggage room (we suggest soft luggage at this point). If you like a conventional cloth convertible top, it can still be had – which saves some weight, a little fuel mileage, and some purchase price (the retractable top is about two-grand more than the old school, lined, insulated cloth affair, which is still nice).

Our beautiful Tungsten Metallic gray exterior paint job is a perfect compliment to the car’s new suit, and looked great with the black and gray, leather wrapped cabin. This car was full boat, packing all the S sport package and top entertainment and electronics stuff. Great looking 18-inch alloy rolling stock was also part of the deal, this car basing at $32,070, and bottomlining at $35,510.  Not cheap, but not yet in BMW territory either, and you can see the money and content in this car.

Plenty of power here, in this case a 3.6-liter V-6 spooling out 283 horsepower, more than plenty to make this car move out smartly, teamed to a just-fine 6-speed automatic transmission. EPA? Not bad, at 19 city, 29 highway, about what I averaged during my week in the car.

Sebring interiors, no matter the trim level, always looked particularly low rent; not this one. It’s as nice, and nicely finished, as the cabin in any Lexus.  Overall I was impressed with the fit, finish, and build quality of the entire car.

The driving experience is best described as effortless cruising, which is what a Chrysler always used to be about. Plenty of power for most any situation, a nice ride, comfy cabin, and solid, confident handling. And it’s quiet too; very little road rumble, and any notion of windnoise has been well trimmed out of it.

Would I prefer this to a G37 convertible or a BMW 3 Series retractable convert? Likely not, but at least the 200 is a player now, and not an American copy of a Japanese car. Like the ad says, it’s imported from Detroit, a distinctly American car, and that is once again a positive attribute.

Were I buying a 200, I might ditch a few options to keep the price down (that’s often the way I think), or just go for the cloth top bod with the four cylinder engine, all in the name of having a mid-sized open topper that’ll haul all my gang to the beach, get good mileage, and not cost a lot.

Does that sound too much like a rental car? Maybe, but at least a lot better one than before.  This one, you’d own not just merely rent.

Happysnap photography by me.