Snaky symbolism at Shelby

The phrase “bundle of snakes” has a very special place of respect in the orbit of Ford high performance. It refers to the organized tangle of individual exhaust tubes that Ford created for its racing engines of the 1960s, their port-specific tuning a consequence of Ford’s decision to run a lighter 90-degree crankshaft in the engines, rather than a more normal 180-degree crankshaft that requires counterweights. All the “snakes” are equal length and formed the visual signature of engines used in the original GT40 and Indianapolis 500-winning Lotus 38. When the 2015 Shelby GT350 was being planned for 2015, Ford revived the flat-plane crankshaft and its associated practice of multiple tubes emptying into fewer collector pipes. Now, this famed piece of performance engineering has a Shelby marketing connotation, as well.

To mark what would have been Carroll Shelby’s 98th birthday, and also in recognition of a famous Shelby American competition number, the Las Vegas-based performance automaker is using “Bundle of Snakes” as the verbal entree to its 2021 lineup of modified Ford Mustangs, continuing a tradition that can be traced to the first G.T. 350 of 1965. In ascending order of capability, they are the Shelby GT, Shelby Super Snake and the stirring Shelby GT500SE. all of which will be produced in limited runs of just 98 units per model, along with another 98 copies of the lines’ combined open-top Speedster versions. These Mustangs join the other new Shelby we showed you here recently, the Ford Shelby Super Baja F-250 pickup. Go here to learn about how to get yours, and other Shelby stuff to strengthen your Mustang.

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