The SHELBY AMERICAN
Fall 2016 6
BILL COSBY’S ‘66 GT350?
Someone sent us two pictures they
found on a website (MPTV Images)
from 1966 that show Bill Cosby at his
home in Beverly Hills, with a ‘66
GT350 in the background. One of the
pictures shows him with his daughter
Erica. Other than knowing that Cosby
and Shelby were pals (reference his
“200 MPH” comedy album in which he
tells the story about Shelby building a
second twin-Paxton 427 Cobra for
him, which after one drive he scared
himself silly) we’ve never seen any
written reference to Cosby owning a
‘66 GT350, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Celebrities rarely owned cars; they were either leased or given the use
of them by a manufacturer or dealer for promotional purposes. We suspect this was the case with this car. Or cars.
The color photo clearly shows a painted wheel on the car but the other one appears to have a chrome wheel and no
back-up lights, indicating a carry-over car. The pictures were very small on the website and trying to enlarge them
only loses detail, but the ‘66 Registrar was on the case. He was curious enough about the license plate to purchase a
print from the website.
Pardee called the number on the MPTV Images website and was told the cost of an 8˝ x 10˝ print was $500. After
he stopped gagging and regained some of his composure, he confessed to the sales agent that the price was way out of
his range, and all he really wanted was the Shelby’s license plate number. The agent was able to provide that by looking
at an enlargement of the picture he had – it was a California dealer plate, #1D 1544. That wasn’t Hi-Performance
Motors (4101), so Pardee made a call to the California DMV. After being passed off between a half-dozen different offices
and being put on hold until his ear felt like a cauliflower, he finally reached the clerk who handled dealer plates.
Mel Burns Ford went out of business around 1992 and DMV’s database did not have a record of dealer plate num-
bers for those no longer active. Pardee did recall seeing a 1544 plate on an early GT350 and a couple of 1968 Shelbys
in publicity shots but all that meant was that the cars had been delivered to a dealer. It was not uncommon for dealers
close to Shelby American to occasionally be asked to supply a car for public relation purposes. Beyond that, all avenues
appeared to be dead ends. We’re left wondering what the backstory is. One thing is for sure: if Cosby had continued
playing with cars instead of young actresses he wouldn’t be in the trouble he presently finds himself immersed in.
THE JIM KREUZ – CHIP FOOSE CONNECTION
SAAC member and a
contributing writer Jim Kreuz of
Lake Jackson, Texas works for BASF,
the world’s largest chemical producer.
They recently opened a new Auto Re-
finishing Center and one of the special
guests was noted auto designer and
custom car builder Chip Foose. When
the festivities were over, Kreuse was
able to get a little face-time with Foose
and do a brief interview. He just hap-
pened to have his Cobra registry
handy, which Foose was good enough
to sign. Among the things they talked
about was Ford’s ‘05-’06 GT. We have
a feeling there may be more to this
story, and that the interview may be
coming our way sometime soon.