Somewhere out in the universe, Carroll Shelby - his black cowboy hat pulled low - must be grinning at the stars.
And with pretty good reason, I think. The always unpredictable Shelby would be greatly amused by one of his most unlikely new cars, the 2013 Shelby Focus ST.
That's right, Focus - as in fourdoor econobox, 40 miles per gallon, two screeching kids in the back, groceries rolling around in the hatch.
As you know, Shelby left his deepest marks on the auto industry with bellowing, tire-smoking Cobras and Mustangs that spit fire from cylinders as big as paint cans.
Most can still buckle asphalt with their caustic, mega-horsepower idles.
But Shelby, ever the contrarian, especially liked small, intense cars with great reflexes and muscled-up little engines - sort of mayhem lite.
Remember his four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive Shelby Dodge GLH-S from the late 1980s? It was a compact box with ferocious turbo acceleration, great grip and a bunch of eye-opening quirks.
Although the Shelby Focus ST arrived months after Shelby's death last year, I'm pretty sure he would highly approve.
Straight from Ford, the limitedproduction, 252-horsepower ST is a stiff, canyon-carving sedan capable of ripping to 60 mph in 6 seconds.
But the whole point in most Shelbys is to transform a good street car into a street and track terrorist, increasing its horsepower, handling and - of course - attitude.
Here's the deal, though, with the Shelby Focus: You have to provide a Focus ST to Shelby American in Las Vegas (at a cost new of about $25,000) and then lay out another $15,000 for the Shelby modifications.
I'll let you decide how much value there is in a $40,000 Focus hot rod. At least it would be rare, with Shelby American planning to build only 500 a year.
Shelby American says the modified Shelby is still capable of getting the stock ST's fuel economy - 22 mpg in town and 32 on the highway. I got about 15 to 17 miles per gallon, judging by the fuel I appeared to be burning through.
Maybe the Shelby doesn't make a lot of dollar sense. As with all special cars, though, I looked forward to opening the garage every morning and slipping the key into the ignition.
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