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Spring 2016 9

CAN we ever overdose on TMI


It seemed like a fairly innocuous

photo of the 1966 Shelby Paxton pro-

totype, 6S051. The car was parked in

front of Shelby American’s 6501 West

Imperial Highway facility for a public

relations photo. It’s fairly rare because

it is a color transparency; most factory

photography was black-and-white be-

cause most magazines didn’t use color

for press releases and news items. If

they wanted color they would assign

their own photographer to shoot a car.

Steve Yates owned the car and

when he died of leukemia in 1995 he

left it to his wife, Joyce. In her will,

Joyce donated the car to the Shelby

American Collection in Boulder, Col-

orado. She also left Steve’s expansive

collection of Shelby literature and

memorabilia to the museum. Jim

Cowles volunteered to deliver the car

and all of the memorabilia to Boulder

from Nashville, Indiana. The car came

with a file drawer-sized box of docu-

ments relating to 6S051. Yates saved

everything he could find about the car

as well as every receipt and scrap of

paper generated during his ownership

and subsequent restoration. The car

was painted white with blue LeMans

stripes when he bought it but when he

realized it had originally been green,

he restored it back to its original

specs. The Shelby American Collection

loaned the box of paperwork to Cowles

so he could go through it and make

scans of anything important.

Two almost identical photos were taken of the car that day, one in color and one in black-and-white. 6S051 was originally delivered

in white but it was painted Ivy Green (the first non-white GT350) without LeMans stripes and as a Paxton prototype it had unique

side stripes that said “G.T. 350 S.” It was a four-speed car with a Detroit Locker, Cragar/Shelby wheels and a rear seat.

Among the publicity photos taken of the car were an engine shot showing an aluminum

“Paxton” air box, painted in black krinkle-finish, which was standard with Paxton af-

termarket units. When the Paxton unit became a legitimate option, a revised air box

was produced with “SHELBY” replacing the Paxton script. Several photos of the engine

on a wooden pallet were also taken prior to installing it in the car. A piece of wire was

used to hold the supercharger’s air cleaner in position for the photos [

note someone’s

hand at the left of the photo, holding the wire