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Hagerty Employee

Why isn't the Shelby Series 1 worth more? | Hagerty Media

Where's the love for the Shelby Series 1? A 397-mile example owned new by NASCAR great Tony Stewart just sold on Bring a Trailer for $175,000. A lot of money, to be sure, but consider for a moment that an "entry-level" worm-and-sector 289 Cobra in #1 (concours) condition can fetch about $1 million.
Intermediate Driver

We bought a Shelby Series 1 at Mecum Kissimmee several years ago for $95k. Low miles, one owner, mint condition. More than enough power, killer looks, roomy, comfy, BUT... the car rattled & squeaked so bad it was annoying to drive. Every ripple in the road, every bump, every pavement change caused loud rattles & squeaks that we never could find & fix. Sold it 6 monthes later for a $10k loss. Good riddance.
New Driver


"...phenomenally capable fast"?
Community Manager

Fixed it, thanks


I never saw an Aurora in any of the shops I was associated with between 2005 and 2019. I'm not sure when I last saw one moving under its own power. Cadillac Northstars are well known for their failings. Did the Aurora V8s installed in the Shelby Series 1 cars also have oil circulation, head gasket, and carbon build-up issues?

Cobras are valuable because they have impressive competition history and they combined classic sports car styling and handling with dependable Detroit V8s. The Series 1 has no competition history that I know of, has styling that is hard to get excited about, and whatever amazing road-holding it possesses might just hasten the demise of its frangible engine. Six figure valuations have more to do with modern monetary policy than they do with any lasting appeal of the car. I remember seeing a few of them at Symbolic in La Jolla almost twenty years ago. They're not entirely unattractive, but the GM components and switchgear combined with too much silver make them quite resistible in my opinion.


I think they're a good looking car, if you take away those goofy looking grill/vent/freakshow things on the sides. Get rid of that in favor of something tasteful and that would be a really good looking car. Then you have the whole "Oldsmobile mystique" (wow, it took me several attempts, with tongue firmly in cheek, to write that) that completely lets the assembly down. It's really too bad Mr. Shelby decided to go with GM on this.
Now if I had ever got one on the cheap, I'd be seriously interested in putting a Falconer V12 in there. Or maybe that Mercury Marine V12. Now that would be interesting. 🙂

Why isn’t it worth more?? One word....U G L Y!

Beat me to it.
Pit Crew

Great article. I did not realize Shelby had so many problems thanks to GM! That he was able to pull it off with what was total sabotage is to his credit! It is devastating to a designer to lose (1) your chosen engine and (2) your chosen rear transaxle and get an old school transmission up front.....even more so for Shelby. Shelby wanted to avoid the problem the Cobra had, which was cramped foortwells due to gearbox intrusion. Yet thanks to GM that's exactly what he got! Car would have been much more "exotic" with an Indy engine and a rear mounted transaxle.
Pit Crew

Thanks for the article. As much as I’m a fan of just about any interesting performance vehicle, these just don’t have it. 90’s egg shaped styling hasn’t held up well for a lot of vehicles, and this one has too much of that. 90’s plastic round edged interior parts don’t help, and a questionable powertrain choice and build quality are icing on the cake. As much as I love ol’ Shel’s legacy, there are much better examples of his accomplishments available.

My reasons for never caring for the Series 1s are that the body is very generic looking to me. Nothing spectacular but nothing unattractive either which reminds me of the Cadillac Allante. Another point is that I never see any color but silver on them. I know the stripes color varies but the main color being silver is not good for me. I hate silver. And then finally, when I was reading about these cars before they had been made, I was shocked and disappointed to see they were to have Oldsmobile engines. Yes, it was, what many thought at the time, the great Northstar engine. But for me Oldsmobile never exactly had the reputation of being a high-performance player and a 4.0 liter version? Were they kidding? 244 cubic inches?

These factors caused me to never have any interest in these cars. And my taste in automobiles is eclectic. But not enough to appreciate these.

To echo what has already been said by folks here— unfortunate styling. Pininfarina or Bertone should have been tasked with the design. I guess Shelby didn’t want a non-US association. I’ve always thought it looks like a 12 year old drew it in study hall. The only thing missing is a big wing.
Pit Crew

I know styling is subjective, but IMHO the Series 1 was a clumsy mess of a design with no subtlety whatsoever.
By almost any measureable driving standard, the Corvette of the time was a much better car (including that 1G grip) at 1/2 to 1/3 the price.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

werbyford and mozby75 wanted to know where I get my information concerning comments on the CID fibbing article but Hagerty would not allow me to reply. Sorry comrades. 1ST amendment means nothing here.

It is not old enough yet.

It took many years actually several decades for the Cobra to garner much attention. Before that it was an odd not worn out noisy race car. There was a time you could not give one away easily.

The series one in time will find its place it just not that time yet.

Many of today’s most valuable cars went for decades with few wanting them. The super birds, the Cobra, the Ferrari GTO was a down right bargain for Nick Mason.

Right now there is a ton of these series 1 with low miles because people expected instant classic. No now that they are selling and getting used in time they will see their value go up for good clean examples.

Over the last 30 years too many people bought cars to sit on and are now finding they were poor investments because they were one of many doing the same thing. This dirty little secret started with the 1978 Corvette Pace cars and continued with many other cars.

It is also why you can buy a good clean C6 now cheap as so many never drove them and just wiped them with a diaper.
New Driver

I have done extensive service and repairs on two Shelby 1 sportscars. I sincerely hope that I am never asked to work on another one. The reason their value is low is simple, it is not a very good automobile. To say it was difficult to work on is an understatement. Finding parts is beyond difficult. Honestly, I would rather deal with a driveway full of very tired old English cars than work on another Shelby 1. I hope that my two are the first and last.
Pit Crew

Designer Tom Tjaarda did a refresh on the front, side, and rear that made the car look much nicer. They only built 5 of them but you can see what they look like by looking up Shelby Series 2 on Google.

Two other issues. No real extensive racing history like the Cobra. Two it is a street car not an old race car. 

Also not every Shelby is worth a ton of money.