2008 Ford Shelby F150 Super Snake - Making The Transition
Performance With A Bed Or Simply Snake Oil?
Shelby is as American as baseball and apple pie, so when we caught wind of an F-150 Super Snake prototype, our red, white, and blue adrenaline was spiked for some tire-roasting truck fun. Just imagine the mayhem that would ensue once all the Shelby Mustang owners catch a glimpse of the distinctive front fascia, hood, and stripes-only to realize it's an F-150 blowing by them and not a fellow Mustang enthusiast. The numbers are intriguing: 475 supercharged horses, six-piston Baer brakes behind 22-inch wheels, dual Borla exhaust, and everything can be had for under $30K (plus the original price of your F-150). Our question was, can Shelby make the transition from years of Mustang know-how to a market where they'd be engineering go-fast parts for a heavy truck weighing nearly one-ton more. The answer is complicated.
Shelby makes appearance and performance parts for any '04-'08 F-150, equipped with the 5.4L Triton V-8, that can be combined into a package or purchased separately to satisfy individual needs. For the F-150 Super Snake, they combined the best of the appearance package with the best of the performance package to create an exclusive Ford truck that will have you receiving thumbs up from car and truck gearheads alike.
For the Super Snake appearance package, the F-150 receives a unique front fascia with mesh grille insert, custom fiberglass hood with distinctive Shelby styling, matte black vinyl stripe kit, and numerous scoops and vents along the body. Keeping with the form meets function mantra, the front bumper receives brake cooling ducts, real carbon-fiber air splitter, and the rear tonneau cover also has a kick-up for better aerodynamics. The drop in ride height is courtesy of a DJM Suspension 2/4 lowering kit. Shelby teamed with Alcoa to produce the handsome 22-inch multi-spoke wheels and Baer was sourced for the XL pizza-sized 15-inch rotors and six-piston aluminum calipers. All of those parts are important, but what makes the Snake super, is under the hood.
Teaming up with Ford Racing/Whipple, Shelby's F-150 Super Snake is powered by a supercharged 5.4L pumping out a claimed 475 hp. The 2.3L twin-screw supercharger features a complete intake manifold, Ford Racing's ProCal tuning tool with special Shelby calibration, and high-flow open-air intake. Also exclusive to the Super Snake, Shelby incorporates many of the Mustang underhood dress-up items like the radiator cap, brake master cylinder cap, power steering cap, and oil cap. Attention to detail is impressive.
Inside the Shelby F-150, black leather seats with red suede racing stripes instantly catch your attention and the Super Snake logo, along with Carroll Shelby's signature in the headrests, let you know that this is no ordinary Ford. On the dash, an individually numbered Shelby badge provides authenticity, while a Shelby/Kicker sound system keeps the tunes front and center.
While on paper the truck looks like a real performer, we found the truck to be less dialed in than the previous Ford tuner trucks we've driven, mainly the Saleen and Roush F-150s. Whereas power is smooth and comes on strong, when pushed, the suspension doesn't display the same balance as the rest of the truck. What it feels like to us is a suspension drop that hasn't been tuned with upgraded shocks and because of this, the handling suffers. Ride quality on the 22-inch wheels is very impressive, but try and throw the 5,381-pound truck into a corner and body roll diminishes any confidence in the Ford's ability. For the F-150 or Mustang enthusiast, the Shelby F-150 Super Snake may just be the solution to a family-friendly performance truck that looks like a Shelby should, but performs more in line with a snake that isn't quite super.