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250 Fall 2015

Ok, it wasn’t an early GT350 qui-

etly rusting away in this field, but

from a distance it was sure worth a

closer look. Eric Veard of Amherst,

Ohio was stopped in his tracks when

he spotted the blue stripes on a white

Mustang. It turned out to be a Mus-

tang II Cobra II in a field behind an

abandoned building. He went in for a

closer look and saw one detail that

was especially interesting. The plaque

on the dash board was a 1975-76

SAAC member plate. Aside from the

serendipity, we have to marvel at the

ability of the plaque to withstand time

and the elements and stay stuck on

that dashboard.



We couldn’t help but notice that a

Shelby Challenge CSX4000 car was

advertised for the Russo and Steele

Monterey Auction. We couldn’t recall

any of these seven original cars being

offered at auction, and at no reserve it

would be a good indication of what one

of these cars might be worth.

Back in 1999, David Purcell,

owner of a marketing company, and

Roy Hunt, a Shelby CSX4000 dealer in

Las Vegas, hatched the idea for a spec-

series of races where retired name

drivers would drive specially-modified

CSX4000 Cobras as support races dur-

ing CART (Championship Auto Racing

Teams) Indycar events. The primary

goal was to attract publicity for the

new Shelby component cars. Televi-

sion coverage was crucial, and the list

of drivers being floated piqued a lot of

interest in the project: Mario Andretti,

Paul Newman, Bob Bondurant, Emer-

son Fittipaldi, Parnelli Jones, Bobby

and Al Unser, Tom Sneva, George

Follmer. John Morton, Johnny Ruther-

ford, Danny Sullivan.

Planning called for the “Shelby

Cobra Challenge Senior Racing Se-

ries” to begin the following year, 2000.

The “Senior” was quickly dropped

from the name because of the negative

public perception of a bunch of old-

timers racing when they probably

should have been driving golf carts

around a country club.

Seven cars were eventually built

to identical specifications by Shelby

American and buyers with stars in

their eyes stepped forward. The logis-

tics were formidable. The cars would

all be transported to the track and

owners would pay a share of the costs.

A crew of mechanics would oversee the

cars. The drivers’ travel and hotel ex-

penses would be paid out of a sponsor

fund. Owners would be part of each

car’s team and would participate in all

social activities.

The series never got off the

ground, primarily because CART

began to implode and, in 2003, de-

clared bankruptcy. The owners were

left with cars with no place to race

them. Neither fish nor fowl, they were

not eligible for SCCA competition and

no vintage race organization would ac-

cept them. They were invited to com-

pete at SAAC conventions and owners

found open track events where they

were allowed.

This is the first time a Cobra Chal-

lenge Car will be auctioned off and, at

No Reserve, it should provide a accu-

rate indication of these cars’ value.