This is a kit I’ve wanted to build for so long now and have had quite literally all the chances in the world to do so but never really got around to. Why? Well, it’s a kit of which there are… a lot; Revell has released it three times in 8 years and it isn’t exactly the most popular kit albeit it still seriously good stuff. I mean, based on my experiences and what other folks bark on about, modern stuff just doesn’t get the sales like 1950s-1970s stuff gets. And that’s totally fine, ain’t no problem with a kit for people like me who likes the modern stuff too. Besides, Revell ran this tool for every buck it was worth. Three ’10 GT500 kits, three ’10 Mustang GT kits, the ’10 Convertible(which is a snapper but still has the basic body mold) two releases of the ’13 Boss 302, the ’14 Mustang GT in both plastic and metal body version, and a pre-painted one on top of that.
But this saturation is a good thing; who the hell else would’ve made a full detail Ford Mustang kit post-2006 these days? I ain’t a betting man but I don’t see Round 2 doing a fucking thing anymore with new tools, merely updating old and existing ones. Which too, is fine, but it’s a damn shame that’s where that particular buck ends. What’s also a damn shame is that Revell hasn’t made a Shelby Mustang post-2010, probably a licensing thing as it usually is but so be it, at least there’s this one. And Plamoz makes a Shelby GT500 kit for the 2013 model year, or well, used to, believe it’s been out of stock since 2016 or something, but maybe you might get lucky on eBay!
As far as ‘the last modern Shelby by Revell’ goes, it’s a fitting one. Carroll Shelby is one of those names that carries so much weight, so much prestige and I swear, that guy was automotive royalty cause he rubbed elbows with so Goddamn many big names, you honestly would start to believe the guy was made up. He started off in the 1950s as an amateur racer, driving Aston Martins and even getting the Sports Illustrated “driver of the year” award back to back in 1956 and 1957. I mean, he was also a fuckin’ decorated flying instructor during the war from 1942 through 1945, ending his USAF career as a second lieutenant, but that’s just a footnote, go figure. He ‘retired’ from grand prix racing in 1959 to, well, do all the other things he’s done in his life. Okay that’s a bit of a lie, he really stopped on account of his health, having been born with a heart defect that had him on nitroglycerin every day of his life and cause he had according to his memoirs plenty of near death experiences in just the 1950s alone to want to be involved in just about anything else other than being behind the wheel.
Carroll Shelby as we know him truly made his mark in the 1960s, specifically 1962. Shelby has long been fixated on a little British company called “AC Cars”, standing for ‘Auto Carriers’. Specifically, he had his eye on the merit of the AC Ace. A small roadster that was designed up in 1952 in post-war Britain as a fun grand tourer for the masses. Weighing in at 871kg(1920lbs) that was pretty damn fast, pretty damn maneuverable and pretty damn pretty all at once. It was powered by a 2.0L straight-six Bristol Cars engine which was only sourced from them because AC’s own straight-six had been nearly 35 years old by this time(originating from 1919) however they ran into a bunch of trouble when Bristol Cars stopped making this particular straight-six in 1961, it basically meant the end for the AC sports car as their own antiquated I6 engine barely produced two thirds of what the Bristol engine did and weighed a good bunch more to boot. And cue Carroll Shelby entering the scene, who brokered two deals: he contacted AC Cars to secure a couple of AC Ace’s that were modified to accept a V8 engine. They complied on the circumstance that he could deliver the V8.
First, Shelby contacted Chevrolet to secure its popular V8 engine used in the Corvette. Chevrolet said no, as they didn’t want to help create a competitor to the Corvette. He then contacted Ford, who, and I don’t know if you can believe this, really didn’t mind providing two engines that could be the start of a great competitor to the Corvette. He was given, on credit, two brand new Ford 221ci Windsor engines, which were already by then known as lightweight, thin-walled small blocks that could churn out an unbelievable amount of power for its size. In 1963, they essentially had it nailed down; the AC Cobra. A lightweight, slightly changed version(mostly to accommodate the 260ci V8 and the improved power that it brought) that was hardier, quicker, better, stronger and generally one of the most epic cars from the 1960s. That right there was Shelby’s greatest accomplishment, you’d say. Well, within two years he’d have perfected the AC Cobra’s design for competitive racing, creating the bubble-roofed Shelby Cobra Daytona with improved aerodynamics, and everything else, it was a partnership of the Gods. Unfortunately, while Shelby and Ford went hand-in-hand from there on out trying to kick Ferrari’s ass on the circuit, AC Cars kind of faltered as time went on, trying to make more versions of Shelby’s perfected AC Cobra until 1968 with reasonable success, although bordering the seventies they made investments in things that just didn’t turn out profitable, or even doable and as the seventies kicked on, being a luxury car manufacturer was just the kiss of death as the western world entered a recession.
Fortunately, before that all happened, Shelby went and somehow eclipsed his AC Cobra and his Shelby Daytona. His work on the Ford GT40 is one of the most legendary moments in motor sports. And I promise, pinky-promise these are the last two paragraphs I’ll dedicate to Shelby before this article about a model kit ends up being a booklet on man-drools-over-car-guy. The 1960s rivalry between Ferrari and Ford isn’t unique, there’s been plenty of owner rivalries and some were more ferocious and others were more subdued, but nothing quite ever had the slam-dunk go fuck yourself turnaround like Ford’s smashing of Ferrari. Ferrari had won every single LeMans from 1960 through 1965 and Ford really, really wanted to make this streak be ended, so they hired Carroll Shelby still rocking the Shelby Daytona fame, to make the necessary changes to make the GT40 a winner.
Now there’s a lot, and I do mean a lot I’m leaving out on here on account of not bloating the ever loving hell out of this article, like how Enzo Ferrari contacted Henry Ford II(long story short, Ferrari was strapped for cash and contacted Lee Iacocca, then VP of Ford) to sell Ferrari to Ford Motor Co. in 1963, but abruptly backed down when Fiat gave them a more lucrative deal involving Ferrari being able to personally run his racing team despite the merger, this after millions(in ’63 money even) were spent already to make this possible, Ford II later finding out that Enzo Ferrari backed out of the deal out of spite. And how Lotus, Lola and Cooper under the supervision of Aston Martin ex-team manager John Wyer put together the first running prototypes of the Ford GT which performed so miserably, that the GT40s were hauled over to Carroll Shelby even in their dirty and crashed states, which really makes it clear how badly Ford II wanted this program to work. And how many famous racers and other people Shelby rubbed elbows with in this time time-span like A.J. Foyt, Bruce McLaren, Dan Gurney and so on. Their combined magic of engineering skills, managerial skills and outright prowess on the track had them not only snag the LeMans title from Enzo Ferrari in 1966, they kept on doing it for three more years. The moral of the whole GT40 story is a simple one: don’t piss off Ford II.
Shelby’s been part of so many great things in car history, even the dark ages of the 1980s had a bright-spot thanks to the man, like his work at Chrysler in 1983, making specialized performance packages for the newly created Chrysler platforms, like the Dodge Omni and Dodge Daytona. He called ’em the “GLHS”, which legitimately means “goes like hell ‘some”. And they did, the Omni GLHS is a idiotically fast hatchback. It was turbo-charged, tuned up the wazoo and the whole handling package was overhauled to translate the new gained power into something that could actually deal with it, suspension, brakes, roll-bars, so forth. And uh, ah shit here I am droning on again. Anyhow, the Shelby-Ford relationship never really died, they just parted ways while the world kind of self-imploded, and they were always ready to begin work on things again together. In ’04, he produced together with Ford, modern take on the Shelby Cobra, of course it never left the concept stage. Then again ’06, this time a Shelby take on the modern Ford GT, which also didn’t leave the concept stage. But the real partnership returned with the updated Ford Mustang for ’05, as a piece of proof to Ford that he still had it. The so called Shelby Mustang CS6, apparently made a bit of noise enough for Shelby to begin work on a GT500 for 2006(the story around the CS6 is also interesting; he tuned a V6 to outperform the Ford V8 which Ford made him, well, stop producing cause they were worried it would hurt the V8’s sales).
And there we are, as Ford’s and Shelby’s partnership with official packages were reignited, so were the model kits around Shelby. Revell got the license to do the then new Mustang, creating the Mustang GT kit – which is still one of the better Mustang kits on the market, bar those stupid wheel pins. And barely a year later they had updated the tool to produce a Shelby GT500 kit for the 2007 year, again a very, very good kit bar the damn wheel pins. Hell, Revell would end up doing nearly every single official model that Shelby had a hand in designing; the 2007 Shelby GT-H which was a Hertz Rentals limited-run to give them unique rentals, Revell did a kit on that one in 2012. The rather rare and quite staggeringly aggressive “King of the Road” version, the ’07 Shelby GT500KR which they also did a kit of in the same year, and it kind of goes on until unfortunately, 2012. Shelby, at the age of 88, passed away at home. They never disclosed a cause of death but many assume his life-long heart problems, his older age, his other various health issues and so might’ve taken their toll on the old gentleman’s body. His last piece of work was the Shelby GT500 for the 2012 model year, which when he was asked what he thought of it, he says it was pretty damn nice.
Maybe the firm that owned his trademarks just didn’t bother to do licensing anymore, maybe the price jumped, no-one but those involved in the actual business know for certain, but no new Shelby Mustang kits were produced after his death. The 2012 release of the ’07 Shelby GT-H was the last one. The kit in question, technically, was the second to last it turns out. Kind of a bummer, given the legacy and the sheer quality of the Revell Mustang kits, especially of the current generation. They really stand a mile ahead of AMT, whose modern attempts on the Camaro and Challenger are quite good, hell you could say great, but Revell still clinches the title for best. The quality just sits higher, the decals are just more expanded, the build quality is also just… miles ahead. I mean, don’t get me wrong there’s also plenty that could’ve been improved on but those issues usually go to the “steal quality of life improvements from the Japanese, thank you” corner.
Like, the mold quality is crisp as can be, it’s sharp and mostly devoid of mold lines besides a very few faint ones that are generally hidden under something else or inside something so it’s hidden by the time its finished. To name a example, Revell hid the molding seam for the body itself at the C-pillar running along the body line into the trunk lid, which honestly I only spotted cause I had to remove a chip of stray plastic, otherwise I couldn’t even tell you. The tires are as close to Asian quality as we’re gonna get by the Americans, it’s solid and sleeves over the wheel without any pressure, the detail on the interior is something that I shit you not is so damn high that I’m kind of sad there’s no means of really showing it once the body is on. The engine bay is nice and crowded, with radiator and coolant hosing actually included in the plastic for a friggin’ change.
I did add a boatload to the engine bay itself, I wired up the entire engine, hoses and all, which actually is fun to do on a modern car as you don’t see it too often anymore. I don’t know if its aesthetic by choice or just so that Joe Everybody doesn’t begin tugging at hanging wires when checking his engine, but the fact that every automaker these days hides their engine and all its components under a plastic lid or make all the previously exposed wiring neatly tucked away under the bodywork or engine pieces but I actually really miss the mechanical look of it all. To me at least, cars are the perfect blend of old fashioned human ingenuity sleeved in a metal artwork, and popping the hood is the middle ground where those two worlds meet. Now even that area is mostly hidden, as if it’s hiding its shame or something.
Poetic bullshit aside, while the kit is absolutely superb and just like any of the other Mustang kits by Revell from 2004 onwards, it does have its fair share of issues. Starting with a quality of life problem I’ve had with Revell’s kits for damn near a decade and a half now; stop using little metal pins for the wheels. Machined bare metal does not fit plastic, namely cause you need to adjust whatever the pin needs to go in as it never fits and you can’t glue the cap that holds the pin in the wheel as metal, glue and plastic are not one to really wanna stay, even when using superglue. Not only is it bar none the worst way of keeping wheels on a model kit, forcing the wheel in place often damages the axle or something similar and even then there’s a one in two chance it just… falls off. If this is their way of saying that this is how they achieve rolling wheels, then let me redirect you to Tamiya, Aoshima, Hasegawa and Fujimi who have been using the polycap method for forty fucking years which not only makes assembly easy and satisfying, it has the added benefit of it never requiring blunt force and it even allows for easily exchanging wheels, opening a whole market of aftermarket wheels for them, by them.
Seriously, Revell USA’s method for the wheels has been grating me for years now and it’s just never seen improvement. At least Revell of Germany’s engineering now doesn’t fully depend on this dumb method, but even if they do… so be it. It’ll always be a pain in the ass. The other problem I had with this kit is more a user error one than a Revell one, or at least so I believe, I honestly don’t know for sure. Somewhere, somehow, the chassis and interior was fully preventing the body from meeting the chassis. There’s so many possible areas where it might be causing a problem, it can be the door cards, it can be the dashboard, it can be the firewall or some errand plastic on the interior tub, but it just flatout refused to stay where it needs to be. So now it has a massive ride height and it’s impossible to fix on account of the kit’s rather nice and complex suspension set up.
The kit is otherwise superb, and it was a good ol’ time putting it together. Can Revell stand to benefit to get with the times and learn from other companies and change their methods up nowadays with things like locator pins, other wheel systems and perhaps putting items on sprues that relate to those parts, like body panels with body pieces, engine with engine and not a pick and mix? Absolutely they can, but since they are one of the what, two remaining American(or rather nowadays German, woo woo Europe!) model kit companies that still churns out entirely new releases like the upcoming ’69 Chevelle, I’m more than willing to look right past any build issues. And given the world right now is getting bend over a table by COVID-19, half of us are forced to stay indoors – having these well produced kits is a wonderful thing to have. And since Revell’s produced around a billion of these Mustang kits since 2011, they’re readily available too! Also it was nice building box stock for a change and focusing my efforts on the engine rather than doing all the decal hassle, little happy moments.
’10 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 specifications:
Skill Level: 2
Molded in: White