While the bonkers 2016 Shelby GT350R won’t go on sale until late 2015 for the 2016 model year, the first production unit bearing VIN 001 was already sold to its owner during Barrett-Jackson’s collector car auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona over the weekend. The happy customer, who remained anonymous, won’t be able to drive his GT350R sooner than the muscle car’s scheduled production timeline, but he already paid a cool $1 million for the lightweight fastback. All proceeds will be donated JDRF, the country’s leading global organization funding type-1 diabetes research.

If all this sounds familiar it’s because Ford initially wanted to donate a standard GT350, but at the last minute decided to replace it with the more hardcore GT350R, a version introduced a few days earlier at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. The GT350R fetched more than the first production 2015 Mustang, which sold for $300,000, and attracted more moolah than the first production 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 ($650,000) and 2015 Corvette Z06 Convertible ($800,000) as well. In fact, the GT350R was as expensive as the first 2015 Corvette Z06 Coupe, which also hammered for $1 million.

In addition to a check with six zeroes, JDRF received an extra $150,000 from two anonymous donors.

The 2016 Shelby GT350R will go on sale in the fourth quarter of 2015 with an estimated starting prices of more than $60,000. The owner of the VIN 001 car, who paid about 16 times the price of a regular model, will be able to option the muscle car with any available colors and packages.

Click past the jump to read more about the Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang.

Why it matters

While paying $1 million for a Ford Mustang, be it a Shelby-badged monster with track skills and carbon-fiber wheels, seems like a crazy thing to do, the amount is less spectacular if achieved during an auction event. Deep-pocketed collectors are known to throw big bucks at first production cars, with Rick Hendrick, who acquired all first production version of the C7 Corvette, being the perfect example. I have no clue who took the keys to the first GT350R to leave Dearborn later this year, but I applaud him for helping out an organization such as JDRF. The same appreciation goes out to Ford as well, who donates vehicles for charity auctions on a yearly basis.

Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang

2016 Ford Shelby GT350R Mustang Exterior
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The 2016 Shelby GT350R is the most hardcore incarnation of the sixth-generation Mustang yet, as well as the most track-focused Ford-badged muscle car ever created as of 2015. 130 pounds lighter than the standard GT350 thanks to its no-nonsense interior and carbon-fiber wheels — the latter making Ford the first major automaker to offer such items on a production car — the GT350R gets its juice from the company’s all-new, 5.2-liter, flat-plane-crank V-8. Rated at more than 500 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, it’s the first-ever production V-8 from Ford with a flat-plane crankshaft, as well as the most powerful naturally aspirated engine the blue oval has ever produced.

Press Release

The first retail production Shelby GT350R Mustang, the most track-ready road-going production Mustang ever built, will be auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale on Saturday with all benefits going to JDRF.

In 1965, Ford and Carroll Shelby developed a road-racing version of the popular Ford Mustang – the Shelby GT350 Competition model. Lighter, more powerful and with a highly developed suspension, it is one of the most iconic racing Mustangs ever produced.

Arriving later this year, the new Shelby GT350R has been designed and engineered in the same spirit, delivering never-before-seen track capability from a Mustang – thanks to innovations in aerodynamics, chassis engineering and light-weighting.

The winning bidder of lot No. 3008 – selling at No Reserve – will be able to option Shelby GT350R VIN#001 with any available colors and packages.

Team members involved in the design and development of the Shelby GT350R will sign the car in appreciation of the donations to JDRF. Ford has supported JDRF since 1983.

“The Shelby GT350R is a world-class car, the best performing Mustang that we have ever built,” said Raj Nair, Ford Group Vice President, Global Product Development. “We are thrilled to donate the first retail production Shelby GT350R to JDRF for auction. When this car crosses the auction block it should raise a tremendous amount of money for a great charity.”

All proceeds from the sale of the Shelby GT350R VIN#001 will benefit JDRF, the country’s leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research. Live coverage of the auction of the Shelby GT350R will air on Velocity on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015.

“JDRF is privileged to work with Ford, and we are extremely grateful for the generous support from Ford and its employees through the years,” said John Brady, JDRF chairman, international board of directors. “We are honored to be part of the company’s 50-year celebration of the Shelby GT350 at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale. This very exciting and worthwhile event means a great deal to not only JDRF and the type 1 community, but to me personally as well. We are dedicated to continue our work and to share our vision of creating a world without type 1 diabetes.”

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