The “Lost” Shelby? SCCA Shelby Can-Am Spec Racer
Many people aren’t familiar with the term “Spec Racer”… So, let’s get that out of the way real quick.
Spec Racers are cars that are built as identically as possible for a racing series. The rules go far beyond those for most racing series, perhaps even requiring that all engines be built by the same vendor and sealed. The biggest advantage of a Spec Racing Series is that it is VERY oriented toward the driver’s talents, rather than the car designer or builder. There isn’t a technology or money advantage available to one team over another.
There have been a variety of spec racing series over the years, ranging from the VW Cup, to Porsche Cup and then Sport Renault (later Spec Racer Ford). Back in 1990, Shelby rolled out the Shelby Can-Am at the Runoffs at Road Atlanta. I was photographing the event for SportsCar Magazine, and had the chance to see the introduction. However, the series was short-lived, and last ran at the National level in 1996. Only 76 of the planned 200 cars were built.
They were (and are) pure race cars. Although power comes from a modest 255hp 3.3L Dodge V-6 (often derided as a “minivan motor”), it was well built and didn’t require a lot of attention (good thing, because ONLY Shelby was to service the engine internally while they were active race cars).
Recently, I was at Road Atlanta for ReZoom’s track day. One of the cars that was running that weekend was #075… one of the last Shelby Can-Am cars to be built. My son LOVED the car. He enjoyed the other cars he saw at the track, but this car was the most “real” to him. It wasn’t a street car modified to race, it was a purpose built race car. It didn’t even look like a street car.
I liked the concept when I saw it in 1990, and I still like it.