Words by Steve Statham
When Team Shelby members Bill and Shelley Strauch wired funds to an Olympia, Washington, Ford dealer for a down payment on their 2014 GT500, they didn’t just buy a Shelby Mustang, they bought a new lifestyle.
The two quickly became regulars at Shelby events, as well as at the Las Vegas headquarters of Shelby American. “We have a good time participating with the group down there at Shelby,” Bill said. “We fly there six or seven times a year. Go down and see the crew in Las Vegas, and we have several times had lunch brought in for the crew. It’s one of those ways of giving back to the group of workers and the team down there that makes these dreams come true, and sees to it that things are done right.”
It’s not every company that can build a product that earns that kind of owner loyalty, but Shelby Mustangs have a way of doing that. And the Strauch’s Ruby Red Shelby GT500 is a cut above the usual. Bill turned it over to Shelby American for installation of a Super Snake package, and then followed it up a few months later with the Holeshot upgrade, which delivered 980 horsepower.
“Everything about the car has been maintained and taken care of by Shelby down in Las Vegas,” Bill said. “Hugo Jimenez and Randall LaViolette are the people that are on the team that signed off on the car. We’ve got a special plaque that I asked for, that is signed by the two of them. Hugo is the chief mechanic on building the car, and Randall dealt with the tuning and any special issues with the car.”
Needless to say, the Strauch’s Super Snake is something special, and they treat it that way. “The car basically is kept in brand-new condition. It’s as clean as it was when we bought it brand-new from Ford.” They trailer it every year to the Shelby Bash, where they typically rack up 300 or 400 miles participating in the various events
Bill described 2017 as “an adventurous year, with us driving the car during the 50th anniversary of the GT500 during the Team Shelby Bash. We put nearly 500 miles on the car throughout Las Vegas. The car won a Class Winner Team Shelby award.
Along the way, Bill has also put his Super Snake through its paces. He once found a suitable stretch of test pavement and reports he’s taken it up to 175 mph.
But most of the car’s life is spent at more down-to-earth speeds. The Strauchs are active in the Pacific Northwest Team Shelby region. “I have the Oregon Region area, and we actively work with Brian Bogdon, who’s our Pacific Northwest Director,” Bill said. “We coordinate a couple events that he’s got set up.”
The Super Snake gets a lot of exposure on the car show circuit. “We mostly have ours for show events. We’re active with MCA, Mustang Wranglers of Oregon, and SAAC Northwest.” Bill says he’s always working on spreading the word. “We do a lot of promoting when we go to shows. I’ve always got Team Shelby literature on the front of the car, under the hood.”
The Strauch’s fire-breathing Shelby GT500 Super Snake may seem unstoppable, but it recently encountered a temporary speedbump—the psychological barrier of 9,996 miles. “I couldn’t face crossing that 10,000 mark this year,” Bill said with a laugh. No doubt the car will overcome that minor obstacle in 2019