Around the 1990s, Mr. Carroll Shelby and the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) began a joint venture to produce a 'spec' racer that could compete in both amateur 'Club Racing' and could later evolve into a Pro-Series car.
The frame was designed by David Bruns and was given an engine bay able to accept a V6 engine rated at 500 horsepower. Top speed was estimated in the neighborhood of 200 mph. The Club Racing cars had a 3.3-liter Pushrod Dodge V6 rated at 255 horsepower. There was a cast-iron block with cast-aluminum heads tuned by Shelby. Tuning to the engines included Mahle forged pistons, a dry sump lubrication system, manifold port throttle body fuel injection, and tuned headers. When completed, the engines were sealed with rebuilding performed only by Shelby. The cars had a four-speed, purpose built, Weismann four-speed transaxle that was part of a stressed chassis member, supporting the wing and rear suspension. Ventilated disc brakes could be found on all four corners. They were clothed in wedge-shaped bodies designed by Peter Brock.
These were heavy cars weighing around 1820lbs, but since their competition was 'themselves', it did not matter. It was intended as a level playing field where most talented driver would win the race. Wallet size was not a factor in determining the victor.
The goal was to build 200 cars; each car would have its own uniquely numbered dash plaque. Only 76 cars were ever constructed, partly because of the cost. For $35,000 a box of parts were shipped to the owner who would then have to assemble the car, an investment of over 100 hours.
The inaugural race for the Shelby Pro Series was in 1990 at Road Atlanta. The series lasted until 1996 with the final races being the Runoffs at Mid-Ohio. Only three cars competed for the last amateur National Championship.
Wally Gerhardt purchased the rights and inventory to the Shelby cars. 29 cars were shipped to South Africa and competed in a series.
The SCCA has classified the Shelby CanAm cars in their C Sports Racer (CSR) category and are eligible for Regional and National competition.