Feature: Rehagen Racing ShelBoss

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Track Snake

Rehagen Racing creates a track toy that’s a Boss 302 in a GT500 body

By SID297 and Steve Turner
Photos by Stacy Stangz

As the S197 era wound down, we were presented with two amazing vehicles—the Boss 302 and the Shelby GT500. Both awesome machines in their own right, the Boss was better suited to the road course and the GT500 was more comfortable on the quarter mile. If you are like us, you might have wished that you could buy a car that featured the sharp Shelby styling with the corner-carving Boss underpinnings.

Want the best of both worlds? Rehagen Racing packed the potent road-racing chops of a Boss 302 into the body of a Shelby GT500.
Want the best of both worlds? Rehagen Racing packed the potent road-racing chops of a Boss 302 into the body of a Shelby GT500.

Well, that’s just the car that Rehagen Racing created. A dedicated, turnkey track toy, this Boss 302 in a GT500 combination is a thing of beauty.

Rehagen Racing has become known as a one-stop-shop for Mustang owners who love the twisties. And why shouldn’t they be? Rehagen frontman Dean Martin has established himself as a household name in the road racing and Mustang track-day worlds. You may have caught Dean racing his custom Boss 302S this season in the Pirelli World Challenge Series on NBCSN (or live on the web).

From the outside, the ShelBoss looks just like a 2012 Shelby GT500. However, if you are racing on the track and someone thinks your heavy GT500 might be a disadvantage, the Boss hiding underneath might just surprise them.
From the outside, the ShelBoss looks just like a 2012 Shelby GT500. However, if you are racing on the track and someone thinks your heavy GT500 might be a disadvantage, the Boss hiding underneath might just surprise them.

The company’s program is really a test bed for their products and packages that they sell to the Mustang enthusiast community. So much so, that you can call them up today and tell them you want the exact suspension setup that Dean runs on his race car and they’ll ship it to your door.

That level of involvement doesn’t stop at parts sales either, it extends to race-day/track-day ready cars. The latest is the Rehagen Racing ShelBoss. As you saw in our story on the Rehagen GT Boss, Dean has a talent for taking the best of several Mustang models and putting it all together in one unique and interesting car.

Ford engineers set a high standard with the original Coyote engine, so the really had to work to extract 444 horsepower and 380 ft-lb of torque from the platform. They added CNC-ported heads, a short-runner intake, a rev-friendly valvetrain, and more. This engine foreshadowed many of the upgrades found in the S550 Coyote. Rehagen racing simply backed this engine with a complete Boss 302S exhaust system and installed one of its Rehagen Racing engine breather kits.
Ford engineers set a high standard with the original Coyote engine, so the really had to work to extract 444 horsepower and 380 ft-lb of torque from the platform. They added CNC-ported heads, a short-runner intake, a rev-friendly valvetrain, and more. This engine foreshadowed many of the upgrades found in the S550 Coyote. Rehagen racing simply backed this engine with a complete Boss 302S exhaust system and installed one of its Rehagen Racing engine breather kits.

“I got started building/rebuilding cars like this as a result of some of the racecar projects we built at Rehagen Racing. Very often we would take a brand new car and turn it into a racecar. We would save all of the take-out parts in our storage area,” Dean Martin of Rehagen Racing explained. “As the inventory in the storage area grew, we needed to find a way to get rid of those parts and not wanting to throw them away, I started buying salvage vehicles and rebuilding them.”

This time the Rehagen crew combines a stripped-out and caged-up SVT Shelby GT500 Mustang body with the RoadRunner 5.0-liter engine wiring from a Boss 302. What was born is a one-of-a-kind track car that is sure to turn heads in the pits.

On the road course, there’s not much time to enjoy the car’s interior. Function rules over form in the caged and sparse ShelBoss cabin. Despite its Spartan visage, the ShelBoss does retain Ford’s useful Track Apps.
On the road course, there’s not much time to enjoy the car’s interior. Function rules over form in the caged and sparse ShelBoss cabin. Despite its Spartan visage, the ShelBoss does retain Ford’s useful Track Apps.

“This particular project is was actually 0-percent inspiration and 100-percent coincidence. I happened across a brand new, white-painted stripped chassis. I immediately installed a road race cage in the car because it was definitely going to become a racecar. We got the cage installed and sent it off to have the interior painted and ready for a build,” Dean explained. “I found a guy who had most of the parts from a white 2011-2012 GT500 for sale that were already painted white with red stripes. I already had a white GT500 hood with red stripes. I found the rear bumper cover a few days later already white with red stripes. It was a sign… I need to build this car as a white GT500 with red stripes!”

The car was built as a racecar for the American Iron Series, but could also be an extremely reliable track-day Mustang. The roll cage is made from 1.75×0.120-inch steel tubing, and is built to comply with NASA and SCCA requirements. By sticking with the 2013 Boss 302 wiring and steering wheel Rehagen was able to preserve the functionality of the Track Apps features. They even grafted in the cool 2013 HID headlights.

On the racetrack you want to stay in one place so you can focus on driving rather than staying in your seat. The Rehagen Racing ShelBoss is fitted with one MOMO Racing Seat and the driver is safely embraced by a Schroth harnessbelt.
On the racetrack you want to stay in one place so you can focus on driving rather than staying in your seat. The Rehagen Racing ShelBoss is fitted with one MOMO Racing Seat and the driver is safely embraced by a Schroth harnessbelt.

With such a long list of features the asking price (PN RR2011-BRGT5; $54,995) seems like a bargain, especially when you consider that you basically have to start with damn near $90,000 to get into a Boss 302S. It’s truly a shame that most Mustang owners will never take their cars out for a track day experience. Whether it’s a drag strip or a road course you owe it to yourself and your steed to get out on the track.

“The car is very much like a 2013 Boss. I haven’t actually driven this car on track because it is for sale and I don’t want to get it dirty…” Dean said with a smile. “This is just that ‘next level’ that is specifically designed for track use without being a full-on Boss 302S. The biggest improvements to this car are the clutch/transmission and the brake actuation. Those two system upgrades are what make this car as well as all the Rehagen track cars better track cars. The Ford Performance suspension is a little bit of an upgrade over the Boss stuff, but the Boss stuff is really good.”

In case things go awry on track, the Rehagen ShelBoss wears a tow hook on the front bumper. Behind the GT500 fascia are Rehagen Racing custom radiator closeouts, which feed air to a Ford Performance radiator cooled by a Ford Performance cooling fan.
In case things go awry on track, the Rehagen ShelBoss wears a tow hook on the front bumper. Behind the GT500 fascia are Rehagen Racing custom radiator closeouts, which feed air to a Ford Performance radiator cooled by a Ford Performance cooling fan.

You never know, you may catch the fever and end up in a car like the Rehagen Racing ShelBoss. Track fever is an aliment worth catching, if for no other reason than it provides a type of therapy that nothing else can deliver. When I’m feeling stressed why see the shrink or grab the bottle? I run hard into turn three. With a car tuned by Dean and his crew you will find the release you’ve been looking for. You will find the reason you bought a Mustang. You will find release.

In Dean’s case, the release isn’t just from rebuilding Mustangs. Though he has three more wounded Bosses at the ready for future projects, it’s the racing program that is the primary at Rehagen.

“That stuff is all fill-in work if we get slow, so it is low priority. We are also building my new 2015 Mustang racecar. That too has slowed due to the ramp up in our Pirelli World Challenge race program,” Dean added. “We are converting my old American Iron car to a World Challenge GTS car for the next race at Mid-Ohio so I guess that qualifies as a ‘rebuild project.’ We are about to set the needle to ‘Kill’ for the remainder of the 2015 PWC race season and that will consume all of our resources for the next two months.”

The Mod List

Powertrain

Block: Stock Boss 302 aluminum
Crankshaft: Stock Boss 302 forged
Rods: Stock Boss 302 forged
Pistons: Stock Boss 302 forged
Camshafts: Stock Boss 302
Cylinder Heads: Stock CNC-ported TiVCT Boss 302
Intake: Stock Boss 302
Fuel System: Stock Boss 302
Exhaust: Full Boss 302S System w/ Ford Performance muffler upgrade
Transmission: Shelby GT500 Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual w/ Exedy Racing clutch and one-piece aluminum driveshaft
Rearend: 8.8-inch w/ Torsen T2R Differential and 3.73 gears

Electronics

Engine Management: Stock Boss 302
Ignition: Stock Boss 302

Front Suspension

K-member: Stock Boss 302
A-arms: Stock Boss 302 w/ adjustable front sway bar
Struts: Ford Performance adjustable dampers (PN M-18000-C) w/ Maximum Motorsports adjustable caster/camber plates
Springs: Ford Performance
Brakes: Brembo 14-inch w/ two-piece rotors, Rehagen Racing custom hydraulics, Ford Performance ABS, and 4-inch cooling ducts
Wheels: 18×9-inch American Muscle GT4
Tires: Toyo RR, 275/35-18

Rear Suspension

Shocks: Ford Performance adjustable dampers (PN M-18000-C)
Springs: Ford Performance
Control Arms: FR500C lowers w/ adjustable Panhard bar
Brakes: Stock Boss 302
Wheels: 18×9-inch American Muscle GT4
Tires: Toyo RR, 275/35-18

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