Horse Sense: Credit must go to Ford's drivetrain engineers for fitting the Shelby with a clutch, transmission, and rearend that will live up to 9-second strip passes in a two-ton car.
As sometimes happens with young siblings, there was polarizing disagreement within the Kordis household. Growing up, Greg's brother was a staunch Ford guy, while Greg Kordis himself had a strong allegiance for cross-town rival, Chevrolet (though we assume he was otherwise normal). Even the hormonal wisdom that accompanies puberty didn't improve the brand stand-off. In fact, no matter how much time passed, the Kordis brothers just couldn't see eye-to-eye. "He had his notchbacks and GTs," Greg says of his brother, "And I had my Camaros, and later on as I got older, Corvettes ..."
His list of Corvettes has included a Z06 and a couple older ZR-1s. He's also owned a Viper. OK-there was one previous Mustang, an '86 SVO, in Greg's vehicular portfolio, but it sounds like he bought that one mostly just to tick off his brother, who apparently wanted the red turbo hatchback badly. Greg simply beat him to the showroom and bought it first. Chevy guys have no heart.
But for Greg, the heartbeat began changing with the advent of the S197, particularly the factory-blown GT500, which appealed to the drag racer in him. So without even driving one, he ordered this white '08 Shelby, and soon headed for the track for some baseline passes. "I went a 12-oh at 116 with it, bone-stock with a set of drag radials," says Greg, with a note of satisfaction. Sometime prior, he had met Dan Millen, so wanting an immediate, initial round of mods, he called Dan's Livernois Motorsports. Dan sent him a pulley, a cold-air kit, and the accompanying calibration, to which the Shelby responded brilliantly with an 11.20 pass at 126 mph. "I was amazed the way the car responded to a simple pulley, tune, and filter," Greg admits. So naturally, he wanted more.
This time the GT500 went to the Livernois Motorsports shops for installation of a Whipple twin-screw blower, some headers, a few suspension mods, wheels, and a KR-style hood. "Dan was warning me about the short-block in the car," Greg tells us, "but pushing the limits like usual, I pushed it a little too far and we lost the original motor in the car-broke a couple rods." That was at 815 rwhp, so it's no wonder Mr. Millen was cautionary about the factory reciprocating hardware.
It's not that Greg ignored Dan's warning, but this was at the end of the race season, and he simply wanted to enter a shootout at Englishtown. The rods let go on the first pass. Greg was philosophical, saying "We were gonna build another motor anyway..."
The starting point for it was Ford Racing's wet-sump version of the Ford GT aluminum block, which was then fitted with Carrillo rods and Livernois-designed Diamond pistons for 9.3:1 compression. Matching Ford GT heads then went into the Livernois CNC porting station before being equipped with stock Ford GT cams. Whipple's 3.4-liter blower was nestled in between the heads, teamed with a Steeda heat exchanger, and fronted by FRPP's Cobra Jet throttle body. The supporting hardware is all detailed in our 5.0 Tech Specs sidebar, but the result of the exercise was a satisfying 862 rwhp and 798 lb-ft-pretty heady numbers from a stock 331 ci.
Dyno numbers are fine, but for Greg, the real proof comes at the dragstrip, and the newly christened "GT800" didn't disappoint, running a 9.85-second e.t. at over 144 mph. This was at 4,120 pounds (with driver), through a stock clutch and tranny, on M/T 325/50x15 drag radials and the fat 20s up front. Given the stock drivetrain, Greg says he uses a gentle launch technique and finds the Shelby amazingly consistent at banging off back-to-back high-9 passes.
It has 862 rwhp and looks practically stock underhood. The looks deceive, however, as the
But it's also still a fully functional, A/C- and ABS-equipped street ride, with room for Greg's wife and two young daughters. Greg really appreciates that he can bring the whole family along on his cruises, as it's something that none of his previous two-seat toys could accomplish. His wife apparently likes it too, since, as Greg jokes: "With the kids in the car, she knows I'm not going to go crazy..."
He also points out that the Shelby garners more positive spectator attention than even his Viper.
As we write this, Greg's GT800 is back at the Livernois shops for further upgrades over the winter. He and Dan have discussed the possibility of a twin-turbo kit, but Greg figures he'll likely opt for either the new Whipple 4.0-liter blower or Kenne Bell's 4.2-liter variant if for no other reason than "it's hard to find a class that will allow two power adders." So who knows? He may have to rename the car "GT900" or "GT1000" once it's done.
So has the Shelby done anything to alter Greg's brand allegiance? "Oh, definitely," he says, "We were talking about building a new Camaro, but I think I'd rather just stick with the Fords. The mods are there, the parts are there-you don't have to reinvent the wheel and anything I need is a phone call away." So if Greg's brother is reading this, he'll be glad to know that his wayward sibling has finally come over from the dark side.