1990 Shelby Can Am
South African Championship Series Winner - Highly Developed
In 1989 the Sports Car Club of America (“SCCA”) began a program with Carrol Shelby to develop a new single make sports racing car to revive the Can-Am Series. Carroll Shelby and Peter Brock designed the original bodywork. Peter Brock also penned the famous Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe for Shelby in the mid-1960’s. The tube frame chassis was designed by David Bruns, one of the founders of the highly successful racing car design/manufacturing business, Swift Cars. Assembly was carried out by Racefab, Inc.
The first race was a demonstration race held during the 1990 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.
In 1991 the Shelby Can-Am class, and a pro series were launched by SCCA. The pro series ran for six years
Thereafter, in 1998, 29 Shelbys were shipped to South Africa to compete in the new Vodacom sports racing serious, part of the Pro-Tour. The South African cars were upgraded to the Nissan VQ 3.5 liter V6. This is one of those cars, chassis number 003.
Chassis #003 raced in the South African series from 2000 to 2015, winning the 2002 South African Championship with Bernard Tilanus.
In 2008 the South African Shelbys received new, Le Mans-style bodywork. The cars raced in this configuration in endurance races through at least 2015. Shelby Can Am History and South African Endurance Racing Results.
In 2015 the Shelby underwent a complete strip down to its chassis, and was rebuilt with new components. Thereafter it was raced by Micheal Verrier. Verrier and the Shelby combined to take class wins in South African endurance races, sports/GT sprint races, and Simola hillclimb events.
The Shelby has a robust tube frame chassis with upper and lower unequal length tubular steel A-arms, aluminum uprights and adjustable roll bars. The car is fitted with a genuine Nismo VQ35DE race engine with less than 4 hours on it. It makes 420hp and 376ft/pd torque at under 7000rpm. It uses a Formula 1 powerboat derived individual throttle body intake, stepped headers and custom throttle linkage. The ECU is a Motec M84 and is mated to an Aim MXL dash with logging functionality and GPS module. Enabled and functional are Traction Control, Launch Control (with 4-wheel speed sensors), Pit Limiter, Headlight flasher.
The gearbox is a Sadev SL90-17 sourced from the World Series by Nissan. It is a sequential 6 speed box rated to 650hp. It is run with a pneumatic Geartronics paddle shift system, including flat shift and auto-blip. There is a gearbox cooler included, which has been removed for now to save weight. The gearbox runs cool even without the cooler. There are 2 sets of ratios which are new.
The car is fitted with a dual plane carbon fiber rear wing with our own Drag Reduction System (DRS). The wing opens when the throttle is open and a steering button is depressed. It closes automatically when the throttle is released. The system is robust and effective in reducing drag. See videos of the DRS in action below. The system is operated via pneumatics.
The Shelby has new Tilton master cylinders, new brake lines, new Vari discs and Nascar pads make up the excellent braking system. There are front and rear brake pressure sensors and new pedals.
The fiberglass body has track patina, including stone chips and stress cracks but no crash damage. The front splitter is made from carbon fiber, and the floor has been replaced. The car is fitted with rear indicator and hazard lights for endurance racing.
The Shelby has been maintained for the past several years by Rico Barlow Racing. RBR is a professional race team based in Cape Town, South Africa. They prepare the Shelby as well as Ligier, Juno and Radical race cars. All mechanical systems have been serviced and function correctly.
The Shelby can be driven right now but should be thoroughly checked over before racing at competitive speeds. The engine has dyno and run in time, and another 2 hours on track. The gearbox has 6 hours since new. Notably, chassis 003 is the only Shelby fitted with a sequential gearbox and paddle shift, and the only Shelby with a DRS system.
The Shelby will come with additional rim sets, and a second 355 hp used engine with excellent compression is available.
This well may be the fastest, most developed, Shelby Can Am in existence. It would be a fabulous hill climb, or South African Endurance Series Car. It would also be an excellent entry for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race. Of course it would also embarrass many much more expensive cars at track days, or car club events.
Great looks, cool sounds, and a great bang for the buck.
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