How did a lanky chicken farmer from Texas become the most recognizable speed merchant in America? By building some of the rawest performance machines ever made.

Jalopnik readers are here to show you the crème de la crème of Shelby cars.

Of course, when writing about "favorite" Shelbys you're inviting vigorous debate. We love the Shelby Street Fighter Rampage based on name and El Caminoness alone, but we're strange. The ten cars he represent a range of cars we (and anyone with a brain) love.

Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers.

Photo Credit: Otis Blank

10.) 427 Cobra

Suggested By: Joe_Limon

Why it's a standout: The 427 is an upgrade of the original Cobra formula. Take that car, upgrade the chassis and suspension, throw in a bigger engine (naturally), and voila: the 427 is born. This model also serves as the standard example for kit-cars and copy cats to emulate, as it's the most bulging and muscular of all the Cobras.

Photo Credit: Otis Blank

9.) Dodge Omni GLH-S

Suggested By: Straightsix 9904

Why it's a standout: You'll notice that most (ok, all) of the other vehicles on this list are traditional sports cars-coupes, roadsters, mid-engined racers and the like. This is an '80s economy car from Dodge.


What makes it worthy? Well, the intercooled, turbo, 175 horsepower Shelby version could sprint to sixty faster than a couple Ferraris back in '86. It was among the first American cars to show that performance could come in a practical, small car package. That and GLH-S stood for "Goes Like Hell Some-more."

Photo Credit: Jim Culp

8.) Dodge Viper

Suggested By: RazoE

Why it's a standout: The original Dodge Viper isn't the first (or probably even the tenth) car that comes to mind when someone mentions Shelby. The old man was still working for Chrysler at the time of the Viper's development and helped sketch out the design of the whole project. It makes sense, though, because Bob Lutz was looking to create a reborn Cobra and few cars have captured its essence quite like the Viper.

Photo Credit: Dodge

7.) 2013 GT500 Super Snake

Suggested By: Joe_Limon

Why it's a standout: When Caroll Shelby passed away recently, the world lost an innovator and an icon. Of course there was a funeral, and memorial service, and tributes throughout the country and the internet, but no commemoration of his passing was more apt than this. The 850-horsepower, entirely modern and completely insane Super Snake ensures that although the man may have died, his legacy lives on in exactly the right way.

Photo Credit: Shelby

6.) 1967 Mustang GT500

Suggested By: SennaMP4

Why it's a standout: Shelby initially described the Mustang as a "secretary's car," but agreed to work his magic on it nonetheless. He created both the GT350 first, but when he put a Police Interceptor motor into his winning Mustang he created the GT500. The car was so incredible that its name lives to this day. Frankly, it's better in its original form than as an "Eleanor" with tacky lights and NOS — just so that's clear.

Photo Credit: Alden Jewell/Shelby

5.) Cobra Super Snake

Suggested By: archovist

Why it's a standout: The Super Snake takes a racing Cobra, makes it just street legal, and then slaps on two superchargers. If you told your psychiatrist you wanted to do this, you'd get reported for expressing a desire to harm yourself or others. Shelby built one for himself and one for Bill Cosby, who couldn't handle it and sold it to a guy who lost control and drove it into the Pacific Ocean.

Photo Credit: Barrett-Jackson

4.) GT350 H

Suggested By: My X-type is too a real Jaguar

Why it's a standout: The H in this model's name doesn't stand for any substantial performance upgrade, which usually bothers us around here (look no further than "S-lines" and "M-sports"). What the H stands for is Hertz, the rental car company to whom this race-winning Mustang was exclusively sold. The GT350 H is the originator of "rent, hoon, repeat."

Photo Credit: Mike Pavlas

3.) The First Cobra

Suggested By: Bullitt417 is lowering his Mustang GT

Why it's a standout: Big engine plus small car is the simplest formula for a fast car. And while many have followed this righteous path, none have done it as beautifully as Shelby's original Cobra. Taking the body of a '50s British roadster, beefing up quite a bit, and shoving in a V8 created a car whose performance is impressive by today's standards, and was absolutely ludicrous at the time of its release.

Photo Credit: Shelby

2.) Daytona Coupe

Suggested By: For Sweden

Why it's a standout: The Daytona is more than just a Cobra coupe, it's a 23-year-old designer penning a car that ate Ferraris for breakfast. Shelby only ever made six of these, the real American GTO.

Photo Credit: Brad Fox

1.) GT40 Mk IV

Suggested By: StreetsideStig

Why it's a standout: The original GT40 was a lot like a James Bond film — you're not really sure when it's American and when it's British. The Mk IV was totally corn-fed, designed and built in the USA with Shelby's good old homegrown V8 power. It beat the pride of Europe at Le Mans in 1967 with an American team, American engines, and American drivers. America!

Photo Credit: The Henry Ford