The SHELBY AMERICAN
Winter 2016 54
Many Shelby employees had a sense that the time they spent in the employ of the company was magical, and when they left they
took things with them that had no real value at the time except as mementos. Fifty years later the Cobra Experience provides a
perfect place to display them. The file cabinets and desks came from the office at Shelby American’s Venice facility. Ron Butler was
one of the first fabricators hired and he remained until Shelby’s doors were closed in January of 1970. A lot of the machines and
tools that went from Venice to LAX to Shelby’s Torrance race shop ended up with Butler and were used in his fabrication and race
shop. As he was nearing retirement he couldn’t find anyone interested in his equipment. It might be fifty years old but it still works.
The trouble is, not many people starting out in the business know how to work it today. And anyone old enough to know is probably
ready for retirement themselves. The orange chest accompanied Butler throughout his tenure as a Cobra mechanic.