10k Mile 2008 Ford Shelby GT

One of the worst possible moments as an enthusiast car owner is finding out the vehicle of your dreams has a significant flaw. In the case of this 2008 Shelby GT Mustang, the seller claims to have purchased the car without looking at the CarFax report, only to find out later it was reported to have “Structural Damage Reported” in its history file. The Shelby GT has just 10,000 original miles and presents like a new car, but that won’t save you from potentially realizing the car has suffered a fairly serious accident and was put back together when nearly new as its retail value was still high enough to justify the reconditioning needed. The seller has adjusted his price downwards to reflect the strike against his car, and it’s listed here on craigslist for $22,000.

When the 2008 Shelby GT came out, it was a big deal: it was launched with a good deal of fanfare, and was produced at Shelby’s production facility in Nevada. Ford Racing components increased horsepower over the standard care, and handling capabilities were likewise dialed up accordingly. Obviously, the paint code was unique for the Shelby cars, and the car also burrowed components from the California Special, like the lower front bumper. Grill inserts, hood pins, special badges, and a cue ball shifter were other clues that you had gladly paid the dealer tax to own an actual Shelby-badged vehicle. As you can see from the photos, the seller’s car looks every bit of being a 10,000 mile example.

Whether you felt the Shelby upgrades were worth it was another matter altogether. The standard Mustang GT was a respectable performed as it was, and you could likely piece together upgrades offered via the Shelby package fairly easily. The seller’s car reminds us that the interior looked like any other Mustang, for the most part, aside from the unique shifter knob. Now, when it comes to whether the seller’s car has been unfairly tarnished in some way, that’s a more subjective topic. Structural damage of any kind is typically a death sentence for a car, especially a modern vehicle that’s laden with air bags and other devices that are all likely to be triggered in the event of a major accident. Of course, we also know that sometimes the CarFax glossary provides a very general term for any number of accident types and resulting damage claim codes, which could mean the blemish on the Shelby’s history file isn’t as bad as it seems.

In terms of whether you should let it stop you from buying it, the smartest way to approach it is to take the Shelby to a reputable body shop and put it on their frame machine. You should know pretty quickly whether the CarFax report is something to fear, and in all fairness, the seller should proactively do this if he wants to sell the Shelby for a fair price. If it runs and drives as well as he claims, the frame machine should effectively show that if it was repaired, it was done to a high level and shows no lingering side effects of the damage. The tricky thing for the next owner is that they have to look at this less like an investment and more as a fun car at a potentially great price, as the CarFax report data will follow it wherever it goes. What do you think – is this a case of buyer beware, or is CarFax misconstruing what actually happened?


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  1. GuernseyPagoda Member

    Shouldn’t the seller at least offer/take some pictures of the underside of the car, or is that me just being a responsible owner/seller? Seriously…..

    Like 30
    • Frank

      I say pics before being fixed along with the insurance/body shop estimate.

      Like 8
  2. Way2nutz

    A substantial price reduction from retail is a given with that history.

    Personally, I would never purchase a structurally damaged / rebuilt title / salvage title car without documentation of the damage by a body shop, as well as pictures of the damaged and repaired areas.

    There are just too many scammers in the world today.

    Good looking car though!

    Like 22
  3. Steve R

    It might be worth a shot as someone driver/track car for 50% off average resale value. Otherwise, hard pass, the carfax precludes it from being desirable to collectors no matter how low the mileage.

    Steve R

    Like 11
  4. Uncle buck

    I have had cars labeled structural damaged and both times there was damage to the rockers ( slight and I mean slight crease in the sheet metal) that was it I drive that car for another 100k miles never had any weird tire wear or alignment issues. The other had a rusted rear cross member which I had replaced and again drove that truck for 50 k miles. Just my experience but a lot of times the Carfax is just not correct. And some times it is. If you don’t know how to inspect a car for damage buy new.

    Like 21
    • Steveo

      Agree. “Structural damage” is essentially meaningless without a detailed inspection. Unibody cars are almost always ‘structurally’ damaged in other than the lightest of impacts (and even then, often) and pulled back into original shape routinely. If all the panels fit, it’s a good sign. It could have been butchered back together or hardly hurt. You need a qualified inspection to tell.

      Like 17
  5. PJ

    “You could likely piece together upgrades offered via the Shelby package fairly easily.”

    Think you’re confusing the Shelby GT500 with the Shelby GT. The 08 GT500 has an entirely different hand-built 5.4L Supercharged V8 as opposed to the naturally-aspirated 4.6L V8 in the GT of the same year. Not to mention staggered tires, upgrades to shocks and suspension, an entirely different front fascia, 6 speed Tremec TR6060 instead of the 5-speed, etc. You’d basically have to rebuild the entire car to make a GT comparable to a GT500.

    Like 6
    • James Quinn

      I don’t see a super charger on this vehicle.

  6. JohnfromSC

    Jeff, your suggestions are spot on. Friends of mine put back together many Copart cars with salvage titles, primarily higher end Mustangs, that are easily returned to as new condition. Personally I had a bad instrument cluster in a mint Jag XKR that made the odometer reading “TMU” on Carfax. A “bad” Carfax indelibly alters a car’s value. You need to buy it as a “forever” car that you love. IF you know exactly what you are getting into, these kind of cars can be great buys.

    Like 16
  7. Frank Sumatra

    Ouch! I know Carfax is not 100% reliable, but…

    Like 4
  8. Doug from MD.

    Having worked in various body shops and bought a few totaled cars I can safely say this maybe a good deal. Like said before if the body panels and doors align and you have it put on frame machine and check measurements, if all measure up your good. Yes it’s a gamble but if you know what to look for, this could be a buy. The thing is this is not a car to buy and flip. Its a gamble I would take if not for being retired and not having the income.

    Like 7
  9. Steve O

    There’s a reason they don’t show the passengers side…because its missing…

    Like 3
    • Terrry

      There’s a door on that side at least..

      Like 1
  10. Troy

    Carfax and autocheck are a good tool but only report information reported to them. You would be surprised at how many mustangs and other cars are on the road after being rebuilt but show clean reports. In this case find a good body frame person and get it on a lift and check it out if the repair work is quality you will have a fen car to enjoy

    Like 5
  11. Troy

    Carfax and autocheck are a good tool but only report information reported to them. You would be surprised at how many mustangs and other cars are on the road after being rebuilt but show clean reports. In this case find a good body frame person and get it on a lift and check it out if the repair work is quality you will have a fun car to enjoy

  12. PaulMacD

    As a person who is currently driving a “branded” vehicle and have built/ rebuilt classic cars, I can see no reason not to purchase this car, if it was repaired properly. It can be easily checked out, before purchase. The buyer would always have to understand that the value of the vehicle will always be less than what a comparable vehicle with a clean title. The seller is being upfront with the information of the title. IMO
    Actually the car looks like one of the Mustangs in the YouTube videos with owners loosing control leaving Mustang meets.

    Like 3
  13. Frank Sumatra

    The folks who say “this is no big deal, I rebuild things by putting six CoPart cars together” need to remember not everyone has your skills, equipment, and expertise. I will guess the majority of BF readers would also get hosed on this purchase. I used to weld on nuclear submarines in a yard in the Northeast. It was easy! (After years of training and experience.)

    Like 7
  14. ed casala

    Well, at least the seller is upfront about the Carfax report. I went to buy a truck from a private party after I agreed to buy it, drove home and checked the Carfax report only to find it had been totaled. Could be a deal here, but like others have said, its going to need a very through inspection.

    Like 3
  15. Frank

    Sometimes these Car Fax reports can be unfair. If you submit a claim to your insurance company because a sheet of plywood hit the windshield of your car on the highway and took out a wiper blade and driver’s side mirror it shows up on report as an accident. Incidents like this can be an issue when selling your vehicle. I had this happen to my Audi S4 a few years back. I kept all the insurance and dealership paperwork to eliminate this problem. Using a four or five part Division folder from Staples with all your vehicles records does the talking and will impress the buyer.

    Like 4
  16. Terrry

    The thing with Car Fox is, “Structural Damage Reported” doesn’t say a whole lot. They should require and report more specific information before labeling a car as structurally damaged. They’re a money making operation as opposed to being a charitable one, so they ought to do better.

    Like 1
  17. Sam Shive

    Buy It AND Drive It Like You Stole It. So what if it’s not a Trailer Queen. Even if it don’t end up on Barrett Jackson for a half a million dollars you can have that much fun with it and after you drive it into the ground, rebuild it and do it again.

    Like 4
  18. Howie Mueler

    It sure looks nice, but…………

  19. joenywf64

    I can’t believe even a new one still doesn’t have the signature 3 Shelby tailites on each side. & that Ford never used the tailites from this one! –>
    Or that they put those unattractive cheap plastic mirrors on ANY Mustang since 2005 – actually cheap mirrors go all the way back starting with ’79 models.
    & where they are mounted precludes even making good looking aftermarket ones. & ironically, the mustang II had the last good looking mirrors – mounted properly – to the doorskin.

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