The Opening Night Gala at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. Most attendees this year did not anticipate the surprise announcement from Shelby American, who sponsored the gala.

Celebrating the 45th anniversary of the 427 Cobra and Shelby G.T.350, Shelby also announced plans to build a new G.T.350 Mustang. It will be based on the upcoming 2011 Mustang GT, with its new 5.0-liter V8 engine and first-ever 6-speed manual transmission. Adding a Ford Racing/Whipple supercharger to the 4-cam engine is expected to lift the power output to "the realm of 500 HP." With the Ford-sourced blower, it is expected that the normal powertrain warranty will apply.

Check out more of this story about the GT350 announcement at Shelby American

Photos: Shelby American

As previously reported, Shelby will no longer produce the mass-market Shelby GT for Ford dealers, so post-title production of the G.T.350 should be timely. Additional chassis, interior and exterior modifications will help set the G.T.350 apart. Exterior changes give the new model a distinctive look that adds a certain element absent from Ford's 2010 restyling effort. New front and rear fascias, front splitter, a new hood and rocker panels set the G.T.350 apart and the center exit exhaust from Borla is likely to become a familiar view for the pretenders.

According to Shelby himself, “Our Shelby GT350 ruled its class at the track and was feared by GM and Chrysler owners on the street. Enthusiasts have anticipated the GT350’s return since it went out of production in 1970. Now my band of hot rodders has created a car worthy of the name.”

Other vehicle upgrades include a Ford Racing suspension system, Baer brakes front and rear with Cragar wheels. It should be no surprise, however, that all of this comes at a price. Shelby has listed the GT350's MSRP at $33,995... which is for the post-title conversion. You still have to pay for the Mustang GT.

For the well-heeled Shelby aficionado, however, the entire process of dropping off your car at the Shelby HQ in Las Vegas and picking up a new, true Shelby Mustang some time later is one that can't be beat. Some have done it more than once already and those ranks are bound to swell with this announcement.

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