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his isn’t really a Shelby article.

It’s more about one family doing

their very small part to help

keep our hobby alive.

Look at any automotive magazine

or forum and it’s probable that you’ll

see comments about the demise of the

automobile hobby, and I suspect

there’s some truth to this. When spark

plugs last a 100,000 miles, suspension

characteristics are changed in a few

seconds from the driver’s seat, and a

squirt of software will completely alter

an engine’s performance, there isn’t

much reason to lift a hood. Unless a

younger person is really inquisitive or

grabbed by things mechanical, there’s

a good chance the casual car owner

will know little about what he or she

drives. Still, many guys and gals are

making mods to their newer genera-

tion cars just as we did years ago. The

difference is that us gray-hairs simply

grew up in a different era.

When I was growing up, my father

did his own additions to the house. He

also maintained the cars, lawn mow-

ers, bicycles and anything else that

broke. He was drag racing his ‘54 Ford

when the starter was a flagman. For

my brother Tom and me, learning how

to rebuild an engine was simply part

of our normal life at home. And it

didn’t stop there; our sister Judy drove

a Mach 1 and Kate had the ‘67 Mus-

tang being passed along in the family.

My wife, the former Patti Anne

Callahan, grew up in a similar envi-

ronment. She didn’t learn how to re-

build engines but the setting was

similar. Her father and uncles helped

each other build their homes. Her fa-

ther owned an auto repair shop and he

built race cars for the dirt tracks. Pat

had five siblings and most of them had

a car connection.

When Pat and I were dating, and

well into the first years of our mar-

riage, it was normal for the Callahans,

Devlins, and our friends to be working

on cars together and racing on week-

ends. In the staging lanes at Maple

Grove Dragway, Pat and I would some-

times hand our toddler, Shelby, back

and forth depending on who was ad-

vancing to the starting line. I was rac-

ing our ‘67 GT500 (67400F4A03179)

and Pat would race the tow car – her

‘69 Cougar XR-7 428 Cobra Jet. One

side note: Shelby’s name isn’t con-

nected to the car or Carroll Shelby.

Pat just liked the name.

At some point along the way fam-

ily life took over. Between relocations,

work schedules and raising our

daughters, Pat and I drifted away from

the cars. The Cougar was replaced

with something more practical. Our

second daughter, Nicole, was born and

before long it was school projects,

homework and more traditional

daughter things. We kept the Shelby

and I still worked on the cars, but that

was to keep them running. It wasn’t a

hobby. In hindsight, I could have done

more to keep the girls engaged when I

was doing routine auto or house main-

tenance but I was almost always on a

tight schedule. Plus, they had their

own activities and friends. To be fair,

they did help with some things, and

we even painted our two story house

ourselves. Still, many opportunities

were missed.

The turnaround began when the

girls were grown and out of the house.

The Shelby sat for years and Pat and

I finally decided it was time to have it

restored. The girls weren’t sand blast-

ing parts but they had a genuine inter-

est, and over the several years the car

was with Danny Walker and Mid-

Cities Mustang, in Euless, Texas, they

helped with chasing parts, taking pic-

tures and occasionally just stopping in

to check on progress and chat with Mr.

Walker. That interest stuck and now

they’re an essential part of the Devlin

crew for the annual Yellow Rose Clas-

sic Car show, an indoor, all-Ford car

show hosted by the North Texas Mus-

tang Club. Actually, they’ve taken over

some aspects of the car show. Danny

Walker will not finalize our spot in his

designated area until I check with the


Backing up, we missed a great op-

portunity many years ago when Nicole

was a freshman in high school. She de-


Fall 2016 64

– Bill Devlin