The 1,000-hp Shelby 1000 Mustang is so extreme, it’s not street legal

It’s hard to argue with 1,000 horsepower. That’s what the Shelby 1000, the latest tuned Ford Mustang from Shelby American, offers. But owning an American muscle car with supercar-like power requires some compromises.

Unveiled at SEMA 2017, the Shelby 1000 is based on the current-generation Mustang, meaning versions from the 2015 through 2018 model years. The Shelby replaces the original engine with a 5.2-liter V8. You’d think Shelby just repowered Ford’s GT350 Mustang, which has the same displacement. But while the Shelby engine shares cylinder heads with the GT350 engine, it doesn’t share that engine’s unorthodox flat-plane crankshaft design. The Shelby 1000 engine is also supercharged, while the GT350 engine is naturally aspirated.

The new engine is backed by a beefed-up fuel and cooling system and a retuned gearbox. Shelby also extended the car’s track, part of a cosmetic makeover that includes flared fenders, a new front fascia, a vented hood, a new rear fascia with a diffuser, and Shelby-specific 20-inch wheels. On the mechanical side, Shelby installed upgraded suspension and brakes. When it comes to 1000 hp, good brakes are very important.

But you’ll only be able to unleash that power on the race track. Shelby decided not to pursue emissions compliance for the new engine, meaning the Shelby 1000 is not street legal. Shelby built the previous generation Mustang 1000 from 2012 to 2014, which was offered in both street and track versions, but apparently decided it wasn’t worth the money this time around.

The new Shelby 1000 package can be applied to any Ford Mustang V8 model year 2015 and up. The cost of the conversion is $169,995, not including the cost of the Mustang donor car. Shelby estimates the total price, including the donor car, at an average of $219,995. The company plans to produce only 50 cars per year, adding to the collectibility incentive.

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In an era where you can buy a 650-hp Camaro or an 840-hp Challenger, a 1,000-hp Mustang isn’t nearly as impressive as it once was. Add in the high price and the fact that you can’t drive the latest Shelby 1000 on the street, and this muscle car is definitely becoming a niche product. But there’s something special about a four-figure horsepower figure, and for dedicated power junkies, that’ll do the trick.

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