Picture a pickup truck built by Shelby. What do you see? Cool stripes and spoilers, plus a performance engine under the hood? That's exactly what Shelby has done with its GT-150--but don't expect to find one in the local Ford dealership any time soon.
This Shelby GT-150 is a POC (proof of concept) vehicle, which we first photographed at the production facility of Unique Performance in Farmers Branch, Texas, and again a week later at the 2007 Barrett-Jackson classic-car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. For the record, a bidder paid $104,500 for this high-performance Shelby truck. That's a lot of money, but a lot of truck for the price. All the Shelby-added one-off parts on this vehicle are unique to the GT-150. Functionally, this SuperCab Shelby is a legal prototype.
In 2005, Shelby Automobiles and Unique Performance began developing a high-performance truck based on the Ford F-150. One of only three in the world, this 2006 Shelby F-150 concept was built to fill the void of the discontinued Lightning. Unique also builds the Shelby GT500E "Continuation" fastbacks.
In the last few years, Unique has begun to produce limited high-performance vehicles. For the engineering and validation required to manufacture new cars and trucks, Unique teamed with Tecstar, a top OEM supplier and manufacturer based in Troy, Michigan. The first vehicle to come out of that association was the 2006 Foose Stallion Mustang available in Ford showrooms.
A Shelby pickup would fill a niche in the F-150 lineup with the departure of the popular Ford Lightning in 2004. Doug Hasty, Unique's president and CEO, was eager to put such a truck on the road. Shelby also wanted into the truck market. At the 2004 SEMA show in Las Vegas, Shelby Automobiles had displayed a Shelby Expedition, another concept vehicle. However, as the Expedition was then approaching a changeover in its design, the F-150 became the higher priority.
Unique Performance hired Joe Iacono to design a Shelby truck. Hasty asked for a fresh approach, something race-inspired that would tie into Shelby's legacy and what he's doing today.
Iacono, a 29-year-old automotive artist and designer from Northern California, has been gaining a reputation as one of the most prolific designers in the industry. Iacono designed and coordinated many traditional hot rods, aftermarket concepts, and niche-market production vehicles.
Unique Performance and BCII Productions recently chose Iacono to design eight custom aftermarket vehicle concepts for upcoming episodes of the new show "Payback" to air on the Speed Channel during the second quarter of 2007. Hasty calls Iacono an "up-and-coming talent with a lot of creativity." Unique also worked with Joe on the HHR for General Motors, which was featured on the hit show "Rides" on The Learning Channel.