The 1971 Shelby

April 1, 2022
by Peter Disher

The 1971 Shelby was the Shelby that never happened. I thought it would be fun to look at the 1971 Shelby and show you what it would have looked like.

Certainly, I am aware of the extremely, limited production 1971 Europas that were built. Those cars were not built by Shelby. I have studied the cars, because I think we can take some clues from them. Let's see how the US version may have looked. Planning for the 1971 model year began as early as 1968. The Shelby and Ford planners already knew that the cars would be bigger.

The sketches show the wider body. You also see some of the syling features of the 1969 models. During our experiment, we will see how the cars evolved.

This early model, created in 1968, shows a Mustang. You can already see some of the styling cues. The opening on the front fender and the grille set back from the body.

We know this design, just a few months later, is a styling concept for the 1971 Shelby. Most people are immediately turned off by the nose. The important thing to remember is - this is just a concept. Shelby would have to work with the Mustang production models and they almost certainly would have been more conservative. A single, large NASA scoop replaces three smaller ones.

The other side of this car shows us some different ideas. This model is a coupe. I dont think its unrealistic to believe a fastback and convertible would have also been in the line up.

So, if we followed the evolution and took some of the styling cues, perhaps this is what the 1971 Shelby might have looked like from the front. Not too bad. Cetainly, better than the styling model. The picture has been photo-shopped.