This exceptional Grabber Orange with black stripe Super Snake was built as a prototype and show piece for Shelby Automobiles in partnership with the Ford Motor Company. Of the inaugural generation of Super Snake prototypes, this is the only one presented as a convertible. This car has a designated prototype status and is serialized as such and carries serial number 08SS003P, in which the “P” designates Prototype.
The vehicle is owned by the former global Director of Shelby Mod Shops, and it was ordered through the Ford VIP program for Ford-affiliated personnel, specifically to become a Super Snake. It was, in turn, used to promote the Super Snake at various Shelby and non-Shelby shows.
The documentation and provenance for this car is extensive. The car was filmed and photographed extensively during the construction process. It had the designation of “Shelby Show Car” during its production at Ford, including non-standard items. As such, production was literally documented from a roll of sheetmetal at the Ford factory through its assembly and special paint job. It proceeded down a separate line for Ford Show Cars, with special attention to detail throughout.
This Shelby prototype utilizes a number of unique features not found on the production Super Snakes such as hand-cut Baer six-piston front disc brake calipers which were then hand-painted to body color at Shelby automobiles. A hand-laid fiberglass hood with hand-cut hood vents also varies from the production-spec offering. A number of early components, such as the Alcoa wheels, have a coating that was not found on the later production Super Snakes, as well as this car having an early cold air intake configuration. Additionally there is non-production clearcoating of the engine bay. Non-standard sound deadening was also installed; this feature was also unavailable on the regular production Shelbys.
Virtually every step of production was photographed, along with the broadcast (build) sheets being collected. The Super Snake also has a self-titled “baby book” which a Ford Motor Company employee compiled which contains the build sheets and photographs as well as two DVDs of the entire build process at Ford. All comes in a Shelby-logoed satchel.
Upon the car’s arrival at Shelby American in Las Vegas; its finalization as a Super Snake was completely documented as well. Over 1,000 photographs of the entire build have been taken. The Shelby was also utilized for filming of the Super Snake build/training video for the Shelby Mod Shops.
The car is generously powered by its 5.4-liter, 605-hp supercharged V-8 engine, which is matched to a six-speed manual transmission. Many conveniences are included that one expects from a car of this period, such as front and rear spoilers, model-specific badging, air conditioning, stereo system; power windows, top, mirrors, steering and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes with ABS.
If these stock and prototype attributes aren’t enough to pique your interest; the Shelby is also the first Super Snake convertible to feature stripes at the top of the windshield, plus it has the optional “full race suspension package” from Eibach. The car can literally be “lowered to the floor” for racing purposes. This is a very rare option for convertible Super Snakes. Only 81 Grabber Orange GT 500 convertibles were built in the 2008 model year, and of those, only six were ordered without factory Ford striping. Destined to be a Super Snake, this is one of the six without the Ford factory stripes – these having been applied at Shelby. When the car was completed, of course, Mr. Shelby put his signature to it on one of the car’s sunvisors.
This prototype Shelby Super Snake has been driven less than 4,700 miles since new, and with concerned care, remains in the basic condition of a new car. An original, unused Ford Monroney window sticker and the factory plastic wrap that was on the car when delivered by Ford accompanies the car, as does a digital copy of the Certificate of Origin and a digital copy of the Ford VIP order forms will also go to the new owner. The original Shelby logo car cover is included and was ordered from Ford as a factory option.
The availability of factory prototypes such as this is a very uncommon phenomenon. These pieces are treasured by the hierarchy of the companies that build them, and when these rare models enter the marketplace, enthusiasts readily take note and make plans to add them to their collections as the opportunity seldom presents itself.