Remember the Shelby GR-1 show car from way back in the early 2000s? That stillborn project is about to come back to life thanks to Superformance, a tuner based in Irvine, California. The company bills itself as “a distributor of complete, rolling-chassis replica and continuation race cars of the 1960s.” But Superformance appears to have hit fast forward on that tape to, well, at least the middle of the past decade: CEO Lance Stander has announced that the company will add replicas of Ford’s stunning 2004–2005 Shelby GR-1 show car to its product lineup. It’s worth nothing (if you couldn’t tell by looking) that the GR-1 was created in homage to the Cobra Daytona coupe. Currently, all of Superformance’s products are indeed rooted in the 1960s and currently include replica or continuation Shelby Cobra, Ford GT40, Shelby Cobra Daytona, Caterham, and Corvette Grand Sport models.
The announcement was made at the Petersen Automotive Museum’s annual Shelby tribute on January 6 by Stander, who was part of a panel sharing stories about Shelby and discussing Shelby’s influence on the industry and racing culture. With Shelby American vice president Vince Laviolette next to him on the panel, Stander said that Superformance has teamed up with Shelby American to develop electric versions of the gorgeous GR-1 in addition to a gasoline-powered version.
Laviolette confirmed this but didn’t provide any details other than to say, “It’s gonna be very fast.” Stander was more forthcoming, saying, “We’re shooting for a two-second Shelby.”
“It’s been a project I’ve been working on with Ford for about six years,” said Stander. “We originally said we want to do the GR-1, and we spoke to everyone at Ford and they said it’s never going to happen. Just forget about it. We could have done a replica, we could have done a kit car, but that was never good enough for us. We had to get licensed by the original manufacturer, and it had to have all credibility. So I just kept plodding along and eventually the stars aligned, the right people at Ford got to hear about it and . . . a couple of guys at who really wanted to see it happen at Ford Design in Europe, and the next thing I know is Ford Licensing is contacting me.”
The car won’t be out for about two years, they said, but when it is, 200 aluminum special-edition GR-1 cars will be made available—which could be either polished or painted—with the remainder wearing carbon-fiber bodies. Whether Superformance will be able to call it by the concept’s original name, Ford Shelby GR-1, or whether it will get a moniker such as Shelby Legendary GR-1 or just Shelby GR-1, is still an open question.
And as for the idea of an electric GR-1? “Carroll [Shelby] was always on the edge,” said Laviolette, who said Shelby was looking at electric powertrains before he died in 2012. “He was an innovator. And that’s the way we still hold the company. You know, the world’s changing, and we have to go with the world.”