The classic muscle car smashed all pre-sale estimates.
While a new era of the GT500 has begun with the unveiling of the all-new 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 at Detroit, a rare Shelby GT500 Super Snake from the past recently went under the hammer in Florida. It was expected to fetch between $1 million and $1.2 million but managed to double pre-sale estimates, selling for a staggering $2.2 million. That makes it the most expensive Mustang ever sold.
What makes this Shelby GT500 so special? While Shelby is producing ten continuation examples, this is the one and only authentic Super Snake in the world. The car was originally built for a promotional event to test a new line of Goodyear tires.
The demonstration car used a modified version of the 427 racing engine from the Le Mans-winning Ford GT40 tuned to deliver 520 hp, which still holds up today. It was specifically designed to run at 6,000 rpm for long periods of time. A unique transmission and bespoke rear axle were also fitted to cope with the extra muscle. Shelby American Sales Manager Don McCain described the 427 engine as ‘the mother of all 427s’ due to its exotic components such as aluminum heads, lightweight water pump, forged crank and Le Mans rods.
During the demonstration, the modified GT500 reportedly hit over 170 mph with Caroll Shelby behind the wheel and averaged an astonishing 142 mph during the 500-mile test while retaining 97 percent of its original tire tread. After the successful demonstration run, Shelby wanted to put the one-off test car into production, but it was simply too expensive to produce. After the production plans were scrapped, the one-off Super Snake was sold to a private owner who used it for drag racing.
It then swapped owners a few times before it was sold to a collector who gave the car a light restoration in the mid-2000s. Back in 2013, the same car set the previous record for most expensive Mustang when it sold for $1.3 million, so it’s nearly doubled its value in just six years.