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252 Fall 2015

I was now reduced to practically beg-

ging him to sell me the car but he was

unbending on his policy of selling

parts only. Like the previous time, I

left the junkyard frustrated and


During my next trip to Tucson I

returned to the junkyard one last

time. It felt like I was visiting an old

friend in a nursing home. I looked

around but couldn’t find the car any-

where. My old friend had passed away

in my absence.

I guess the final disposition of

5S480 will never be known. It’s hard

to believe it could have been anything

other than scrapped. If a freshly re-

stored car shows up bearing this serial

number I’m sure the only “original”

parts that would ever have seen the

inside of Shelby American’s LAX fac-

tory would be tiny portions, like the

passenger side inner front fender

panel carrying the Shelby serial num-

ber. Whenever I think of this car I feel

both sad and disappointed because I

was not able to rescue it. No one likes

to see a car like this simply disappear.

I left the junkyard completely

frustrated and upset because I was so

close and yet so far away from rescu-

ing a piece of history. That junkyard

was like a magnet to me. On a subse-

quent trip to Tucson I went back, with

high hopes of striking a deal and tak-

ing ownership of the Shelby. There it

was, in exactly the same place as it

was the last time I had seen it. It had

since lost many of its remaining origi-

nal parts; the trunk lid, quick-ratio

steering box and rear glass were gone.

Once again I ran into a stone wall.

I was not going to get the car out

of there in one piece. I considered the

fact that the car might have been

stolen, so I checked with the Arizona

State Police. They had nothing on it.

Then I inquired if the junkyard was al-

lowed to sell entire cars. They said it

was. I had given this predicament a lot

of thought prior to my next visit to the

junkyard and I had formed a plan. I

suggested to the owner that I would

post a bond, releasing him and the

junkyard from any future liability. He

immediately rejected this proposal.