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I knew this was an unusual combina-

tion on a Cobra. But I didn’t think it

was out of the ordinary enough to

burn up more than one frame of the

Ektachrome Pro film in my Nikon.

Seeing a car like this, after all, wasn’t

really that unusual of an event when

I was in high school and college.

The tall guy is my dad. The kid

was Larry Caldwell, Phillip Caldwell’s

son. Mr. Caldwell was, at that time, a

Ford VP. Later he would be the first

ever chairman of Ford who was not

named Ford. The Cobra was a com-

pany car, and Larry (with his dad’s

blessing) was breaking the rules about

company cars only being driven by em-


On many weekends either my dad,

who worked at General Motors, or a

couple of other friends whose fathers

were Ford engineering executives or

Chrysler senior officials would bring

home all kinds of high-performance

cars for the weekend.

Other cars that I rode in during

this time included an early Shelby

GT350, one of the first production

Mustangs, a Maserati Ghibli that was

ordered for Henry Ford’s wife, Char-

lotte, 427 and 429 SOHC Galaxies,

and a lot of non-Ford cars, including

GTOs, Corvettes, and various other

top-of-the-line muscle cars.

Sometime in the next year, the son

of another Ford employee was out

joyriding in a 427 Cobra company car

on the streets of a Bloomfield Hills

neighborhood. I don’t know exactly

where this happened but the particu-

lar neighborhood had winding streets,

lots of trees, and no street lights. The

way I heard the story, a police car

started following him from a distance,

and he tried to out run them. He fi-

nally stopped and shut off the lights

and the engine. He could see the police

car’s lights reflecting off the trees as it

slowly drove around looking for him.

He decided to try to push the car be-

hind the nearest dark house, at which

point, he was caught.

The result, was a memo which

Larry Caldwell showed me, to all Ford

employees, reminding them that com-

pany cars were to be driven by em-

ployees only. That was also the end of

Cobras being loaned out to employees.

One of the guys I sent the Cobra

picture to, who also rode in it, asked

me if I remembered the green Mus-

tang with independent rear suspen-

sion that Larry’s dad brought home

one day. I had forgotten about it until

he reminded me about it. We both re-

called that, at the time, according to

Larry’s father, the car was headed to

Shelby American the next week. It

was about a month after this conver-

sation a couple of years ago that I

watched an auction on TV which

showed the “Green Hornet” GT500

crossing the auction block.

Keep in mind that the “Green Hor-

net,” a 1968 GT500 prototype built by

Shelby Automotive’s chief engineer

Fred Goodell, was powered by a num-

ber of engines while it was used as a

prototype and also received an IRS

unit. Once it was no longer of any use

to Shelby the car was supposed to be

sent to the crusher. This was standard

procedure for Ford engineering cars

which did not meet production stan-

dards; the company had no desire to

let these cars get into the hands of the

public lest they become involved in an

accident and, hence, a law suit. Some-

how the car escaped being crushed

and found its way to a FoMoCo em-

ployee used car lot where it was sub-

sequently purchased by a Ford

employee for his son to use to drive

back and forth to college.


Spring 2016 59


We asked our resident Cobra ex-

pert, Ned Scudder, if he could iden-

tify the red Cobra in Harry’s

photo. He produced a handwritten

note from his files showing the car

as CSX2571. It was delivered to

Ray Geddes, the Ford liaison at

Shelby American, on January 7,

1965. Usually any car sent to Ford

was invoiced to Geddes for ac-

counting purposes. The car was

red with a black interior and was

equipped with Group A acces-

sories, dual 4V carburetors, a large

oil pan, C4 automatic transmis-

sion and a radio.