The Ford Shelby GR-1 Was An Incredible Retro Concept Car, And It's About To Make A Comeback

The Shelby GR-1 was first unveiled as a fiberglass platform model at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in August of 2004 (via RM Sotheby's). It showed up again — as an aluminum-wrapped driving model — months later at the Detroit North American International Auto Show in January of 2005 (via RM Sotheby's and MotorCities National Heritage Area). According to Phil Martens — Ford's group vice president of product creation at the time — it wasn't meant to be just another "top-speed, high-performance sports car," but to be a drivable, well-balanced vehicle that would appeal to those in the market for a Ferrari 575M Maranello (via

The GR-1's looks are heavily inspired by the 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe (via RM Sotheby's), with its elongated hood and flat, Kamm-style rear end. The aluminum skin was intentionally left bare and polished to a fine shine to accentuate the sculpted curves found throughout the body and make it look like it was moving even when it wasn't. The butterfly doors with teardrop windows help make the car look longer (via

Most of the GR-1's chassis is made from modified components from the Ford GT (via Under the hood is a 6.4-liter, 390-ci all-aluminum V10 engine kicking out 605 horsepower (via Car Throttle and, 501 foot-pounds of torque (via, and goes from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds (via Car Throttle).

The fiberglass platform model (lacking an engine, drivetrain, or interior) was sold at an RM Sotheby's auction in August 2011 for $82,500. All proceeds went to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Superformance GR-1 still remains in limbo

Fast forward to January 2019, when Lance Stander — CEO of Superformance — and Shelby American vice president Vince Laviolette announced it could begin producing officially licensed Shelby GR-1s in limited quantities (via Car and Driver). Superformance is a Shelby-focused restomod factory in Irvine, California, building other officially licensed Shelby replicas.

Stander said he had been working with Ford and Shelby on getting the GR-1 into production for about six years. The original goal was to build 200 with the original polished aluminum, painted or clad with carbon-fiber bodies (via Car and Driver). They expected the MSRP to start at $250,000, with a 750+ horsepower Ford drivetrain (via Superformance).

However, one big hurdle was the 2015 Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act (LVMVMA), which was tied to the Clean Air Act and engine emission controls. The 2015 bill, which still hadn't passed, would allow the Department of Transportation (DOT) to grant exemptions to companies making less than 500 replica cars a year from having to follow specific federal motor vehicle safety and labeling standards.

An update was posted to its website on August 8, 2021, stating it was still waiting on legislation to be approved. In March 2022, it announced that "a limited number of turn-key replica cars" could be made "under the new Low Volume Manufacturer's Act," but it only listed the GT40, Corvette Grand Sport, and Shelby Cobra sports cars — not the GR-1.

In 2023, there's still no official update regarding the GR-1. According to Superformance, it will take two years to produce the cars once the bill is passed.