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SAAC: The way tech is run at a SAAC

convention, it’s a friendly relationship

between those working tech and the

participants who want to run on the

track. It’s not an adversarial relation-

ship, an initiation or a gauntlet that

has to be run. People get a sense of


LISKA: Most of the people who come

through tech appreciate it, even if they

think we’re giving them a hard time

on some of the smaller things. It’s ben-

eficial and no one has missed any

track time because they had to put

tape on the positive post of the battery

terminal or if the wheel bearings have

to be tightened. We get everybody out

there. And some people even come

back to thank us for finding things

that need attention.

SAAC: When we first started putting

the registry together Doug Waschenko

was the 1968 registrar and Jim

Cowles handled the 1969-1970 cars.

They did a great job of setting things

up, establishing a format and taking

information from club members who

responded to our requests for informa-

tion on their cars. At that time we

were limited to only getting informa-

tion from owners who responded to us.

And with 4,451 1968 cars and 3,150

1969-70 cars that was a fairly large

number – although not even close to

the total number of cars produced. The

registry consumes a great deal of time

and no one can understand that until

they start doing it. Jim Cowles was

spending more and more time on his

Shelby parts business and by the time

we were putting together the 1997 edi-

tion, he asked to be replaced.We didn’t

have far to look. As an original owner,

Liska was a natural choice. Once in a

while you could pick up information

from a magazine article or a classified

ad, but as a rule, in those early days

most owners didn’t attach a special

significance to their cars’ serial num-

ber the way Cobra and early Shelby

owners did.

LISKA: They knew their car was a

Shelby but they often didn’t know

much of its history before they owned

it. And they didn’t really know how the

cars fit into Shelby history, how many

were made of a particular combination

of colors and options and things like


SAAC: There were certainly a lot of

blanks to fill in. But then something

happened that changed all of that.

LISKA: In 1994 we got microfilm from

Ford. Prior to that Howard Pardee had

developed a contact at Ford’s archives

in Dearborn with the archivist. After

a visit, she felt very comfortable with

him and allowed him to look through

some of the files they had. They pro-

vided the use of a copy machine but

there was so much there it was more

than one person could handle. So he

brought me with him on the next visit.

We immediately hit it off because she

had a dog and I love dogs. She also saw

in me the same dedication Howard

had.We were trying to preserve an im-

portant part of history and she

thought that she could be of help. She

let us look at all the stuff that was in

the archives. They were housed in the

Highland Park storage center which

was Ford’s old tractor factory. The

building was a mile square and six

floors high. If you set up an assembly

line it would be thirteen miles long.

Each Ford department has a storage

space that was a specific size. They

could put as much stuff in their space

as they wanted but they could not get

any additional space. So as new docu-

ments arrived, older things had to be

thrown away to make room for them,

and there was no way to tell if any-

thing thrown away was historically

important. The archivist we were talk-

ing to knew, generally, what she had

but did not have the time to organize

it and inventory it and record it for

history. But she saw, in Howard and I,

two people who were seriously dedi-

cated to history and would be able to

make use of the material. In the begin-

ning, she would ask her boss if she

could give Howard and I documents

and files and he said no. But eventu-

ally she became the boss.

SAAC: How many times had you been


LISKA: Howard had probably been

there a dozen times. I went there

twice. She would let him look at things

individually and he was picking up a

lot of information. We went over to

Highland Park to review anything she

had there that she may have over-

looked, so we could feel comfortable

that, “

Ok, we got it all

.” She called

ahead in advance and there was a gen-

tleman who signed us in. He gave us a

little box with twenty-six microfilm

tapes. They were Shelby warranty

service records from 1967 to 1970. He

handed it to me and said,

“You guys

might want this

.” It was just reels of

film, 9mm, with a little square on

every frame. We realized what it was

because it said “Warranty Service” on

each reel. We figured there was some

good information there but we needed

to find a machine we could view it on.

My local library had a microfiche ma-

chine where reels could be viewed,

frame by frame, and each frame could

be copied. For a price. Even at 5¢ a

frame, with 26 reels and each one

with, maybe 100,000 frames on it, that

adds up to a lot of money.

SAAC: What kind of information was

on these warranty microfilms?

LISKA: When someone took their car

into the dealer with a warranty prob-

lem – anything from a taillight that

wouldn’t work or a loose interior mir-

ror to a blown engine or clutch – the

service manager filled out a warranty

form: the date, owner’s name and ad-

dress, car serial number, mileage and

description of the problem. The

dealer’s name was also on the form.

When the car was repaired under the

warranty, a work order was written,

describing the work performed and

the cost of parts and labor.

SAAC: It must have been frustrating,

knowing all this information was

available on these reels but you could

only see them, not get actual copies.

LISKA: I immediately started looking

for a microfiche machine of my own. A

friend in the club who lived nearby,

Pete Larkin, got me an old DataMate

400 from where he worked. It was a

microfiche reader; I could see each

frame of the microfilm but had no abil-

ity to print anything. I had to modify

it a little to run the reels through it

flat, and spool them back onto an

empty reel. But as I was pulling the

film through, I could see each frame on

the screen. I was getting VINs, origi-


Summer 2016 57