Born in 1923, Carroll Shelby would have been 100 years old this year. Sadly, the automotive legend didn’t become a centenarian, but his namesake company, Shelby American, is celebrating his legacy by expanding its global offerings with a limited run of 100 Shelby Mustang Mach-E GT. A historic offering as the company’s first production EV, these vehicles are only available in Europe.
“Carroll Shelby actively pursued opportunities to expand worldwide, and that philosophy continues to drive us today,” said Joe Conway, CEO of Shelby American. “As a visionary, Carroll was an early proponent of exotic materials and the integration of advanced technologies, including electrification. In an interview published by Ford Performance before his passing, Carroll looked forward to electric vehicles. The first production Shelby EV fits perfectly into our goal to maintain Shelby American’s position as a leading manufacturer of distinctive, small-volume performance vehicles.”
Carroll used to always say his favorite vehicle was his next one, but the company’s first production EV evolved from a one-off show vehicle that made a splash at the SEMA Show.
“In 2021, we introduced a concept version of the Ford Mustang Mach-E to gauge public interest,” said Gary Patterson, president of Shelby American. “The reaction was very positive, especially with international enthusiasts. We developed our first production version of the vehicle based on that response. The Shelby Mustang Mach-E GT expands our menu of options with an EV for European enthusiasts.”
Taking what it learned from that prototype, Shelby improved performance by reducing weight, sharpened the handling by tuning the suspension, enhanced the styling, and added performance sound.
“This is our first foray into a production electric vehicle, so we spent a great deal of time testing EVs on the track to understand their unique handling dynamics,” said Vince LaViolette, Shelby American Vice President of Operations. “Based on that experience, we lowered the SUV over an inch, cut weight off the top of it, reduced rotating mass to enhance stability, and enhanced the aerodynamics.”
Imbuing the Shelby EV with a performance sound befitting of its lineage is the innovative Borla’s Active Performance Sound System for the Mustang Mach-E. It taps into the vehicle’s controller to match the throttle position and speed with sounds that you might expect from a gas-powered vehicle. It can mimic existing vehicles and even deliver custom sounds.
“Sound, vision, and touch are the three senses we use for sport driving, and without the real-time feedback of motor and vehicle dynamics through soundwaves and vibration much of that experience is missing,” said David Borla, Borla Performance Industries Chief Marketing Officer. “This product is an instrument, in more ways than one. It’s like an audio tachometer that provides drivers with real-time feedback, and it’s also like a musical instrument that plays an exciting soundtrack that enhances the driving experience giving the vehicle personality and a sense of soul. After all, who wants to watch a car chase movie or play a driving video game with no sound? They go to great lengths to ensure sound is prevalent in those mediums for a reason.”
The 2021-23 Shelby Mustang Mach-E GT upgrades are available for €24,900 in addition to the price of the base vehicle. They are also fully documented in the Shelby registry alongside their gas-burning cousins.
“We’re excited about our first production EV and plan to roll out other electrification programs in the near future,” said Patterson. “We are already seeking ways to substantially push EV performance, expand the product line and work with partners like rental car companies. However, Shelby American continues to also be firmly committed to cars and trucks powered by internal combustion engines. We’ll introduce several new models over the next 12 months to keep V8 fans revved up.”
For more on Shelby American’s first production EV, you can visit its European website here.