bogus cars came up about once a
month (although in many cases it was
the same car). Now we catch someone,
maybe, once a year. There are just
fewer bad cars out there now than
there once was.
SAAC: Because with the registry and
the increased amount of information
the registrars know, it is harder to get
away faking a car.
LISKA: Maybe you can fake the car
but you can’t fake the history. Federal
law said, as of January 1, 1968, a car’s
VIN had to be stamped on the fender
aprons, engine block and transmis-
sion. These aren’t secret numbers.
However, if they are not on a car the
question is, why not?
SAAC: Do you get involved with the
club’s concours car show at the con-
LISKA: Not with things like part
numbers or the finish on certain parts.
But the concours chairman may come
to me to ask about the history of a par-
ticular car: what was the original color
or original equipment? Other individ-
uals in the club are more knowledge-
able than I am when it comes to part
numbers or the nit-picky questions.
Guys like Ed Meyer or Pete Disher.
They are very knowledgeable and are
happy to answer questions, and own-
ers bringing their cars into the con-
cours are happy to have someone to
turn to who can provide specific an-
SAAC: It is sometimes hard for an
owner to believe that someone who
doesn’t own the car might know more
about its history than they do. Espe-
cially after almost 50 years.
LISKA: A new owner contacted me
about his car to see what I knew. This
guy works for NCIS, the Navy’s inves-
tigative arm, and when I started
telling him things about his car he
How do you know who the orig-
inal owner is? I have access to the gov-
ernment’s records and I don’t even
.” I told him we have a wide
net. We can tell who an original owner
was because of the warranty records.
But if a car has had ten past owners,
we might not be able to tell who #s two
through six were. A lot of information
surfaces on eBay and we put anything
that has a VIN connected to it into the
SAAC: Where do you see the registry
and Shelbys in general going in the fu-
ture? There are really two futures: the
near future and the far away future.
What do you see in the near future?
LISKA: I don’t see things changing
that much. The market seems to be
coming back for Shelbys slowly. Hot
items right now are Chevelles and
MoPars, but we had our hot period ten
or fifteen years ago and now it’s kind
of their turn. I remember the story
about, I think it was a ‘66 L-88
Corvette, and nobody knew how many
there were. Somebody stumbled on a
factory record – and it didn’t come
through GM providing it – and there
were only 20 of them made. I saw more
than 20 L-88s go through the Mecum
auction in one weekend [
Stuff is changing. Cars from the 1950s
were hot at one time, and then resto-
mods. Now, not so much. But I think
the market is still good for Shelbys.
The cars that bring the top dollar are
the ones that are correct: the right
parts, the right VINs, the right detail-
ing and markings. Those are the cars
that bring the most money.
SAAC: Are most of the new owners
who contact you younger or are they in
the 50 to 65 demographic, the one a lot
of us old-timers see when we look at
LISKA: They’re not as old as I am.
Liska recently turned 70.
] They are
younger, and they are anxious to learn
about these cars. Every time I can give
someone some information they didn’t
have before you can hear in their voice
that they are happy to know it. If you
can show someone their car’s VIN on
a piece of paper, it’s something he can
hold in his hand, show his friends, and
put it on a display board that he can
stand next to his car.
SAAC: Naturally, as the registrar you
have combed the files for information
on your car. Have you found anything
you didn’t know?
LISKA: As a matter of fact, I did. Back
when my ‘69 GT500 was new and I
was drag racing it, not that I was es-
pecially hard on it, but every once in a
while the shifter would get stuck in re-
verse. I was still using the car for
work, but it wasn’t more than a mile
away. It got sloppy from racing and
would get stuck between first and re-
verse and it wouldn’t move. The car
The SHELBY AMERICAN
Summer 2016 60