Bold School: Eleanor Goes Topless

You may know Classic Recreations as the company who built the Shelby GT500, or Eleanor,  from the movie "Gone in 60 Seconds". Well, they've just released their latest creation, the Shelby GT500 CR Convertible. Modeled after the 1967 Shelby GT500 convertible, it was the last car to get Carroll Shelby's stamp of approval before he died. For Mustang and Shelby fans, it doesn't get any more authentic than that. But does the GT500 CR Convertible have what it takes to fill the shoes of a legend? The original Shelby GT500 Convertible is one of the rarer cars to ever come out of Carroll Shelby's Long Beach factory. Only one was built in 1967 as a prototype and used as a promotional vehicle by Shelby American. The prototype was also Carroll Shelby's personal driver, and he often lent it to friends and Ford execs when they came to town. It was later converted into a red '68 production version, and then painted white for further promo use. Then suddenly, it disappeared. The car resurfaced a few days later in the Palos Verdes hills overlooking the pacific. The GT500 convertible had been stripped of its wheels, radio, taillight bezel, and carburetors. What makes the story more bizarre is that the thieves were of the caring nature. They took time to place the wheel nuts back on the studs, and to carefully disconnect the wires from the radio instead of cutting them like any common thief would. The reason? We think the car was stolen to save if from the crusher that marks the end of the road for all prototype and promotion cars to this day. This story, combined with the extreme rarity of the 1967 Shelby GT500 Convertible, means it is almost invaluable and will likely never see the approving eyes of the everyday Mustang fan.

Classic Recreations is now giving those Mustang fans a chance to own one of the darker pieces of Shelby history. With menacing lines, a big front splitter, and side exit exhausts, we think the GT500 CR Convertible does the original story justice.  Like all Class Recreations cars, the project begins with a 1967 or 1968 Mustang  (in this case a convertible) donor car which is then brought back to life through extensive body work and hours in the spray booth to give it that deep shine gearheads love. That's where the nostalgia stops.

Unlike the original 1967 Shelby GT500 convertible,  the GT500 CR Convertible  begs to be driven, and driven hard. Underneath the chiseled bodywork is a serious, modern powertrain. Just like the Shelbys of yore, the GT500 CR comes with reworked suspension and brakes, including a coilover suspension and massive 13.1-inch Shelby/Baer brakes upfront. There's also a no B.S. brake bias valve to get the braking just right for back road hooning or an autocross time attack.

To keep drivers from being thrown around like Tina during an Ike Turner cocaine binge,  they've installed some heavily bolstered Caroll Shelby Signature Seats which have been fitted with a 5-point harness.  Gauges are the standard muscle car white face issue, while the big, we-mean-business, shift lever protruding from the floor is connected to a five-speed Tremec gearbox and a 9-inch rear end fitted with 3.73 gears outback. Sound comes via Pioneer speakers and a Pioneer head unit with a removable know for the thieves.

Where a 289 Cleveland, or worse a 6 cylinder motor once laid, sits a snarling 428 cubic inch V8.  According to Classic Recreations, the fuel-injected crate motor is good for 545 horsepower. If that's not enough, there's a 900S model which uses an  F-1R procharger capable of cranking out 17psi of boost. An homage to the twin-supercharged GT500 KR's, the 900S  puts out a respectable 770 horsepower, which sounds like it could do more skin rejuvenation than any plastic surgeon can claim.

As with all restoration and tuner cars, the devil is in the details. We really like the clean polished look of the engine bay, but it's things like this fluid reservoir that really caught our attention. If they spent this much time on this billet aluminum can, we wonder what the rest of this topless beaute is like.

Classic Recreations quotes around $149,000 for the 545 model and $190,000 for the 900 S model, which is a lot of coin especially when you consider you can get a used Ford GT for around that price. However, Classic Recreations isn't calling those figures the price, it calls them an investment. Which is a label we have to agree with, because the 1967 Shelby GT500 Convertible CR is a little bit more than just a car. See more of the Shelby GT500CR Convertible here

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