If you remember the Shelby Series 1, it’s probably because a) you drove one in an early Gran Turismo or Forza game, or b) you own one. Produced in tiny numbers in 1999 and powered by a 4.0-litre Oldsmobile V8, it was designed as a conceptual throwback to the iconic original Shelby Cobra of the 1960s. Just 249 were built as complete cars, although several more were delivered as rolling chassis, leaving buyers to supply an engine and transmission.
Several attempts were made to revive the Series 1 and create a ‘Series 2’ in the ensuing years. The rights to the car, along with its remaining parts, were eventually purchased by a small Florida company called Wingard Motorsports, which produced a tiny handful of Series 2s in 2018. They looked pretty much identical to the original but could be specced with a variety of Ford engines, including a Shelby-fettled big block V8.
Now, it’s back. Again. To commemorate 25 years since the Series 1 launched, Wingard has revived the Series 2, albeit with one fairly obvious difference: whereas all the Series 1s and the first batch of Series 2s were soft-top roadsters, this latest version is a coupe. Wingard plans to build just 10 and sell them as rolling chassis, although they will sort you out with a powertrain for an extra fee. These include a 7.0-litre Ford Windsor V8, a supercharged version of the 7.3-litre ‘Godzilla’ V8 found in Ford’s heavy-duty pickups, and an electric drivetrain that's apparently developed in-house by Wingard. Combustion-powered cars will feature a six-speed paddle-shift gearbox.
Supposedly, the Series 2 Coupe can handle upwards of 1100bhp, with inboard pushrod suspension and all-round six-piston brakes keeping everything in check. Of the 10, Wingard plans for seven to have a carbon fibre composite body and the other three to be aluminium-bodied. All are built around the aluminium honeycomb chassis used for the original Series 1. Wingard says it’ll weigh less than 3200lbs (around 1450kg), although whether that applies to both carbon and aluminium cars isn’t clear.
Somewhat surprisingly, the aluminium cars will be the more expensive of the two - $498,200 (approximately £394,000) compared to $385,600 (around £305,000) for the carbon body. Bear in mind that both of those prices are just for the rolling chassis - Wingard’s powertrain options start at an additional $83,500, or around £66,000.
Rather a lot, then, for a car that’s based on a quarter-century-old design, especially one that’s the third incarnation of a car that was already designed as a revival of another car. On the other hand, it’ll be a highly exclusive and specialised bit of kit. Crucially, it has the full blessing of Shelby American, the very same company that Carroll Shelby set up all those years ago to build the Cobra - the car that’s, ultimately, the reason this one exists in the first place.