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Spring 2016 1

Notes from the SAAC Mailroom.

Curiouser and curiouser.

” —

Lewis Carroll,

Alice’s Adventures

in Wonderland & Through the

Looking Glass.

We sometimes feel like we are

in a Shelby version of Wonderland,

where fiction becomes fact by

virtue of being repeated over and

over, and where people who don’t

know the difference talk like they

do and then start believing them-

selves. The latest thing we heard

that made us shake our head to the

point where we thought it might

fall off was a reference to “match-

ing numbers” on R-Model engines.

To understand the fallacy of

thinking that R-Models emerged

from Shelby American with the

same engines that came in the car

when they were built at Ford’s San

Jose facility, you have to consider

the context in which the cars were

made. In 1965 they were not

$900,000 showpieces. It’s probably

safe to say that very few people at

Shelby American ever knew that

the 289 engines carried the car’s

VIN stamped into the block. And of

those who did, they didn’t care.

The knock-down cars (Ford-ese

for “semi-complete”) were shipped

to Shelby American in three

groups: 15 early cars (which be-

came 5R094 through 5R108); 5 in

the second batch (5R209 through

5R213); and 15 in the last batch

(5R527 through 5R540). Mathe-

maticians will note there is one car

short. One car in the last batch

seems to have somehow fallen

through the cracks, and we’re con-

tinuing to search for it. All cars

were shipped by truck and when

they arrived at Shelby American

(the first batch went to Venice; the

rest to West Imperial Highway),




That’s easy for Larry McCurdy of Ashford, Connecticut.

He bought 6S481 on February 14, 1966. You don’t forget a

date like that. This past Valentine’s Day it was exactly 50

years ago, and McCurdy still has the car. As the years go

by there are fewer and fewer original Shelby owners out

there (and even fewer Cobra original owners). But if you

ask an original owner what was the exact date they pur-

chased their car, not many could rattle the date off. They


would have to go back and look at their factory paperwork. Not McCurdy.

The cars will be based on the Mustang GT instead of an actual Shelby

GT350 but that’s not likely to matter much to today’s enthusiasts. All they will

see is the black paint and twin gold stripes. The car will be badged as a GT-H

and converted by Shelby American in Las Vegas. They will all be equipped with

automatic transmissions and will be built with a special handling pack, unique

Shelby vented hood and rear spoiler, 19-inch matte-black aluminum wheels

and throaty Ford performance cat-back exhausts. Reportedly only 140 will be

made – just enough to provide plenty of publicity. They will be available to rent

only from Hertz “Adrenalin Collection” outlets. FYI: none near Mid-Ohio.

We were not surprised

that Hertz jumped at the

opportunity to take a third

bite of the Shelby apple,

just in time for the 50th an-

niversary of the original

black and gold Rent-A-

Racer. They used the New

York International Automo-

bile Show to make their an-