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erspective is a wonderful thing.

It can give you the opportunity

to view things from 30,000 feet. Time

provides perspective. Jeff Burgy’s in-

terest in Shelbys started when the

cars were introduced, but not many

high schoolers became Shelby owners.

That would come later. At the begin-

ning of the 1970s, Shelbys were used

cars and were available at afford-

able prices. Typical of used cars,

many needed work and that was

reflected in their prices. If you

were handy under the hood, a

blown engine was, in effect, a dis-

count that made a car which

might have been unaffordable,

suddenly within reach.

Burgy’s father was a car guy

and in 1965, when he bought a

1965 Mustang convertible, that

pretty much sealed Jeff’s fate. He

knew the Cobra was the fastest

Ford product on the road but it

was priced way out of his league.

Like most of us, he can remember

when he saw his first one. It was

at Bridenthal Ford in Greensburg,

Ohio, just outside of Akron. The

car was in the showroom, but it was

after hours, so all he could do was

stare at it through the window.

After high school, like most of the

rest of his generation, Burgy spent

evenings cruising the hamburger

joints. In his hometown of Cuyhoga

Falls, Ohio there were two main ones –

Lujan’s Big Boy and a place called the

Hungry I, where all the hoodlum kids

hung out. They were a couple blocks

apart and everyone spent most of the

time cruising back and forth between

the two. Burgy recalls one of the most

memorable events was when a red 289

Cobra showed up at Lujan’s one night.

On another night a white and blue

GT350 rolled through. He saw his first

actual 427 Cobra in Kent, Ohio, a col-

lege town that had quite a few active

bars which attracted fun-seekers of

that certain age. Burgy remembers

being home from college one night

when he saw a 427 Cobra parked on

the street with the soft top up. It was

snowing and the car didn’t have any

side windows. Hard to believe today

but in the early 1970s it didn’t get a

second look.

After college Burgy went to work

for Ford and remained with the com-

pany until he retired some thirty

years later. He worked in many de-

partments and was, among other

things, an illustrator and an audio en-

gineer. He was one of the first enthu-

siasts to join the Shelby Owners Asso-

ciation and when SAAC was started

he was one of the first ones to sign on.

He remains one of only two individu-

als who has attended every SOA and



convention. He

founded the SAAC Motor City Region

and served on SAAC’s Board of Direc-

tors. Today Burgy is the registrar

for the 2005-2006 Ford GTs. After

retiring from Ford he moved out of

the snowbelt and down to central


SAAC: When did you get your

first Shelby?

BURGY: I bought my first GT350

in 1971. I had to have one of those

cars. It was a 1966, 6S1206. My

dad ordered a new Boss 351 Mus-

tang that same year and in 1972 I

bought the Boss from him. In

1973 I bought another ‘66 GT350,

6S285, from a buddy of mine who

had blown the engine. I also

bought a ‘68 GT500 convertible

from a guy who worked as a me-

chanic in the Ford World Head-

quarters garage. Somebody had put a

427 engine in it and it needed a muf-

fler. He had a new muffler in the

trunk. After I bought the car and put

the new muffler on it I found out why

he had not put the muffler on it. With

the new muffler you could hear the

427 engine knocking. [


] I

pulled the 427 out and sold it to a

buddy who had a ‘65 Shelby and a hot

rod he wanted to put the 427 in. I put

the Boss 351 engine I had in my

Shelby and that was the car I drove to


Fall 2016 54

SAAC’s Ford GT Registrar has been around forever, and we’re all better off for it.

– Rick Kopec