• Jan 5, 2010
2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR - Click above for high-res image gallery

Shelby, whether good or bad, has a knack for staying in the news. Unfortunately, the latest item to come across our desks is not about an upcoming variant of the Ford Mustang, but rather a lawsuit involving the limited-edition GT500KR built in 2008. According to papers filed in Vermont, Plasan Carbon Composites, the maker of the carbon fiber parts on the car including the hood, front spoiler, and mirror covers, is suing Shelby for non-payment of the components as well as a bonus promised by Shelby if the parts were delivered on time.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the story is that the lawsuit reveals the cost of the carbon fiber parts. Remember that whole fiasco in which Shelby was charging nearly $18,400 for a replacement hood? According to one of the documents in the lawsuit, a set of 200 carbon fiber components costs $760,000. Do the math, and that's just $3,800 for all the carbon fiber parts on the car. But straight division doesn't work here.

As we learned when Shelby announced it would drop the price of the carbon fiber hood to $9,700 (dealer cost), it's not about the exact end cost of the components, it's about the development and testing. The GT500KR is the first U.S. production vehicle to get a full carbon fiber hood and the amount of energy, resources and testing involved in bringing it to market far outweighs basic production costs. Making the hood – along with the other assorted tidbits – involves all the extensive OEM-level, Tier One testing that every automaker has to endure to meet federal crash standards. In short, it's not cheap and the price reflects that.

Complicated math and pricing aside, Jim Owens, Shelby's Vice President of Marketing and Communications, told us that Shelby has already paid Plasan over $8 million and that the lawyers are hashing out the details as you read this. Expect an update in the coming months.



Photos by Drew Phillips / Copyright ©2009 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: MustangHeaven.com]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      thats an expensive hood!

      What is the weight savings of the cobon fiber over an aluminum hood?

      For that kind of money I would rather save it for some replacement tires or a spare set of slicks
      • 5 Years Ago
      Energy, Resources and Testing involved to test a Carbon Fiber HOOD? Get Real.

      Maybe you could make that statement if it was a Carbon Fiber Chassis, but a Carbon Fiber hood is pretty much a bolt on piece as it's not really part of the crash structure nor is it a structural member of the car.

      Also, any crash testing they would have to do would be the same regardless of whether the hood was Carbon Fiber or aluminum. But you don't see them charging $18,000 for an aluminum hood right?!?!?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, in a frontal impact the hood is effected, so, there is probably some testing necessary to make sure it will "behave" properly in the event of a frontal collision.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If NHTSA follows the European model, pedestrian safety might become the 'next big thing' in crash structures over the next few years (within the lifecycle of the current Mustang).

        • 5 Years Ago
        KJ, it's apparent you don't understand the potential hazards of a carbon-fiber hood.

        Carbon fiber hoods can potentially be dangerous (especially all those wet-carbon hoods sold by companies like Seibon and VIS), because unlike steel or aluminum hoods, CF doesn't crumple; it shears like paper.

        The fact that carbon-fiber hoods shear is a major safety liability, and hoods must be designed so that they shear at the right places. For example, if the hood shears at its hinges, it can potentially send the whole hood crashing through the front windshield, acting like a giant guillotine. So CF hoods should undergo rigorous R&D and testing to ensure that they don't translate to fat insurance liabilities.

        Still $20k for a hood seems overkill, but simply assuming a hood should cost $2-3k for a limited-production run (thus nullifying economies of scale) is overly simplistic and ignorant.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Consider the ambulance chasing frenzy if an untested, new technology hood shattered in a crash and the fragments injured someone.


      • 5 Years Ago
      Didn't the 2004 Z06 have a carbon fiber hood? Or was it not fully carbon fiber?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I dont think the C5 Z06's had any CF in them. The C6 Z06' have front quarter panels made of CF.

        Either way I can understand a company trying to recoup the cost put into any item, but I would easily see how shelby in general would try some sneak stuff. I've never liked him, or his cars anyway.
        • 5 Years Ago
        To send the current design out in style, GM management developed a Commemorative Edition Z06, with a unique "LeMans blue" paint and racing decor, a tribute to the Corvette race team's recent success at the famous 24-hour French endurance race (two teams placed 1st and 2nd in the GTS class in both 2001 and 2002; and finished 2nd and 3rd last year). It comes complete with a lightweight carbon fiber hood — the first application of the material on a painted, Class A exterior body panel offered as original equipment on a North American vehicle.

        http://www.compositesworld.com/articles/carbon-fiber-hood-for-corvette.aspx
        • 5 Years Ago
        Also made by Plasan (then Vermont Composites).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Always nice to see pretty pictures of our race track.

      John Gardner, Media Manager
      Miller Motorsports Park
        • 5 Years Ago
        Lol Autoblog, I think you just got called out.
      • 5 Years Ago
      the funny part here, is on the '04, while the hood was actually CF, the stripe on the hood had a fake CF pattern trimming it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not sure about the testing that would go into something like that, but I wonder what the tool must look like (and cost). If it's a compression molded tool, that would have to be STUPIDLY expensive for something of that size. I wouldn't be surprised if the $9,700 was the cost of the part ($3,800 plus amortizing the tooling).

      What strikes me is the idea that the dealer is going to make almost TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS on each replacement part. WTF??!? I know dealers have to stay in business. I know that making 50pts on the sale of an aftermarket dealer-installed part is a reasonable percentage... But shouldn't there be a diminishing return once the price goes over say $400? It's not even like the dealer is going to need to stock these, they'll do nothing more than place an order for one and sit back and collect $10,000. I'd bet they would even include a separate labor charge to install it.

      Ugh...
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