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.