Two automotive icons, legendary racer and manufacturer Carroll Shelby, and world-renowned racer, engineer and designer Jack Roush, have come together in their first vehicle collaboration project to join Ford in creating a one-off 2011 Mustang, the aviation-themed SR-71 “Blackbird.” The one-of-a-kind vehicle will be sold at the Gathering of Eagles July 29 during the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) 2010 AirVenture Oshkosh. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the Young Eagles.
The “SR-71” designation holds a dual meaning for the one-of-a-kind, fully-customized Mustang, according to Ford officials. First, “SR-71” refers to the car’s design and performance-inspired connection with the SR-71 Blackbird, the aircraft that holds all official airspeed and altitude records and is widely regarded as one of the most spectacular planes ever produced. Second, “SR” represents the first collaborative project between Shelby and Roush. Mustang Chief Designer Darrell Behmer led design for the project and Mustang Chief Nameplate Engineer Dave Pericak led the engineering effort. Ford Racing Performance Parts also were added to further enhance the exclusivity of the car.
“Ford Motor Company’s historic tie to aviation is no better represented than by the company’s commitment as a continued partner of EAA and AirVenture, a celebration of flight here in Oshkosh that is unmatched anywhere else in the world,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman and president. “Ford’s generosity in donating the Mustang SR-71 ‘Blackbird’ to the Gathering of Eagles further demonstrates a dedication to supporting aviation and inspiring aviation enthusiasts of all ages.”
In 2008, Ford’s inaugural vehicle specially-built in support of the Young Eagles, the one-of-a-kind Mustang AV8R, raised a record $500,000 for the charity. “The excitement around the 2008 AV8R, our first one-off Mustang ever produced, inspired us to push for another first, the collaboration of Carroll Shelby and Jack Roush,” said Edsel B Ford II, a member of Ford’s Board of Directors. “This year’s SR-71 Blackbird is a special tribute to Ford’s lineage of performance vehicles, as well as to the promising innovators of EAA’s Young Eagles.” Ford vehicles sold at auction during past EAA AirVenture events have collectively raised more than $1 million to support the Young Eagles.
The Mustang SR-71 “Blackbird” is Build #1 of 1 and is based on a 2011 Mustang GT 5.0 with the glass roof option. Ford Racing performance modifications (Supercharger, Handling Pack, tuned exhaust, and exhaust tips) generate 100 additional horsepower from the all-aluminum 5.0L 32-valve V8 engine. The special racing Handling Pack optimizes the performance experience and lowers the ride height by one inch.
From there, the car takes on a design personality similar to that of the original SR-71 Blackbird aircraft, Ford officials note. The Mustang’s design theme includes black and gray matte exterior paint with SR-71 themed graphic treatment, performance wheels, front and rear fascias and an integrated spoiler/wing to reflect the car’s connection with its namesake aircraft, which made its inaugural flight in 1964, the year the first Ford Mustang came off the line. The “Blackbird” nickname is reflected in the car’s exterior paint treatment, complete with markings from the liquids which leaked and streaked until the plane came up to speed.
The interior cockpit will seat only two and includes a roll-cage, racing seats and fire extinguisher. The signatures of Jack Roush and Carroll Shelby are embroidered into the seats, and special gauges and instrument cluster graphics have been added. The Mustang SR-71 “Blackbird” also features an appliqué autograph area capturing Roush and Shelby’s signatures.
Additionally, Ford and EAA will give AirVenture attendees the chance to win a 2011 Mustang GT convertible and other cash prizes in a raffle, with proceeds benefiting the EAA Young Eagles program.