When Shelby American held its press conference in the basement of Cobo Hall earlier today, It hinted that the company was willing to carry on Caroll Shelby’s legacy of thinking outside the box when it came to creating new performance oriented products. To prove this point the company took the wraps off its newest (non Mustang related product) the Shelby Focus ST.
Shelby claims that the Shelby Focus ST was designed to carry on the legacy laid down by its infamous ancestor the 1980’s era Dodge Omni GLH which transformed the horribly slow and pathetic Omni into a formidable hot hatch that could go toe to toe with some of the best cars of that era. “Carroll Shelby ignored critics who said the turbo four Omni couldn’t be an affordable performance car in the 1980s,” stated Gary Patterson Vice President of sales and operations for the company. He further elaborated this point by saying “He proved them wrong with an impressive, lightweight four cylinder performer. Ford Motor Company’s new Focus ST is the perfect platform for the rebirth of the front wheel drive turbo four cylinder Shelby. It is a car that Carroll wanted to build before his passing and is a worthy successor to his ‘Pocket-Rocket’ GLH.” While the Shelby tuned Focus ST on display did not have the Omni GLH’s all-black paint job, it’s bright yellow paint still looked sharp and contrasted nicely with the matte black hood which features functional hood vents. Other exterior touches include a rear spoiler, carbon fiber front and rear inserts to help cut weight, and three distinct graphics packages that offer more visual punch.
The interior of the Shelby Focus ST changes little from its mainstream cousin and still retains many of the things that we loved about the Focus ST when it first arrived in our market, including its ultra supportive sport seats (which now feature Shelby logos on the backrests), a slick 6-speed manual transmission which remains the sole transmission choice in Shelby variants, and the overall layout of buttons and controls for the car’s various functions.
Performance for the Shelby Focus ST also changes little from its sibling with the majority of the changes taking place in the car’s handling behavior. There, Shelby engineers have improved things by equipping the car with various suspension components which should help improve the already impressive dynamics offered by the standard Focus ST. Braking has also been improved thanks to the addition of stronger brake discs and components with a specially tuned Shelby exhaust rounding out the changes which should give the car a strong distinct sound. The car on display did not include any engine modifications and retains the stock performance figures of its mainstream cousin, though the company was quick to point out that a “Performance Tune Option” is currently under development with no word on when it would be formally released.
Pricing for the Shelby Focus will add about $14,995 on top of the $23,700 base price for the donor Focus ST which rounds out to about $38,695 before taxes and other fees are applied. While it is a tad pricey, it does open up the brand to more customers that might otherwise not buy one of their Mustang offerings. Production of the car will also be extremely limited too with total production capped at no more than 500 cars per model year. Editorial opinion (by CH): $14,995 for an appearance and handling package? Carroll would be proud, and there’s no way they will sell 500 of these per year.