The Shelby Series 1 was a high-performance roadster designed by Carroll Shelby and produced by Shelby American.
It was powered by Oldsmobile's 4.0 L Aurora V8 DOHC engine. It has 320 hp at 6500 rpm, 290 lb-ft at 5000 rpm and will do 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has recorded 12.8 seconds in the quarter mile at 112 mph. Top speed is 170 mph, 15 mph faster than the 427 Cobra. The 1998 car weighed 2,650 lb.
The Series 1 is the only car ever produced by Carroll Shelby from a clean sheet of paper, and built from the ground up. All other Shelbys are re-engineered models produced by other manufacturers and modified by Shelby.
Prior to production of the Series 1, Shelby American incurred significant costs in testing and certifications to conform to the 1999 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Once completed, a total of 249 production Series 1 were constructed by Shelby American, Inc., all as 1999 models.
During production, Venture Corporation purchased Shelby American, Inc. The purchase included the Series 1 model, but not the rights to produce the “Continuation Series” Shelby Cobras. In 2004, after a subsequent bankruptcy by Venture Corporation (unrelated to the acquisition of Shelby American), Carroll Shelby's new company, Shelby Automobiles, Inc., purchased the Series 1 assets for pennies on the dollar. Included in the asset purchase were enough components to produce several more complete Series 1's.
Because the 1999 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards certificate had expired, and the cost to re-certify the car was prohibitive, all Series 1's produced after that date were completed as "component cars" and delivered with no engine or transmission.
The Series 1 was produced in both supercharged (the supercharger was optional) and normally aspirated versions. Supercharged cars were outfitted by the factory with larger brakes and a heavy duty clutch. Performance is in the "supercar" category with a 0-60 time at 3.2 seconds.
Nicely optioned, Series 1 had power steering, power disc brakes, factory air conditioning, power windows, and an AM/FM/CD audio system. The manually-operated convertible top folded away out of sight in a compartment located behind the cockpit. Some component cars were sold as a roadster with no convertible top.
The Series 1 had dual wishbone suspension, with coil-over remote reservoir dampers mounted inboard and actuated by "rocker arms". The engine was mounted completely behind the front axle and drove a drive shaft supported in a "torque tube" that spun a 6-speed ZF trans-axle specially modified for the Series 1.
The chassis was made of extruded and formed 6061 aluminum. It was welded together and then post-heat-treated for maximum strength throughout. Then specially designed aluminum honeycomb panels were bonded into the floorboards and rocker panels for added structure and stiffness. The body panels were carbon fiber and fiberglass laminate. The engine, torque-tube, trans-axle, and damper mounts were all rubber-isolated from the frame. The supercharged prototypes produced near 600 bhp and 530 lb-ft of torque. The Goodyear Eagle F1 tires were based on an IMSA racing "rain tire" that had been used for the "show car" model. Goodyear built custom tires for the car.