The Shelby American

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The Shelby American (Summer 2016)Summer 2016

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Hertz Hoopla
SAAC-41 Popular Vote
SAAC-41 Vintage Race
SAAC-41 Concours
Vincent Liska
The Mustang IRS Story
Hertz Cruise
A Forever Shelby
Shelby Playboy Connection
Just Drive It!
Click Collection
News from OZ
SAAC-25
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The Shelby American (Spring 2016)Spring 2016

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Peter Brock's Shelby Detomaso P70
Ford GTs Swarm Daytona
Over the Transom
Scottsdale 2016
G7-A Cutaway
Burgy Does Kissimmee
Company Car
Are We Having Fun Yet?
Viva Terlingua!
SSSusan's SSShelby
Amelia Island 2016
SAAC-24
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The Shelby American (Winter 2016)Winter 2016

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Running in the Rain
Twisting the Dragon's Tail
Pebble Beach 2015
Pebble or Bust
Old Timer's Day
One Man's Obsession
Every Car Has a Story
It Was the Best of Times
News From Oz
Cobra Daze
We ♥ Charlotte
Christmas 2015
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The Shelby American (Fall 2015)Fall 2015

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
SAAC Turns 40
SAAC-40 Vintage Race
SAAC-40 Concours
SAAC-40 Popular Vote
Road Trip!
A Trip to Monterey
Standing History on its Head
R-Model Muddle
6 Coupes
The Long Road Back
2015 NorCal Mini-Nats
LA SAAC's Sousa Car Show
Cobra Ned
Wisco or Bust!
The Checkered Flag
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The Shelby American (Summer 2015)Summer 2015

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Curt Vogt
Barn Find with a Twist
Cobra Day
40 Year Fling
Who is Arthur O. Smith?
Donn Allen
SAAC-21
Steve McQueen's Cobra Isn't
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The Shelby American (Spring 2015)Spring 2015

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Cover Car: Early 1967 GT350 #26
LeMans Stripes - A Short History
Narrow Hipped Snake
Sebring 3rd Member Swap
Amelia 2015
Sleuthing Stashed Shelbys
CSX3260
Shelby's Lake Tahoe Footprint
Dealer Flashback
News from Oz
SAAC-20 Hot 'Lanta
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The Shelby American (Winter 2015)Winter 2015

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
There is Something about a
GT350 R-Model
50-Year Reflection
GT350 Competition - an R-Model
by any other Name
The Saga of 5R101
Caretaker of History
Million Dollar Mustangs
R-Model Escapades
The Mustang Race Cars
Team Dockery
The Story of 5R210 and
the Stolen Engine
Once More with Feeling
John Chun
One Used Car - Four Generations
of Family
Branda at 40
SAAC-19
2014 Christmas Cards
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The Shelby American (Fall 2014)Fall 2014

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
The Cobra Daytona Coupe
The Willment Coupe
The Cobra Experience
From the Portfolio of Dick Soules
Hertz Outlanders
Top Guns on the Lex
The Gift of a Lifetime
5S289 Irritation
French Lick Report
Shelbys at Woodward
SAAC-18
The Checkered Flag
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The Shelby American (Summer 2014)Summer 2014

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
1st Taste of Victory
A Kiwi at SAAC-39
Monterey 2014
California Dreamin'
Shelby's Indy Turbine Car
SAAC-17
5S383
CSX2321
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The Shelby American (Spring 2014)Spring 2014

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
SAAC-39
SAAC-39 Vintage Race
SAAC-39 Concours
SAAC-39 Popular Vote
Aussies Across Europe
Mustangs Everywhere
Ed Hull
SAAC-16
The Latest from OZ
Tom Yeager and the June Sprints
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The Shelby American (Winter 2014)Winter 2014

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Amelia Island
Kissimmee
Bob Holbert
The Chase
SAAC-15
Return to Smoke Wrench U.
Shelby American Notchback #6
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The Shelby American (Fall 2013)Fall 2013

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Dick Lins
Snowshoe Cobras
1967 Shelbys
Ford GT Reunion
Aussie-Nats
'67 Quarter-Mile Bandit
Pilgrimage
SAAC-14
The Checkered Flag 2013
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The Shelby American (Summer 2013)Summer 2013

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
SAAC-38
SAAC-38 Concours
SAAC-38 Vintage Race
SAAC-38 Popular Vote
Wally Peat
Carryover Conpendium
A Blast From the Past
Aussies Across America
3179 and the Carport Engine Swap
SAAC-13
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The Shelby American (Spring 2013)Spring 2013

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Flawless
Remembering Rem
Paxton Doppelganger
Smoke Wrench U.
Mr. Mojo Risin'
George Bartell
Tales from the Mustang Ranch
SAAC-12
Cobra 50th at the Shelby American Collection
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The Shelby American (Winter 2013)Winter 2013

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
The Spencer Mustang
Le Reve (The Dream)
Don Pike
The Carroll Collection
Sam Posey
Missing MK II Surfaces
Rally Stripes
SAAC-11
Christmas 2012
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The Shelby American (Fall 2012)Fall 2012

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Cobra Heaven
The Cobra Race
The Shelby Race
The Trans-Am Race
Pebble Beach
Steele Therkelson
Fire in the Tunnel
Real Deal Cobras
Dreams
A Short History of SAAC T-Shirts
Too Much is Never Enough
Goodwood Revival 2012 Shelby Cup
2012 Checkered Flag
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The Shelby American (Summer 2012)Summer 2012

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
SAAC-37
SAAC-37 Concours
SAAC-37 Popular Vote
SAAC-37 Vintage Race
1967 Shelby Anniversary
Tour of the Original Glen Circuit
Viva Pahrump? Viva Las Vegas!
Pomona Cobra Shelby Reunion
Fabulous Fords Forever
Your Worst Nightmare
Bolus & Snopes Unauthorized History
Knight Rider
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The Shelby American (Spring 2012)Spring 2012

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Scottsdale 2012
Mike McCluskey
First Taste
CSX2049
Double-0-1
Boca Raton Concours
Amelia Island
Which Dealer Sold the Most Cars?
The NICB Files - Mustang Thefts
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The Shelby American (Winter 2012)Winter 2012

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
CSX2021 at 50
Drivin'
The 427 Vibe
Shelbys and Cobras in Playboy
Double-0-1
Manhattan Mayhem
Miles Mania
Passenger Seat
Zachary Taylor Reynolds
SAAC-10
50 Years in Cobras
Christmas 2011
After 48 Years
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The Shelby American (Fall 2011)Fall 2011

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Triple Crown
Woodward Dream Cruise
Pay Attention and Focus
Rowdy Blue
Cobras and Shelbys in Playboy
Boss Weekend
SAAC-9
John Collins
Shelby Racing Legends
The SAAC Forum
Regional Profile
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The Shelby American (Summer 2011)Summer 2011

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
SAAC-36 - The Mark IV Convention
SAAC-36 Vintage Race
SAAC-36 Concours Perfection!
SAAC-36 Popular Vote
Driving a J-Car
Little Big Mans
Early 1967 Shelbys
1 of 2
Going In Style
SAAC-8
So, What Is It?
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The Shelby American (Spring 2011)Spring 2011

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Grabbing Your Attention
A Drag Racing Skeleton in the Closet
Making Your Wood Look Good
Lobby Cards
SAAC-7
Work Horses & Show Ponies
Shelby GTS V6
John Timanus
Remembering Phil Hill
The BEST Cobra Movie
Motor Trend Classic Article
The Old Shelby Switcheroo
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The Shelby American (Winter 2011)Winter 2011

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Northeast Regional Fall Meet
SAAC-6
Al Dowd
Shelby, A Retrospective
The Green Hornet
Louisiana Barn Find
The Texan and the Hawk
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The Shelby American (Fall 2010)Fall 2010

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
The Cantwell Car
Automotive Overload
Cammer Cobras
Boulder 2010
School is in Session
The Belgian Connection
Reunion
The Thrill of the Hunt
Sausage, Anyone?
I Can Always Get Another One
SAAC-5 Dearborn
Trifecta II
Farr's Car
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The Shelby American (Summer 2010)Summer 2010

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Go West, Young Man: SAAC-35
GT/CS Time
The Niihau Shell Necklace
SAAC-4
More Fours
Parallel Universe
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The Shelby American (Spring 2010)Spring 2010

The R-Model Scoop
The Whitley Trifecta
SAAC-3
The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Cobra Memories
24 Heures Du Mans 2010
You Did WHAT?
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The Shelby American (Winter 2010)Winter 2010

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
A Lifetime of Shelbys
Out of the Blue
Christmas 2009
SAAC-2
1967 GT350 Competition Cars
Chuck McHose
The Big Show
The Ballad of Little Red
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The Shelby American (Fall 2009)Fall 2009

The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
1965 GT350 SFM5S195
Leave it to Beaver
Concours Comments
The Beaver Race
Third Time was a Charm
Deja Vu
5S003 - The Story Behind the Story
SAAC-1 - The Graybeard Chronicles
Renting a Rent-A-Racer
Invasion - TCR Invades the Capitol
Ken Miles - Like No Other
Hi-Performance Motors
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The Shelby American (Summer 2009)Summer 2009

The MailSAAC
Ford GTs at Carlisle
Simeone Museum Foundation Tour
Reunion
The Way Carroll Would Have
Wanted It
Carroll Smith
Mecum Auction Action
Missing King Cobra History
Shelby Americana
California Made it Happen
Drive 'Em!
Mining for Late Model Gold
All in the Family
Mustangs at Summit
Lost - But Not Forgotten
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The Shelby American (Spring 2009)Spring 2009

The MailSAAC
Soaring With Eagles
Wings & Wheels
Cannonball Chameleon
715 Holleys
The Whoops Factor
Phil Remington
Instant Acceleration
Out of Left Field
Shelby Americana
Still a Driver
Blue Moon Opportunity
11th Annual Shelby American
Employee Reunion
Legends of Riverside
There's No Fool Like an April Fool
SAAC: Days of Thunder
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The Shelby American (Spring 2009)Winter 2009

It's Time
The MailSAAC
Shelby Americana
Serendipity
My Friend Ken
Datzilla
Black Magic
The Strange Travels of GT40 P/1032
Daytona Doings
Shelby Hertz in Austria
Fire Breathing Cobra
SAAC-32: It's Miller Time
Six Out of Six
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This is the display ad section. We urge you to support these advertisers. Most are SAAC members themselves.
We set the wayback machine to 2000 to take another look at SAAC-25 at Lime Rock. It turned out to be the largest SAAC convention ever, and that was probably due to a combination of it being the club’s Silver Anniversary, the fact that we invited more ex-Shelby personnel and Ford players, and because it was at Lime Rock – a very popular race facility in the northeast, an area of the country where we have a large segment of club membership. It seemed the planets were all in alignment for this one.
Our man in Australia, Nez Demaj, does an excellent job of keeping us appraised of what is happening, Shelby-wise, down under. Relative to the size of their country (about the same size as the U.S.) Shelbys are few and far between, but their owners are an enthusiastic bunch and when there is a show, there always seems to be more cars than spots available. And those cars are as nice as any Shelbys anywhere.
Arizona Ford dealer Jim Click put together a nice six-pack of cars he vintage raced on the west coast beginning in the early 1990s. Nobody stays young forever, and as Click has moved into the septuagenarian stage of his life he decided to let the cars go. He chose the RM Sotheby’s Auction in Monterey during car week. Each car had a unique history, both before Click began racing them and during. It will be interesting to see how things shake out in Monterey.
Too many of our cars are parked in the garage as they appreciate and slowly and imperceptibly deteriorate. What are they waiting for? Some hypothetical “next owner” who, it is assumed, would prefer a low mileage example in the best condition possible. Harvey Sherman comes down on the side of driving his car, a blood-red Aurora GRX. He recently took it on a road trip through some of the most scenic areas of central Washington State and returned with photographs and memories. Sure beats the garage.
Playboy magazine has always tried to be on the cutting edge of trends, and they were quick to spot the Cobra as a car worthy of special notice. Shelby American’s marketing department realized that Playboy was an excellent place to advertise but their rates were prohibitively high, so the company was forced to be creative and get in the magazine on the editorial side. We chronicle how that happened through the years of Cobra and Shelby production.
Every car has a story. When one person owns the car for a very, very long time it can be a very, very long story. This story starts with a used Hertz car, seen by a high school student as it drove by every day as he was walking home from school. He befriended the owner and began accompanying him to the track. The Hertz car was used as a push car for a B/Gas Mustang with a one-piece, flip-open front end. Well, one thing led to another and he eventually bought the car. And he has had it ever since. It’s a long story...
It was a terrific way to roll into the “Hertz” convention at Mid-O: In a caravan of six black-and-gold Hertz cars, coming from Chicago on a memorable road cruise. One car was an original ‘66, four more were 2006 models and there was one new 2016 rental – still owned by Hertz! Troy Kruger started in Minnesota and collected the other cars along the way. They even hooked up with a ‘65 Mustang R-Model look-alike along the way. It made for a very memorable convention.
Ever since the first European sports cars were imported into the U.S. in the 1950s, one of the features that defined them as being sports cars was an independent rear suspension. While not exactly the Holy Grail of sports cars, American cars were always seen as coming up short by not having one. When the original Mustang I was created, it was as a sports car and an IRS was essential. But by the time the four-place Mustang went into production in 1964 the IRS had disappeared. But it’s back now.
We catch up with the hard-working 1968-1969-1970 Shelby Registrar. How did he get started and what keeps him going? Maybe it’s the fact that he bought his first Shelby in 1968 – and turned it in on a 1969 model. And don’t forget, he has been overseeing Tech Inspection at national conventions ever since we had the first open track event. When you pick up a registry you can’t imagine the work that went into it, especially at the beginning. We get him to reveal how a lot of that happened. It’s fascinating stuff.
Here are the winners and photos of their cars, all eagerly awaited. The concours was, again, reorganized slightly, reflecting the evolution of the event as head judges continually add to their knowledge about what is “right” and what is “wrong.” This filters down to the entrants, and their cars reflect this in following years. A concours gold winner twenty years ago probably wouldn’t even qualify for a bronze award today. The quest for perfection is continual, with the goal posts continually being moved back each year.
This year’s race was a start-to-finish runaway with none of the first five cars changing leads throughout the entire eight laps. They finished in the order that they started, which means that after the green flag dropped none of them made a mistake or had a malfunction. Sixteen cars started and fifteen finished. Most of the racers were double-dipping. They were entered in the SAAC race but were also there for the SVRA weekend so they got plenty of track time, which what it is really all about.
The Popular Vote car show always seems like it flies by. It takes as much time to get the cars in place on the show field as it does to actually vote. Some trouble was anticipated before the event when show chairperson Diana Duffee received a cryptic note that was signed “The Riddler.” She enlisted the help of the Caped Crusader and his partner, who happened to share more than a passing resemblance to Howard Pardee. They parked the Batmobile on the show field but didn’t stay long enough to get any votes. Zap! Pow!
SAAC-41 was alive with Hertz cars, as befits a 50th Anniversary Celebration. We provide the details, some of which you may have missed even if you were there. And if you weren’t there, this is the next best thing. There was plenty to do, including a tour on Thursday where everyone ended up in the Ohio State Reformatory. They were quickly paroled. The evening program on Friday included a talk by movie screenwriter Patrick Kriwanek who provided some details about the major motion picture about Cobras that is in the works.
Yes, that’s Bob Dylan on his Triumph 650 Bonneville talking to a guy in a Cobra t-shirt in Woodstock, NY – about four years before the festival. On the master eagle eye battlefront, we lost one and gained one, demonstrating some sense of equilibrium in the world. A GT40 spotted in a “Man From Uncle” TV episode we’ll bet you never saw. What an eagle eye can catch in “Back To The Future Part II.” A GT40 on the streets of Paris? Peter Brock puttering with Stromberg 97s? And more.
The usual cornucopia of Shelby-related items of interest. For openers, CSX2000 will be changing owners soon. And how does the car at the left, which looks like something Goofy might drive in a Disney cartoon, fit in to any Cobra equation? Another graffiti vandal captured on film showing no signs of guilt or remorse. Cobra and Shelby pictures you’ve probably never seen before. Check out the Revs Institute digital photo archives...if you have time because it will consume some. Dan Gurney for Governor? What? You missed that?
The cover of the summer issue is traditionally saved for the annual convention. With Hertz cars everywhere, we asked SAAC’s Hertz Registrar, Greg Kolasa, to see if he could take a picture of some Hertz cars that would be suitable for the cover. He was able to check that box for us. There were about three dozen Hertz cars at SAAC-41: 1966, 2006 and even a couple of 2016 models that were rented and driven to the convention. There were probably more than that but getting all of them to park together for a headcount was impossible.
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We set the wayback machine to 1999 and head back to Ann Arbor and Michigan International Speedway to kick through the remnants of SAAC-24. Most of our memories, at this point, are about how the site was selected (an interesting little story in itself) and how the event was planned. Yes, there was some rain but it did not seem to diminish too many spirits. When it rains, everyone gets wet and there’s not much you can do about it. The rain was steady and hard in the morning but by noon the sun was out. A little too late for some.
Bill Fulk is turned loose at Amelia Island for five days and there’s nothing he misses. And that takes some doing because that event is like an amusement park. Like a bloodhound with his nose on the ground, Fulk sniffs out every Cobra, Shelby, Ford GT or Tiger on the island and gets a picture of it, and manages to meet some interesting people along the way. His travelogue is almost like being there yourself. He included one picture of the silver car at the left but didn’t provide any clues as to what it is.
We never get tired of saying that every car has a story. It’s usually just a matter of putting a magnifying glass on it. Susan Stanley’s 1968 GT500 convertible has led an interesting life. After being a daily driver that was her and her husband’s transportation while he was in the army, they took it with them to Germany for a year. After a couple of cross-country trips he decided to replace it, but she liked it so much she convinced him to let her keep it as her driver. We’ll let her explain the Chip Foose illustration.
Everyone is familiar with the Terlingua Racing Team’s black and yellow rabbit logo. And you might even know there is a real place named Terlingua in the southwestern Texas backcountry. Here’s the complete story of how the first chili cook-off came to be and why it was located in the by-God-middle-of-nowhere. And who was involved? Some names may be familiar to you and others not so much. As usual, we dig up the full story behind the story
The New Year’s Day “Anti-Football Rally” sure sounds good. Turning your back on the world of football in favor of a spirited three-hour drive in a Cobra in the company of a hundred or so other similarly minded “car guys” sounds like just the thing instead of settling into the couch and watching college jocks chase an oblong ball around. Could there be a downside? Wait. Stop. Wouldn’t it be a tad chilly on January 1st, even in Northern California? In an open car with virtually no heater?
We love period pictures – especially when they are in color and are sharply in focus. This one picture, sent to Howard Pardee out of the blue, provided the basis for this short article. We can only dream about what it must have been like to live in a neighborhood outside of Detroit in the late 1960s when muscle cars were popular and company executives drove examples back and forth to work every day. Imagine your neighbor’s father pulling into his driveway in a bright red 289 Cobra roadster.
Ever since he packed up and fled Michigan for the Daytona Beach area, we get the impression that Burgy goes to shows and auctions every weekend. And that’s fine with us because we can’t make it to these events in Florida. One of the auctions he never misses is the Mecum extravaganza in Kissimmee where they run 3,000 cars across the block in ten days. It’s the auction equivalent of a 24-Hour endurance race and it makes you dizzy just to think about the constant activity.
This article started out with SAAC member Dick Soules finding some of the illustrations he used to create a cut-away illustration for a Car and Driver cover. That, in itself, was pretty cool. But when we realized the dihedral wing Can-Am car built by Ford had been based on an unused J-Car tub the plot thickened. The Can-Am car had been “sold” to the Agapiou Brothers by Ford for $1. They never raced it and it sat in Charlie’s garage for almost forty years before being sold and rebuilt into a J-Car coupe. Here’s the full story.
Bill Fulk seems to make a habit of traveling to events where Cobras are prominent. Fortunately for us, he is able to put together a report of his travels accompanied by more pictures than we can use. If you can’t go to a place like Scottsdale, Arizona during auction week in January, Brother Fulk is happy to become your tour guide and show you around. And trust us: This guy does not miss a trick. How can he be in so many places at once? Is it possible he was cloned?
Every once in a while we get something incredibly interesting and it comes to us out of the blue. These pictures were a perfect example. Ten years ago Wayne Hofer drove his Cobra replica to work and he was followed into the lot by an older gentleman who was attracted to the car. He said he always loved Cobras and remembered seeing them when he was a kid at a race track. He took some pictures and eventually had them scanned and shared them with Hofer, who shared them with us.
Ford chose the Daytona 24-Hours to debut its new Ford GT which would be entered in the 2016 LeMans 24-Hour race, exactly fifty years after Ford won the event. Remember that famous 1-2-3 finish? It’s probably one of the most famous auto racing photographs of all time. Naturally, Burgy was there to see the debacle. The Fords had teething problems. But there was a gathering of ‘05-’06 GTs that was interesting to see. And as the registrar, Burgy was all over it like a vampire in a blood bank.
What was Peter Brock’s favorite car design? It was originally intended to be the body of the Lang Cooper. But it got to be used for a Can-Am car built in Modena, Italy. That’s a little-known story that even the most erudite Shelby American enthusiast isn’t familiar with. It was supposed to be powered by a 7-liter small block engineered by DeTomaso, himself. That never happened and only one car instead of six got built. We talked to Peter Brock and followed the car to Amelia to get the story.
A new Ford GT book reviewed. Cobra trailer hitch receiver used by Shelby to put a hex on Enzo Ferrari? Truth can be stranger than fiction. Wait! Stop! Farrah Fawcett and her Cobra II? SAAC bar coasters? Copyright lawyers are rushing to the scene. A 5-story GT350-R billboard in San Francisco. 427 SOHC engine spotted on Craigslist: did it cause a riot? What’s Ocean Spray cranberry juice got to do with a Cobra? You’ll have to read it for yourself. How strong is your pencil’s point? What’s that got to do with Shelby?
What is this magazine coming to? Pardee is sending in books about fairies with Shelby mentions. Peter Brock’s take on Gangsta wheels. A SAAC member muscles in on the post office by delivering SAAC Annuals in person. Want to know about the guy who drove the snack truck to Shelby American or would that be that too much information? CSSHPD Sprite school car sells for big bucks – or not so much. When is the last time you saw a Ford GT40 vintage racing? A recent race at Goodwood had 30 of them. We explain why.
The Peter Brock designed Shelby DeTomaso P70 is one of the most beautiful cars we have ever seen. When we caught wind that owner Mark Moshayedi would have the freshly restored car at the 2016 Amelia Island Concours, we had to be there to see it. Peter Brock was also there, walking around clucking like the proud rooster he had every right to be. We took plenty of pictures and we invited several other SAAC members who were attending the event to take some pictures that would fit our vertical format requirement. We hadn’t planned on a “cover contest” but that’s what happened. They were all worthy but we could only use one, so we just covered our eyes and chose.
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We save the car-related cards we receive so we can share them with you. There is a lot of inventiveness out there, and it’s nice to see the kinds of cars that members have. That sometimes changes from year to year. Most interesting was the mystery card, sent anonymously, showing what we assume was a barn find Cobra. We have no idea who sent it or where it was sent from, much less where the picture was taken and what the serial number of the car is (if it, indeed, has one). Maybe it will be unveiled during the new year
Return with us now to the thrilling days of SAAC-23. It was our third time at this North Carolina “cathedral of speed” and it was a pleasant convention location because we knew our way around. We stayed at different hotels, because more had been built since the last visit. The Charlotte area has more NASCAR teams setting up shops there than you can shake a stick at. SAAC member Butch Mock invited everyone to visit his place, the home base for his Remington Arms Taurus race cars.
Our interview with Cobra Registrar Ned Scudder in the Fall 2015 issue included the fact that his first Cobra was CSX2306, and that got SAAC member Ed Maxwell to think about the car when he owned it (prior to selling it to Scudder). That’s often how these stories are conjured up. You see something that jogs your memory and before you know it you are seeing the past very vividly in your mind. The next step is to put your thoughts on paper (or on the computer screen) and share them with the rest of us.
The shortened version of a person from Australia is “Aussie” but it’s often pronounced “Ozzie.” Now you know where the “Oz” comes from. And Oz is a hotbed of Shelby enthusiasm. Even though there aren’t a lot of cars that have found their way down under, the ones that have are excellent examples. SAAC Australian Rep Nez Demaj works hard at keeping us up to date on the happenings, covering the major events that take place and making sure we have plenty of pictures.
There are two major Mustang meets in the Northwest: The Mustang Roundup in Washington State, and the International Mustang Meet in Montana (it bounces back and forth between Canada and the U.S. every year). SAAC member Mike Wright has been attending both of these events for years and he submitted a report of what went on this past year along with photos. Shelbys were, as usual, prominent at both meets.
Shelbys are unique cars and within that pool, a case can be made that each one is unique because of its individual history. And as such, each has a story. It’s just a matter of digging that story out. Long time SAAC member Hunt Palmer-Ball commissioned a photographer to shoot his car and put together a hard cover coffee table book that related its story – and it is an interesting one. How interesting? You’ll have to read that for yourself.
We make a trip to the Seattle area to see the biggest and best collection of Shelby and Cobra memorabilia and literature in the country. Wait, in the world. We wouldn’t have believed it if we had not seen it for ourselves. Superlatives fail us. We also explain the intricacies of collecting and take a look at John Atzbach, the collector himself. And he doesn’t only have dozens of glass display cases full of...stuff. He also has about a dozen meaningful cars, including the first GT350 R-Model and half of all ‘66 GT350 convertibles.
The 2015 Shelby American employee reunion was held in November at The Cobra Experience in Martinez, California – east of San Francisco. Sixty-five former Shelby people were rounded up for the Friday/Saturday festivities. The gala was put together by Bob Shaw and Drew Serb and it was hard to believe they could have done a better job. As these people get older, there are fewer and fewer of them and it is important to recognize them and their contributions to the Shelby American legend.
5S003 was one of the GT350s that was parked on the Pebble Beach green. Part of the Pebble experience was a 75-mile loop that was an option for all participants. Not all of the cars took part, but it was used to break any ties in judging. Mark Hovander invited Chuck Cantwell to handle the driving chores. His photos and story includes not only the tour but his perspective of the entire Monterey weekend, which included parade laps on the track and being included in the famous “tire photo.” Read all about it.
Every year the Monterey weekend revolves around one particular marque. In 2015 it was the GT350 and the vaunted Pebble Beach Concours invited eight cars to participate. Old timers familiar with this country’s most famous concours event never thought that a lowly Mustang would ever be allowed onto Pebble’s 18th green among the Duesenbergs, Packards, Talbot Lagos and Rolls Royce Silver Wraiths. But they were. The Mustangs were GT350s and they attracted a lot of attention – as Shelby’s so often do.
Thirteen Shelbys participated on the GT350 50th Anniversary Tour and Chuck Cantwell was driving one of them. We twisted his arm to put his experience into an article and he was good enough to do so. One of the roads they drove was a twisty two-lane eleven miles long through the Great Smokey Mountains. It has 318 turns and has been described as America’s number one road for sports cars and motorcycles. Once you drive The Dragon’s Tail you will never forget it.
Tom Cotter planned a driving tour nine months in advance and what can you do if it rains the entire time? You drive, that’s what you do. That’s what windshield wipers are for. Earl Morris was one of the participants on the three-day GT350 50th Anniversary Tour through parts of North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. His report makes you wish you were there. And unless we miss our guess, there will me more of these tours in the future.
We review the latest future additions to your bookshelf. Master Eagle Eyes are still at it. What we thought was just a one issue curiosity is still going strong a year later. None of them want to quit. The latest in Adirondack deck chairs. The Goodyear Wide Boots mystery solved. The latest in Cobra wrist watches that are as close to your price range as a real Cobra. 1969 Shelby makes the AACA Hershey poster: The times, they are definitely a-changin’. Latest Cobra/Shelby collectible: Shopping bags. We kid you not.
How many passengers will a Cobra accommodate? News on the Pardee-Brock law suit – things are about to get nasty. LeMans-winning MK IV sent to Gurney for repairs. We dig up the history of the 427 Cobra’s roll bar. Former SAAC member the King of Sweden’s transformation from gearhead to greenie. Shelby’s Venice facility being replicated in Dearborn. A 306 h.p. leaf blower. What’s the deal on these “Gangsta Wheels”? And what about the nude model standing on the Hertz car’s hood? We’re not kidding.
The first thing we thought when we saw this photo sent to us by Jim Sfetko was, “Whoa! Barn find!” Then we noticed the front license plate that said “CHUCK” and we knew it had to be Chuck Cantwell’s 6S796. The photo was taken during last year’s North Carolina- Tennessee-Georgia 50th Anniversary Tour. Cantwell’s GT350 was one of the thirteen cars participating. As a rule, we don’t normally use a picture of the same car on two different issues of The Shelby American, but this was just too good to pass up. And hey – we make the rules, so we can break them.
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Another handful of bright lights in the Shelby World were extinguished in 2015. We should be getting used to this, but you never really do. Each person who passes represents a piece of Shelby history that is irreplaceable. We are better off for their having been among us, but we nonetheless feel the loss when they are gone. Godspeed.
We set the Wayback machine to 1997 and head back to SAAC-22 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The main attraction was “American’s Longest Road Course” and at four miles it lived up to the name. It attracted some historical cars (like the 427 Cobra Daytona Supercoupe) and was almost the scene of a catastrophe when a tornado barreled onto the scene, forcing everyone to retreat to the tunnel under the track. Fortunately it veered away from the track but it made a shambles of the bratwurst dinner in the big tent.
We grab the Cobra Registrar, Ned Scudder, and sit him down for an hour or two and discuss his history with Cobras, how he got his start in the registrar biz, and what he sees as the future of Cobra enthusiasm from his unique perspective. When Ned Scudder speaks about Cobras, it’s like the E.F. Hutton commercial when everyone stops talking and leans in to hear what he is saying. After more than forty years studying, cataloguing and observing these cars and their owners, nobody has more credibility.
Almost everyone who watches television knows what the Santa Monica Pier is. It is used as a background for numerous TV series that are shot in Los Angeles. It’s a fishing pier and an amusement park. And once a year it is the scene of a car show. SAAC’s Los Angeles region has finessed themselves into the position where they are the only car club allowed to use the pier as the site of a car show.
The Northern California region of SAAC held their annual wingding at Sonoma Raceway (formerly Infineon and before that Sears Point in case you’re having trouble following the pea under the walnut shell). It was scheduled for the weekend before the Monterey extravaganza. Harvey Sherman provides an excellent event report and he and Bill Fulk contributed photos of some of the cars that were there.
Ford is going back to LeMans, fifty years after they picked up all the marbles in 1966. And not with a vintage car or some kind of a retro machine but a brand new, state-of-the-art GT40 which will also be available as a street car. After building 4,038 2005 and 2006 Ford GTs and leaving it to individual racers to modify and race them, this time there will be factory entries for the entire 2016 FIA endurance race season. Our Ford GT authority lays it all out. He will also be reporting about the first race at Daytona.
Word spread quickly that all six Cobra Coupes would be at the Goodwood Revival in September. All six had never been together at one time. It was a thought that made Cobraphiles swoon. Special parking and an exhibition with all six cars on the track; it was something not likely to ever happen again. Of course, it took Lord March to make it happen. Peter Brock was one of the guests of honor along with Coupe drivers Allen Grant and Jack Sears.
Speaking of R-Models, Ford unveiled a 2015 Mustang GT350R earlier in the year. It has been described as one of the fastest and most responsive Mustangs ever made: A Camaro killer and a Challenger terminator and certainly worthy of the name. Ford built 37 2015 models to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the original R-Model. Wait. Stop. 37 cars? Shouldn’t that number be 36? How could Ford have made this colossal mistake? We tap the 1965 registrar on the shoulder and ask him to dig into it.
To anyone racing an “honored marque” vehicle at Monterey, at the top of their to-do list is to make sure they get their car into the “tire photo” at noon on Wednesday. Manufacturers customarily use the photo in their marketing plans, and with Ford’s unveiling of their new GT350R they were not going to let it slip past them. You’d think they would have jumped at the opportunity to park their new GT350Rs next to the originals that were there. You’d think.
If you were at Monterey for the race week, you already know the event was huge. It was the 50th anniversary of the GT350 and if you drove one of those cars to the event you were treated like a king. GT350s were everywhere, at every event and we asked photographers Bob McClurg and Bill Fulk to snap away. We were able to fill seven pages with pictures but you can bet this was only a small slice. There was a lot going on and we tried to bring it all to you.
When is the last time you heard about someone driving an early Shelby across the country? How about across and back with a few side trips on each end? Tim Kiliniski rolled up 7,582 miles on 6S336’s odometer and the car did not miss a beat. It was a solo trip on the way out, chasing the sun the whole way. Once he was in California he did a little visiting and then drove north to NorCal’s Mini-Nats at Sonoma Raceway. Then down to Monterey for the 50th party for the GT350. And then back east to Pocono. He tells us all about it.
The pop vote show was scheduled for Saturday morning. It was the last day of the convention, and the thought was that it was the day of highest attendance, so there would be more cars in the popular vote show than any other day. One thing that was noticeable was that the show attracted a large number of IndyCar crews who walked around the cars with appreciative looks on their faces. After rain here and there during the convention, clouds had cleared out Saturday and the weather was picture perfect.
And the winners are... They were announced during the evening program but there was no way that most people could match a name with a car. We can help. Thanks to ace lensman John Guyer, we are able to provide a photo of every winning car. And as an added bonus, we have photos of each of the twelve historical competition cars we invited to share some of the wall-to-wall. We were heavy in R-Models because 2015 is the 50th anniversary of the GT350. We were able to grab a six-pack.
This year’s convention was a double-bump. Not only could intrepid SAAC racers tear up the asphalt in our vintage race, but since we were sharing the weekend with the SVRA they could run in the SAAC practice and qualifying sessions and also compete on Sunday against SVRA’s wild and woolly Group 6 cars: Corvettes, Camaros, Jaguars and Porsches. The SAAC race was held at the end of the day on Saturday, leading some people to wonder if drivers rushing to SAAC’s dinner would still be in their driving suits.
“If you were there, the convention article and pictures might reveal something you didn’t know that took place at the convention. And if you weren’t there, here’s most of the story – because there was so much going on it was impossible for anyone to see everything. Conventions are like that, especially this year where there was wall-to-wall activity at the track at the same time there was concours judging taking place in the Kalahari convention center’s main ballroom. Imagine a concours car in your living room. Then imagine 30 of them.
We grab some pictures from an unaired television promo for a Paul Revere and the Raiders special that used a 289 Cobra and a Tiger. Our four Master Eagle Eyes are still churning out interesting stuff, trying to one-up each other. It’s a spectacle we don’t often see in this club. It includes evidence of one of the four spending an inordinate amount of time watching Rachel Maddow’s uber left-wing yakfest. You’ll have to read it to find out who. And how about a Cobra GT4 heavy duty 4WD mobility scooter?
We find a parallel between Shelby’s “completion” 427 S/Cs and Jaguar’s new “completion” Lightweight XKE. More news about the graffiti vandal gang photographed defacing a ‘65 GT350 in Florida. A Shelby Cougar? Believe that and we’ll sell you some shorefront property in Iowa. Another 50th anniversary commemorative Cobra: This time it’s a Daytona Coupe. An auction in Monterey will peg the value of the Shelby Cobra Challenge Car. An entertaining Dick Smith story. 5S480 disappears from a boneyard. And more!
We went to SAAC-40 with a goal of coming home with a photo like this in our camera. We had only seen the ballroom empty when we visited the Kalahari in June but it wasn’t difficult to envision the room filled with Shelbys and Cobras. With a picture in mind, we requested the hotel’s scissors lift be available on Thursday evening at 11 p.m. so we could get enough elevation to take a cover shot. We knew this would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A ground level photo would not work. Our mission was accomplished, as the cover of this issue shows.
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Every Cobra enthusiast has seen the factory photos of Steve McQueen visiting Shelby American in Venice, talking to Carroll Shelby and driving a Cobra. A lot of books and articles have led readers to believe that McQueen actually owned a Cobra, but if that was the case, we’ve unearthed no documentation to “prove” it. We found a few photos of McQueen with Cobras (not all the same car), but aside from showing that he appreciated Cobras, we can draw no other conclusions.
We revisit our first convention at Lime Rock Park in northwestern Connecticut. It is regarded as being one of the most scenic race tracks in the country. You probably already knew that, but did you know that we had someone in a Cobra replica sneak onto the track during one of the open track sessions and take a lap before escaping without being apprehended? Or how about the open house at SAAC HQ during the convention that nobody went to? Why? They couldn’t find the place! Stuff you never knew even if you were there.
“Buck” Allen was Shelby American’s shop foreman during the Venice days. He oversaw the Cooper Monaco “King Cobra” cars in 1963, and when the Cobra Daytona Coupe design required a plywood buck to be built, he oversaw that project. The buck was followed by the construction of the first Daytona Coupe and he supervised that work, too. He was the Cobra team’s manager at Daytona and Sebring in 1964. After he left Shelby American in 1965 he went into the fuel cell business. He passed away in 1995.
The name A.O. Smith is familiar to every 1968, 1969 or 1970 Shelby owner. But how many know the story behind the company? It didn’t just pop up in 1968 when Shelby needed someone to build the 1968 models. It had been around for a while. How long? Try since the mid-1800s. Arthur O. Smith’s father started the company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, making baby carriage parts. In 1917 they built their own economy car. It’s a story you never knew, but you’re about to learn.
Longtime SAAC member Roger Morrison has owned his orange Pantera for forty years. He has maintained it in perfect condition. In 1975 he paid $9,000 for it. He recalled that, at that time, he could have bought a Ferrari 250 Short Wheelbase Berlinetta for the same price, or a GTO for a couple of thousand dollars more. But could you get one of those foreign cars maintained or repaired locally? Do either have air conditioning? Forget it. They’re not worth the hassle. At least, they weren’t back in 1975. Not so much today.
The Cobra Experience in Martinez, California (northeast of San Francisco) is the latest Cobra museum to spring up. Like all automotive museums, they need more than static displays to keep people coming back. One way is to sponsor car shows, and The Cobra Experience held its first one in June. It drew more than fifty cars and about 650 people. We’d call that a success, and roving Cobra photographer Bill Fulk was on hand to capture the goings-on.
Like winning the lottery, every Shelby enthusiast’s dream is to pull a lost Shelby out of a barn. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. Here’s one story. But it goes a little farther. After Gerry Pechmann found a ‘68 GT500 in a barn in Wisconsin, he then learned that former Shelby designer John Chun lived in Minnesota, only about six hours away. A visit was arranged and Pechmann was able to meet Chun about six months before the designer passed away. Chun’s favorite Shelby? The 1968 model.
“Drive Hard or Stay Home” pretty much sums this guy up. But it wasn’t always that way. We sit him down for a lengthy interview going back to how his involvement with these cars began, and some of the amazing cars he has had his hands on along the way. Like finding Dyno Don’s lost A/FX Mustang hidden in a garage in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood and going there, alone, with $17,000 in cash to deal with thugs he’d never met before. This is the stuff they make movies about.
What year Shelby does pro-wrestler Bill Goldberg drive? Neatest Adirondack deck chair we’ve ever seen. Our master eagle eye battle royale continues unabated. Barn find Cobra scale model? We knew that had to happen. Shelby Cokes? You’ve seen the personalized labels; we explain them. “Cult of the Cobra” – it’s a movie poster but could just as easily describe a SAAC convention. 18th century Cobra breast plate? You saw it here. Cobra door hardware and locksets? Leave it to our eagle eyed detective.
Pickin’ chicken with Jay Leno. Should a Cobrajacking worry you? Only if you’re selling your car. New Ford GT open cars: What do you call them? Roadster? Targa? Spyder? Find out here. The most famous Falcon? You’ve probably guessed it already. Can you bet the farm on auction descriptions? Only if you want to lose your farm. A Cobra every day driver ain’t no barnfind. We try to deflate an overused term. Congress wades into the replica business. Why? They apparently have nothing more important to do.
Imagination plays a large part in looking at pictures of the Cobras’ glory days, because almost all of the photos taken of the cars were in black and white. When you see a color picture it fairly jumps out at you. That’s how we felt about this shot (photographer unknown) taken during the 1964 Sebring 12 Hours of Endurance in March. The FIA roadster, CSX2301, was driven by Bob Bondurant and Lew Spencer (Spencer is pictured behind the wheel during this late pit stop). They finished 5th Overall and 2nd in the Grand Touring class.
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SAAC plunges into the deep south and makes a lot of southern members happy to have a convention within driving distance. Northern members were introduced to pulled pork, hush puppies and RC Cola. After our experiences at Charlotte we had come to like banked NASCAR ovals as open track venues. These larger tracks had plenty of room, lots of asphalt and seemingly endless garages. Going to a new area of the country always brings out cars not many of us had seen and that’s always a big plus.
Australian Representative Nez Demaj takes his job seriously and sends us reports and photos of just about every large Shelby event down under. We appreciate being kept up to speed. We understand that Shelby and Cobra owners outside of the U.S. have a higher level of interest and enthusiasm than the average owner in the U.S. They have to: Everything is more expensive and takes longer to get there. Their cars are every bit as nice as almost any in this country. And they’re not afraid to drive them.
Shelby dealerships were distributed across the country based on population density. You wouldn’t expect to see three dealerships in Broken Pelvis, North Dakota and none in Los Angeles. One of the larger metropolitan areas was Washington D.C. and its environs. Koons Ford, in Falls Church, Virginia was the sixth top-selling Shelby Dealer. SAAC member Pete Disher maintains one of the top Shelby websites and he has an area dedicated to dealerships. With his permission we grabbed some images from his site.
Carroll Shelby took a liking to Lake Tahoe. You and I might have bought a place there but Shelby thought a little differently. He bought a house but also picked up a motel/restaurant/bar and later on bought into a Ford dealership. Carroll Shelby’s Sky Terrace Motel had “The Cobra Bar” which was where a bunch of his trophies finally ended up along with some pictures of him and his Cobra race cars. A bartender said that nobody was ever interested in them. All fame is fleeting.
When you look at a bunch of photos of Cobras, taken by original owners “back in the day,” it is always interesting. If you see enough of them you can see the story they tell. Lee Stauffacher bought a 427 Cobra in July 1966. He shares his story and his pictures with us and it’s a story that provides a little idea of what it was like to be an original owner back in the 1960s. If only we could go back in time.
Most people of think about discovering a real barn find. They’re still out there, so there’s always hope. But SAAC member Jim Kruez has a slightly different take. He does a little investigating to find hidden car collections and just asks to see them. He’s not looking to buy anything, and he must be pretty convincing because he was able to convince the owner of a modest private collection in the Houston area to unlock his garage. Here’s his story.
Ever since Jeff Burgy retired from FoMoCo, left Michigan and moved to Florida, he has been our man at Amelia. He prowls the auctions, car shows, social functions and seminars and he doesn’t miss a thing. Every year they invite a special group of cars to the weekend event and this year it was “cowboy cars.” In the 1950s many television cowboys had special cars which they used in parades or promotions. Once in a while you’ll see one in a museum but there were a bunch at Amelia.
Shelby American mechanic and fabricator Bernie Kretzschmar was freelancing at the Sebring 12-Hour endurance race in late March, 1967. He was asked to assist GT350 R-Model driver Freddy Van Beuren’s team when the car’s rear end started to go south in the 10th hour. They pulled the car in and in about fifteen minutes had the rear end pumpkin swapped out. Kretzschmar provides the play by play. Van Beuren caught the cars in his class and passed them to finished 1st in the 5.0-liter GT class.
Cobras were not produced like cookies coming out of a cookie cutter, mass production style. There were variations that have explanations. The rear fenders on 427 Cobras are not all the same. The 33 “narrow hipped” cars have become interesting for a number of reasons, which we explain. CSX3130 is one of the 33 and is a stunning example – as the photos will show. Tired of every 427 Cobra, reproduction and replica looking like they came out of the 427 S/C cookie cutter? There is an alternative.
After all these years do you think you know everything about LeMans stripes? We’re betting that you don’t. We started doing a little research and discovered that even WE didn’t know everything. They were called “Cunningham stripes” at one time. But you probably knew that. Peter Brock didn’t invent them, but you probably knew that, too. But did you know that Cobra team cars didn’t use then until the GT350 did? After 50 years it’s exciting to unearth new information like this.
It’s not enough for us to put an exceptional photo on the cover of The Shelby American. We need more. We have to dig deeper to get to the story of the car, and every car has one. 1967 Shelby #26 has been in the hands of seven owners and each one has contributed to the car’s history. We asked current owner J.D. Kaltenbach to round up a few pictures so we could properly tell his car’s story.
The four master eagle eyes continue grappling but Bob Barranger dumps the clutch and jumps off the line. World Champion F-1 driver Lewis Hamilton buys a GT500 “Eleanor” car. A Cobra seat on the Millenium Falcon? Does the Persil Professional remind you of James Bond? Except that 007 didn’t drive a 427 Cobra. Imagine if he had. Info on the Phil Remington book that you’ll want to read. A Cobra 289 cutback door car on “The Man From Uncle.”
The ultimate solution to the air car problem. Is Chuck Cantwell the new poster boy for Sunoco? A serious GT40 diorama that looks like a museum exhibit. How about a new/old Mustang? We detail the Revology ‘66 Mustang that combines a Dynacorn unibody with a 302 crate motor, 5-speed and every other state-of-the-art component...at $120K. A graffiti vandal is photographed defacing a GT350. Did you catch Jay Leno’s Cobra in the Shell TV ad? How about Pardee’s Earth Day celebration? Fastest Cobra in the world.
We knew that it was past time we had a 1967 Shelby on the cover, but getting the “right” image isn’t easy. They don’t come along every day. When we saw the pictures that J.D. Kaltenbach took of his early GT350 we had no doubts what would be on the next cover. You have to wonder how many times J.D. drove past those trees in the fall, when they were in full color, and said to himself, “That would make a great background for a picture of my car.” Indeed it would. It was just a matter of waiting for the right day and the right time of the day. His patience was rewarded. Ours, too.
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We get some pretty neat cards every year around Christmas and we’d feel really guilty about not sharing them.
SAAC goes to Indianapolis. We weren’t the only ones excited; just about everyone who showed up was borderline giddy. And why not? This was the home of the vaunted Indy 500. While the folks at the Brickyard did not rent the track out to any groups for high speed events, we were able to hold the car show there and get out on the track for parade laps. There was more to that story. We used Indianapolis Raceway Park for the open track and some drag racing. And what about that science fiction convention? Pardee and the Klingon?
Tony Branda has been in business selling Shelby parts full time for as long as SAAC has been around. He has been sending large, postersized calendars to his customers for about fifteen years. This year he decided on a change of format. The 2015 calendar is a 12 x 12 wall-hanger. On each of the pages is a different Ed Gullett illustration taken from previous calendars. Those illustrations are terrific and we’re guessing you can still get a calendar, even if you’re not a customer. You could become one very easily.
At what point does a car become a family heirloom? Four generations of the Devlin family have a hands-on relationship with this 1967 GT500. It’s much more than a car out in the garage. The story begins in the 1960's and continues through the present. Car shows bring all hands on deck.
He was the invisible hand behind late model Shelby design. John passed away in 2013 but about four months earlier we had exchanged a lengthy series of emails about his days at Shelby American/Shelby Automotive and how he came to work for the company. It was a fascinating story. Imagine a young Korean man with the dream of being an automobile designer. The obstacles he had to overcome and his single-minded desire to be successful is an inspiring story we are happy to be able to present here.
Peter Brock goes back to clean up the original R-Model concept. When the first car was built, everyone was up against a deadline. And once the specifications were finalized, production began and there was no going back. No do-overs. Until fifty years later. Brock and the two of the original fabricators, Jim Marietta and Ted Sutton, decided to take another bite of the apple. Two cars were built and unveiled on February 14th at Willow Springs. Fifty years to the day from when the first R-Model raced.
Everyone suspected that as Shelby American grew, so did the opportunities for some of the good stuff to disappear out the back door. Maybe it did, but probably not as much as people think. After all, the company wasn’t exactly run like a pirate ship. This story is one of the more amusing ones we’ve heard. It proves that truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction.
Bob Dockery and his brother had a Ford dealership and in 1966 they sponsored two R-Models, one for Marty Krinner and the other one for Mark Donohue. Krinner and Donohue won on Sunday and helped the Dockerys sell on Monday. Bob shares some of the experiences and stories the Shelby relationship provided to him. You’ve never read about any of this stuff anywhere else. Best news? Bob Dockery owns both cars today and you’ll see them at the convention at Pocono.
Bernie Kretzschmar was hired at Shelby American in 1965 when he was only 22. He joined the company expecting to work on Cobras but, instead, was put on the “Mustang project.” His job was to help build the R-Models. And to bring them out to the track where he sometimes got some seat time before Chuck Cantwell showed to track-test them. Once he got busted when Chuck showed up early, but he was released on his own recognizance.
Colleen Kopec has acquired some R-Model experience during the twenty-six years 5R098 lived in her garage. She had the opportunity to drive the car at Pocono and Watkins Glen during SAAC conventions. That was enough to get a taste, and for her to realize that hanging up her helmet before the fickle finger of fate pointed her in the direction of a serious encounter with bad luck was a good idea. Not everyone can march in the parade. Some have to sit on the curb and clap as it goes by.
Seeing an R-Model at the first SOA convention made a lasting impression on Jeff Burgy. While cars that became available were always a little out of reach, that never stopped him from imagining what owning and driving one would be like. He demonstrates that being mesmerized by these cars does not always lead to ownership but can, nonetheless, be enjoyable.
Marty Beaulieu wanted an R-Model so he could race against Jerry Titus, Ken Miles and Mark Donohue. Well, sort of; he just had to imagine real hard. He didn’t want just any R; he set his sights on the Essex Wire car and was almost surprised when he caught its owner in a weak moment. Maybe it was just kismet. His goal was to keep the car as original as it had been since it had begun vintage racing twenty-six years earlier. Dreams sometimes do come true.
Alan Bolte wanted to race a Shelby after vintage racing began to take hold in the late 1970s. The Monterey Historics were the brass ring he was riding the merry go-round to grab. But at that time your car had to have verifiable racing history. That means “R-Model” and Bolte found one for sale. Within a couple of years he was the GT350 to beat at the Historics, often finishing ahead of a pack of Cobras and Corvettes. After selling it he was compelled to buy it back. That won’t happen again. All’s well that ends well.
Howard Pardee may be the poster boy for R-Model owner wanna-bees. Becoming an owner is a high bar to clear. But once you’ve pulled that rabbit out of your hat, actually racing the car is still light years away. But is there some middle ground? Can you drive it on the street? Absolutely. Pardee has had his car at most conventions since he bought it in 1983 and drives it in the open track. And he rattles windows in his neighborhood. Could you do that? All you need is the winning lottery ticket.
Chuck Cantwell is someone who has a lot of R-Model experience, from day one, so he was very high up on our list of people we would like to have represented in this section. He tested both factory cars and track-tested every customer car. And if he doesn’t feel a little guilty about having been paid to do that, he should. He also got a few races under his belt when the opportunity presented itself.
We attempt to discover just what it is, with a little help from our friends. We asked R-Model owners, former owners, wanna-bees and wish-I-could-have-beens to explain why these three dozen cars maintain such a hold on our imaginations. Is it something everyone can agree on? Not likely. Nor should it be. Art lovers looking at a Monet or van Gogh will not agree what makes them so magnificent. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everyone sees R-Models through different eyes.
Our master eagle eyes are back at it. We thought that Ken Young was down for the count but he bounced back like an inflatable bop-bag. Another Pardee adventure results in another speeding citation. Like, who wouldn’t have seen that coming? Should we expect to see giant, 1/5-scale radio-controlled cars at the next convention? Forrest Straight gets gobsmacked. What’s that all about? Details on the new Charlie Kemp R-Model diecast. A 1965 Cobra comic book that will send collectors scrambling.
We’re on top of the 2016 Ford GTs. And we review the death of Daytona Coupe driver Peter Brock (you’ll have to read about it for yourself). Chuck Cantwell’s evil twin? The badass one, not the lovable lug we know. Ever hear about George Washington’s ax and what it means to Cobras and Shelbys? 427 on Monza’s high banking? Yep, we break that story. A couple of crispy critters (a Shelby and a Cobra) always make for interesting reading, even if they leave nobody smiling. And more, of course.
We’re not big on anniversaries, maybe because there are so many of them. Shelby models, one at a time, are turning 50. That many anniversaries loses some significance but that doesn’t mean we’re going to ignore them. We’ll try to strike a balance. Everyone will use 2015 as an excuse to celebrate the GT350’s 50th Anniversary, so we’ll ante up for that game. With the R-Models turning fifty this year, a few articles and pictures seem to be in order. We work a little harder at it than other magazines. The cover photo we’ve chosen for this issue is a studio image of 5R098, taken by professional photographer Don Heiny during a shoot for Vintage Racer magazine about twelve years ago.
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There is a great story behind Mark Hovander’s cover car, 5S284, and its appearance at SAAC-32. Mark is a very creative guy with a sense of vision and context. Eric English’s stunning photos of the car at Bonneville are a bonus.
SAAC-32 National Convention coverage: Vintage Race results; Mustang Race results; concours comments; Hi-Performance Motors Car Show results; Shine 'N Show results.
Not all Cobras have four wheels. This one was a former gunslinger.
The first 2006 Shelby GT-Hertz sold to someone in Eurpoe was purchased by a SAAC member who works for Hertz in Austria. Here’s his story.
The recent HSR vintage races at Daytona International Speedway was the site of a Shelby and Cobra meet put on by the good guys at Orlando Mustang. Here’s a brief report.
This GT40 MK II raced at Sebring and LeMans in 1966 and then sort of disappeared. This is the story of how it was identified and its history confirmed, mostly by photographs. It’s a real life detective story.
The first Cobra production roadster has a pretty unique history. It was raced in France where it lived for most of its life, and was only recently returned to the U.S. where it underwent a restoration to comp specs. It is one sweet snake.
You don’t really expect Peter Brock to be driving around in a bone-stock econo-bucket, do you? Of course not. But would you expect him to be behind the wheel of a stock looking Chevy-powered Datsun 510 that will give Turbo Porsches, Z06 Corvettes and Cobras conniption fits?
Some things you never knew about one of Shelby American’s best and most beloved drivers, as told by one of his closest friends.
The very first 1967 Shelby GT500 prototype was discovered in a boneyard and was thought to be a Mustang. It had been donated to a prison auto mechanics class. This is the story of how it was rescued and then how it came to be identified as the very first Shelby prototype.
Reviews of books relating to the Cobras, Shelbys, GT40s or personalities that surround them. Submissions from members of items of interest, collectibles, advisements, geegaws and doo-dads relating top these cars.
Items of interest, editorial comments, current events, interesting questions and answers. Always interesting reading and stuff you’re not likely to see anywhere else.
The Shelby American goes online starting with this issue. It will eventually be available to members only. The magazine has been evolving for thirty-four years, and this editorial reviews the magazine's history and the rationale for making the jump from a printed to an electronic version.
Mark Hovander of Seattle, WA set SAAC-32 as the goal for completing the almost decade-long restoration of his 1965 GT350, 5S284. The location was appropriate because his car was one of four 1965s sold by the Salt Lake City Shelby dealer, Bennett Ford. This photo was snapped at dusk at the Bonneville Salt Flats on the day before the convention by Eric English.
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The full report of last August’s Thunderbolt Raceway weekend: Convention wrap-up, evening program, Concours Comments and concours stats, Car Show winners, a full vintage race report, photos of all the cars and our amazing lap chart. Ditto for the Mustang race.
Ever wonder exactly how the April Fool pranks you’ve seen in the Shelby American or on the website were hatched? Here’s some behind-the-curtain details. If you’ve never been fooled by something like this, there’s always next year...
The track may be gone but the memories will remain forever. Many of the people who provided them are still around, and they gathered for a weekend to celebrate and pay tribute to Dan Gurney, who was inducted as a “Legend of Riverside.”
This year’s Shelby American employee reunion was held at the NHRA Museum in Pomona, CA.
A car like CSX2601 only comes up for sale once in a blue moon. Only six Cobra Daytona Coupes were made and at the prices they command, sales are few and far between. Under the bright lights and live television of the Mecum Auction in Indianapolis, one of the most historically significant Daytona Coupes goes up for sale in public. Who better than Peter Brock to provide a condensed history of this car?
This is the story of CSX2230, a Cobra that has remained a daily driver for its entire life. it is virtually as it always was, with 130K on the odometer. It’s a most interesting story and one that should give hope to anyone dreaming about buying a Cobra from its original owner.
Submissions from members of items of interest, collectibles, advertisements, geegaws and doo-dads relating to these cars. Nothing is too obscure to escape our interest.
Ever wonder how public relations photos are taken and then find their way onto sales brochures? And what happens to the ones that don’t get used? Here’s an interesting story about some which were shot in the summer of 1966 for the 1967 Shelby brochure.
In 1964, if you looked up “acceleration” in the dictionary, there was a picture of a Griffith. Here’s a brief history of the marque, illustrated with pictures of Randy Hartigan’s stunner, done up as a Griffith factory racer might have looked.
Everyone on the Cobra/GT40 team deserves praise for helping to make those cars what they became. But there were a few who deserve a little more praise than the rest. And there was one who stands out above and beyond everyone else. This interview was printed in August, 1991 in The Shelby American #59.
Does it seem like an awful lot of new Ford GTs have been wrecked or damaged during their short time on earth? Jeff Burgy, the Ford GT Registrar takes a look at the problem along with a bunch of very sobering horror pics.
Everything you need to know to identify an original from everything else. And what those numbers mean that are stamped into the air horn. Bill Heinson has been researching 715 Holleys for years. And you thought YOU knew a lot about these carburetors...
Roger Paul Martens wanted to run his GT500 in the Cannonball. He modified the car for long distance, high speed running and added some features that would make James Bond jealous. Chameleon? He can change the taillight configuration by flipping a few switches.
Chris Burkhart’s photos struck a chord with us. Owners of Shelbys and Cobras never miss an opportunity to photograph their cars with airplanes. Why? We’re not sure. But the pictures are terrific. We’re surprised at how many we’ve collected.
Some pictures are just too good not to use. Chris Burkhart’s cars looked sooooo good parked next to those P-51 Mustangs that we knew we just HAD to include them in a separate article. Here’s to you, Chris.
Items of interest, editorial comments, current events, interesting questions and thoughtful answers. This is the stuff you’re not likely to see anywhere else. Like this jet-powered Cobra.
There is just something very special about a picture of a Shelby and a warbird. When we saw this photo of Chris Burkhart's '68 Shelby parked near a restored P-51 Mustang, we knew it was a “cover shot.” It was taken at the “Gathering of Mustangs” a few years ago in Columbus, Ohio. To get this shot the photographer stood on the wing of a KC-135 refueling tanker.
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Tom Conley bought a 427 Cobra in 1966 and it was stolen in San Francisco and never recovered. He went through the next twenty-five years with crossed fingers, hoping it would surface and he would get it back. Not every story has a happy ending.
The Tara (GA) Mustang Club holds a show at Summit Racing Equipment’s facility every year. This year a pristine ‘66 GT350H was one of the feature cars, backed up by a six-pack of ‘06 Shelby GT-Hertz models. It was a black-and-gold Hertzfest.
One 1967 GT350 has a pretty unique history: It has been driven by a grandfather, a father, and a son. It’s never left the family and it spends most of its time on the track.
Shelby literature and memorabilia collectors have always complained about the lack of stuff available when compared to Cobras and early Shelbys. But they just weren’t looking hard enough, as '68-'70 Registrar Vincent Liska demonstrates.
Fifteen Cobras showed up for the once yearly driving tour, this year through West Virginia and Virginia back roads. Constant rain didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm.
Shelby American had a lot to do with the 1968 GT/CS, from providing the initial spark, to developing a prototype, to assisting with production details. SAAC member and GT/CS guru Paul Newitt lays it all out, along with details on the NewGen California Specials. Think you know a lot about California Specials? Think again.
A couple of book reviews, some interesting advertisements, cool post cards, calendars, more custom postage stamps, and let’s see... what are we forgetting? Oh yeah — Danica Patrick posing for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. All sent to us by members.
CM 3/63 was raced ‘63 and ‘64, but we saw a factory invoice which had the car going to F.A.V. in England in ‘65. That didn’t fit the story but was irrefutable evidence. Ten years later, historian Chuck Brandt discovers “the rest of the story,” and suddenly the errant invoice fits like a glove. Here’s how it fell into place.
The Mecum Spring Musclecar Auction was held in mid-May in Indianapolis. If a Cobra Daytona Coupe wasn’t enough to attract your attention, how about a 427 S/C, an R-Model, a King Cobra, a couple of GT40s and about 20 other Cobras and Shelbys? They all went across the block — most on Friday evening. SAAC’s Membership Director Jay Talbott was attracted, like an iron filing to a powerful magnet. He took some pictures and filed this report.
His official title from 1965-1967 was Shelby American’s GT40 Team Manager, and in that capacity he solved just about every problem that confronted him. He went on to become a legend in race car engineering and competition preparation.
When he restored his ‘68 GT500, Rick Thompson decided to put a little additional icing on the cake, as well as a big cherry in the form of a firmly massaged 600-horsepower ‘65 Galaxie Rcode 427. But from the outside, it looks bone stock.
Doug Cresanta discovered that the original owner of 6S188 was still living in Montana — where he had purchased the car some forty years ago. When Cresanta decided to drive his GT350 from New Jersey to SAAC-32 in Salt Lake City, he planned the route to include a stop in Livingston, MT to meet Phelps and to let him take the car out for a drive.
Dr. Fred Simeone has collected an amazing group of cars for his museum in Philadelphia. One of them is CSX2287, the first Cobra Daytona Coupe made. He also has a Ford GT Mk II and a Mk IV. Once a month they have an open house on a Saturday and take a few cars out back to exercise them. When word got out that the Coupe and two GT40s would be opening their pipes, about 50 interested parties materialized. Capt. Dave Cherniak, the most prolific voice on SAAC’s Forum, was there to witness the action. He files this report.
SAAC’s Ford GT Registrar Jeff Burgy heads to the All Ford Weekend at Carlisle to see the collection of Ford GTs that have gathered. His report and photos are the next best thing to being there.
The story about a stolen Shelby spotted by its owner at a car show and eventually returned. Charlie Kemp’s R-Model and the Kemp Cobra II. An original owner ‘67 GT500. How much does a rebody hurt the value of a Shelby? A little more history on CSX2601. More “Wings & Wheels.” Hood pin adventures. And some other neat stuff.
Very few color photos were taken at racing events in the early 1960s because virtually all publications used black & white in their race reports. The beginning of the January ‘63 Riverside race was captured by Peter Luongo. Dave McDonald, driving CSX2026 (#198) won. Ken Miles was driving CSX2008 (#98). This is the first time this photo has ever been published.
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Carroll Shelby & Lew Spencer’s Hi-Performance Motors dealership was originally set up to keep retail buyers out of the factory. SAAC member Seigi Kishi decided to use the now vacant building as a backdrop for a photo of his GT350. There is a little more to it than that.
A month before his tragic death in a Ford GT40 J-Car in August of 1966, Ken Miles was interviewed on a Los Angeles FM radio station. We transcribed it and printed it in The Shelby American back in September, 1983. It’s as good now as it was back then.
Back when the earth was cooling and the first Shelby club was taking shape, four Cobras and a handful of Shelbys parked in front of the U.S. Capitol for a photo. Wonder how that happened? Here’s the story.
In 1966 they really did rent GT350s. But did anybody really race them? Our intrepid Hertz registrar, Greg Kolasa, does some research and shares the results with you.
Part 1 of a 34-part series on SAAC national conventions. Judging by what we’ve seen on the SAAC Forum, some of you have forgotten what really went on at these things and others weren’t even born when it did. We set the Wayback Machine to 1976.
If you’ve ever wondered how the GT350 was born, it’s time for a history lesson. 003’s owner, Mark Hovander, puts his car under the magnifying glass, and we lean on Professors Cantwell and Brock to help get the story right. No matter how much you think you know, you’ll learn something here. Sit up and pay attention.
The first GT500, a prototype, was used by Shelby American in promotional photos which were used in ads and showroom literature. The car was at SAAC-34, so some clever SAAC members used it to recreate history. Everyone got caught up in the spirit — even Chuck Cantwell. And who was that model?
SAAC member Gary Goringer vintage races a ‘68 Mustang Trans-Am car. It was originally owned by Mustang/Shelby parts empressario Bill Maier. Here’s the story of the car, along with just how it came to be parked in Goeringer’s garage.
The SAAC-34 race report. A picture of every car in the big race along with our super slick lap chart which shows you exactly what happened and when. Also a look at the SAAC convention record book. Hard to believe we’ve been racing for 11 years.
SAAC-34’s concours wrap-up with a picture of every car that scored an award. Also, those all important concours statistics and comments about the event by our esteemed concours co-chairs, Paul Zimmons and Joyce Yates.
Did you miss SAAC-34? Here’s the full report. After reading this you’ll think you were there — or, close to it. It’s all here: Run up to the convention, behind the scenes, the Thursday night welcome mixer, Popular Vote Car Show results, a look at the open track, special guests.
It began with Clyde Masden sending us a photo of 5S195 for the registry. As soon as we saw it, we thought “cover.” But beyond that, there was a story about this car’s history and it was an interesting one. And a bunch of terrific photos didn’t hurt, either.
We review the latest Shelby and Cobra books to hit the market. And there’s also the usual passel of signs, collectibles, ceramic sculptures and even a Cobra Dog lunch trailer.
A new Mustang magazine. More “Wings & Wheels.” The Cash For Clunkers program gets a GT350 turned in? What’s the AC “Superblower”? ‘67 Shelby roll bar info. Can those Dynacorn unibodies be passed off as originals? And a few more tidbits.
We knew it was a cover photo the minute we saw it. Clyde Madsen’s GT350, 5S195, was caught at dusk by photographer Rich Truesdale. The Lido Diner is on Lido Island, a suburb of swanky Newport Beach. Back in the 1960s it was a weekend hangout for the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean and other surfer bands and hot rodders. How appropriate.
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In 1967 Shelby American investigated the possibility of including a notchback and a convertible into its product line. One prototype of each was built. The notchback was powered by a big block which eventually became a rolling test bed for twin Paxton superchargers. It also became the inspiration for the 1968 Mustang GT/CS. Paul Newitt has been researching those cars for a couple of decades, so he’s the perfect one to tell this story. Where is the car today? Sadly, it went to the crusher.
Everybody watches the Barrett-Jackson Auction on television. But what is it really like to run a car through the Big Show? Here’s a hint: It’s not what you see on TV!
Making a Mustang look like ‘65 or ‘66 Shelby was fairly simple: Delete some emblems, add a fiberglass hood and some painted stripes. But in 1967, things were different. A bolder styling statement was needed. Shelby sent a request to Ford for a designer to make some magic. Chuck McHose was the man and the 1967 Shelby was his magic. In this interview he explains exactly how everything was done, in-house.
The 1967 GT350 was a little larger and a little heavier than the earlier cars and, as a result, wasn’t competitive as a B/P racer. But that doesn’t mean none were ever raced. Shelby American had a contingency plan to homologate the 1967 models in case there was a demand. There wasn’t, but the filing of those papers allowed a few cars to be modified for competition and raced. Here’s the story, which you won’t read anywhere else.
Number 2 in a series. Hershey, Pennsylvania was the first SAAC East Coast convention. It was an exciting event and you’ve probably seen some references to it on the SAAC Forum, but not many members know the inside story behind it. The biggest difference between then and now: More original Cobras (it was before replicas were invented) and there were very few trailers (everyone drove their cars).
We never cease to be amazed at how clever SAAC members are and that is especially demonstrated around Christmas when it comes time to put together a holiday card. We get a bunch and we’d like to share some of them with you.
Our email is like a box of chocolates — we never know what we’re going to get when we open it. Here’s a great example. We’re familiar with the April 1969 issue of Motor Trend that had a one-page article on a Daytona Coupe owned by a guy who owned six service stations in North Dakota and drove it the 600 miles between them. But here comes a remembrance — with pictures — from someone who happened to be there at the time and who saw the car. And took photos. Which he shared with us. Cool stuff.
The first time SAAC member Mark Hartle saw a Shelby was in 1967. This story begins there and follows his enthusiasm... and trail of cars... all the way to the present. It’s like an action movie with plot twists and turns that will have you turning the pages to see what happens next. It ends with Hartle’s ownership of the Guardsman Blue CSX4000 you see on the cover of this issue.
A cornucopia of collectibles and Cobra/Shelby related sightings sent in by members who demonstrate that, just perhaps, they might have a little too much time on their hands. What’s spilling out of this issue’s grab bag? A master modeler creates a work of art... the bottom drops out of the Shelby literature market?... duel of the Eagle Eye kings... whatever happened to the Playmate of the Year Pantera? ... a Ford GT representing a sex toy and marital aid business? It’s all here.
Items of interest but not enough to make a fullfledged article. Chuck Cantwell buys a ‘66 GT350... Bruce Cambern’s original 427 Cobra kicks butt in a run-what-ya-brung, bare knuckles competition after the SEMA show... Terry Krystofiak fondly recalls the ‘67 GT500 and 289 Cobra he once owned and drove daily in San Francisco... Trish Jensen is no shrinking violet behind the wheel of her GT350 vintage racer... Chuck & Greta Sussman break in their ‘08 Shelby on a 9,500-mile trip.
It’s always nice to be able to link the cover of the magazine to an article inside, but they don’t always come as a package. In this case, we got the article first. SAAC member Mark Hartle sat down and wrote about his experiences with Shelbys, beginning with the first one he ever saw in 1967. We found his story really interesting — as we’re sure you will — and when we got to the end and saw the CSX4000 he currently drives, the light bulb went off over our head. Mark, of course, jumped at the chance to get his car on the cover, but as he learned, it wasn’t easy. It takes more than just snapping a quick picture. He employed the photographic talents of David R. Godwin in St. Augustine,FL. drg2814@gmail.com
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If you’ve ever driven the open track at a SAAC convention you certainly remember the first time you went out on the track. It’s something you never forget. Jackie Keller shares her memories of her first ladies’ session, back at SAAC-28 in Nashville in May of 2003. It was definitely habit forming, as conventions after that have proven.
This year, three new Ford GTs competed in the 24 Hours of LeMans. That’s fairly exciting to anyone who remembers the glory days of 1965-1966-1967-1968-1969. But even more exciting is the fact that one of this year’s cars was driven by a team of Swiss girls. Our intrepid Ford GT registrar Jeff Burgy was there... in spirit. He also watched parts of it that were carried live on the Speed channel. And he his report included some help from SAAC member Chip Beck, who was there.
Between August of 1969 and today, not a minute has gone by when Geoff Howard hasn’t owned at least one Cobra. In 1973 he bought a 427 S/C that was painted Candy Tangerine with black lace scallops. He called it the “Great Pumpkin” and it’s just one of the stories he carries around with him. He unpacks a few of his memories for us. For instance, he used this car as a daily driver, even in the snowstorms that are a part of the winter in Connecticut. You’ll want to read more.
The usual cornucopia of contemporary Cobra collectibles copiously culled from a complex and convoluted collection of common correspondence. Included are book reviews, pictures and information about slot cars and baby Cobras. And then there is the continuing smackdown between the club’s two reigning EELH Kings, Jim Hutchison and Ken Young, who continue to try to outdo each other in turning up obscure scraps of Cobra and Shelby related trivia.
An outside legal opinion about cars with duplicate serial numbers... another Cobra derivative coming out of AC Cars, LTD. We thought that were down for the count, but somebody put the paddles on their chest and yelled “CLEAR!” Make way for the Iconic AC Roadster. Wake us up when this is over... if you’re into NHRA drag racing maybe you’ve noticed some big block Shelbys pulling wheelstands. All is not as it seems. We have the story. And what about that Bonneville GT350? You tell us.
For SAAC’s third convention, in 1978, it was back to the West Coast. We didn’t see any little old ladies in Pasadena but there were plenty of Cobras. It was the first open track at a national convention, and a taste of things to come. There was a Daytona Coupe, Carroll Shelby showed up, the track was the new Ontario Motor Speedway and a bunch of ex-Cobra drivers, crew members and Shelby employees joined us. Hard to believe it was thirty-two years ago...
Bill Whitley has been a SAAC member since day one. And before that he was a Cobra Club member and an SOA member. He bought two GT350s and a 289 Cobra back in the 1960s — something many of us now dream about. In the beginning they were daily drivers and as the years passed, the stories accumulated. Now the cars have passed to new owners but the memories are still his. He shares some of them. Those were the days.
Yes, the rumors were all true. There was a clandestine newsletter for R-Model owners published between 1981 and 2006. How it remained a secret all these years is as great a mystery as what became of SFM5R529. No matter: The cat is out of the bag now, so we’ll spill everything. If you want to know about Mark Donohue during his R-Model days, this is the place. The latest owners? The still-missing cars? It’s all here.
Bob Bondurant at the wheel of 5R001 at Laguna Seca, circa 1966. We’ve had this photo bouncing around SAAC HQ for at least twenty-five years and we’ve been patiently waiting to use it somewhere. In that this issue unveils the heretofore secret R-Model newsletter, it’s the perfect time. The car uses a new, second generation front apron which has the larger, elongated inlet holes instead of the early, round ones. For some reason, it never got LeMans stripes.
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How do we describe this one? Gerald Roush edited the Ferrari Market Letter for half of his life. In an editorial last year, he described his thoughts on that milestone. Someone sent it to us and suggested we read it because there were a lot of parallels. There were more than a lot. We could insert Cobra/Shelby every time he used Ferrari and not much would change. That is spooky.
GT40 J-Car production continues. Say what? Well, unless you have your copy of the Cobra/GT40 registry, this will probably be news to you. Mike Teske started a project to recreate a batch of MK IVs to original specifications. Seven of them, continuing after the last original car, J-12, and built with the help of ex-Kar Kraft and Ford guys. A lot of people scoffed and doubted that it would ever happen. Well, fooey on them. Check out these pictures!
Another trip down Memory Lane, this time to Downingtown, Pennsylvania for a look in the rearview mirror at SAAC-4, which took place June 28-29-30, 1979. The convention started the day before, when the early arrivals were just pulling into the hotel lot and the departing guests were leaving. That’s when the geezer in the Buick backed into the rear fender of Pardee’s ‘65 GT350, leaving a tennis ball-sized dimple. He then tried to drive off and was cornered by witnesses. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves...
If you’ve been to most conventions since SAAC-20 in Atlanta, you’ve probably seen a black Cobra with Hawaiian plates running around. This isn’t someone who slaps those plates on a car they drove 100 miles. Kei and Miki IInuma have criss-crossed the U.S. in their Cobra, usually hitting a SAAC convention along the way. Their trips make for some very interesting stories. Here’s one of them.
SAAC-35 had a convention-within-a-convention. We invited California Special owners to the party and GT/CS-meister Paul Newitt was the first one onboard. We asked him to put his impressions into a brief article and this is what he came up with. We suspect we made some SAAC converts that weekend. How will we know? If we start seeing GT/CS cars at future conventions.
Complete convention coverage: Everything from behind-the-scenes planning to day-by-day narratives. If you weren’t there, by the time you read this you’ll feel like you were. Photos? We’ve got ‘em, thanks to the wonders of the Internet. Publishing online means never having to edit anything good out of the article. We can use everything, so you get the full story. And it’s all here. This one will keep you up late.
Longtime automobile photographer and SAAC member Curt Scott spills his guts with the secrets to good automobile photography. If you have a car and a camera, you’ll want to read this. The ongoing Eagle Eye slugfest between the potentates of indolence, Jim Hutchison and Ken Young continues. Also, how about some info on the only way to get Dan Gurney’s autograph. And a bunch of other neat stuff that just makes you shake your head.
We scour the globe (and the Internet) for items of interest in the world of Cobras and Shelbys. How about some pictures of the retrieval of a 427 Cobra that landed upside down in a creek in Texas. It was all over the forums and blogs for about fifteen minutes after it happened but we dug a little deeper. We’ve also gone behind the scenes to tell the story of the GT350 station wagon.. a false alarm barn find... Goodyear’s use of a Daytona Coupe as a traveling display... another crunched Ford GT... and more.
Two Dragonsnakes...no waiting. The drag racing portion of SAAC-35 attracted a number of noteworthy cars, but none more so than a pair of original Cobra Dragonsnakes. Drew Serb of Orinda, CA (in the north) brought CSX2357, the second factory team car. Lynn Park of La Canada, CA (in the south) had CSX2248. The two cars had faced off on the strip in 1965 and Park and Serb recreated that scenario on the Friday afternoon of the convention, much to the delight of the crowd of spectators who lined the wall. It was another one of those once-in-a-lifetime convention moments that you have to be there to experience.
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Stuff like this only happens in the movies. Guy buys Cobra. Goes through divorce but manages to keep Cobra. Then sells Cobra and regrets it forever. But forever ends when he starts looking for a new Cobra. He wants one just like his old car. And then through a strange confluence of unexplanable events, his original Cobra is offered to him. He buys it and lives happily ever after.
Back in the spring issue, longtime SAAC member Bill Whitley told the story of how he got his 289 Cobra and a pair of GT350s for him and his wife. A lot of fairly recent owners had a hard time believing that there was a time when the cars were just cars. They were driven almost every day and when it came time to repair them, the goal was to get them running again and use whatever was available — not chase original parts. We asked Bill to give us a little more “what it was like back then” stories.
What is it about SAAC-5 at Dearborn that consistently puts it at the top of the list when people talk about their favorite convention? Was it the 775-room Hyatt Regency? Guilio’s restaurant with its help-yourself-to-all-the-desserts-you-want (including serve-it-yourself soft ice cream)? The 2 1/2-mile Packard banked oval test track? The July 4th “celebration” of conventioneers shooting bottle rockets at Corvettes driving on the highway past the back of the hotel? Or all of the above? Here’s some insider baseball about this convention.
Have you ever sold your Shelby with that thought in your head? It helps you to let the car go, but then you’re stuck in the trap: The cars escalate in price as your search stretches on for just “the right car.” Rick Thompson found himself in this situation. Here’s his travelogue about his journey of how he finally ended up with 5S131. Don’t worry — this story has a happy ending.
Ron Richards was going through a 1978 issue of the SAAC magazine and saw an article written by Marv Neeley who won the sales contest in 1966-67, selling more used Hertz GT350s than anyone else. Ron was entertained by the thought of what dealing with these cars was like back then and as opposed to what it is like today. He suggested that a lot of today’s SAAC members may not have seen this article, so we’re dusting it off and bringing it to you again. Remember, it’s all true.
We asked one of the club’s Shelby/Cobra literature stalkers to provide a little insight into the world of collecting. Vern Estes not only did that but he sent us a bunch of photos of some of the treasures he has uncovered over the past few years. If you thought that the escalating values of cars drags the prices of all literature up with them, that’s not the case. The rare stuff is always pricey but there’s more to it than that.
When Greg Bradner bought 6S846 back in the 1980s he knew it didn’t have its original engine. Registrar Howard Pardee received info locating the block and he put Bradner together with its present owner in the 1990s. After a decade of back-and-forth, the engine changed hands. Bradner went to SAAC-36 and got the engine, and then sweet-talked it onto a transporter heading back east. Today the engine is back with the right car.
SAAC member Rich Barnes got an email from someone he didn’t know in Australia, informing him of four Shelbys, a Mach I and a Pantera in a warehouse in Belgium that were for sale. The owner had passed away. Does this sound like a Nigerian email scam to you? Barnes’ curiosity had him on a flight to Amsterdam, a car trip to Belgium and then a stop at the port in Rotterdam. It was like something out of a script for a James Bond movie. But this one would have to be called “Dr. Yes.”
SAAC member Robert Cassling had the hots for a 1968 Shelby convertible. Rather than charge blindly into the market with a fistful of Franklins, he wisely started studying up, so he would know what questions to ask. Then he found the right mentors — Peter Disher and Tim Lea — to ask them to. They came through and he ended up with the car of his dreams. This is a brief story of how KR #4012 ended up in his garage.
Cub reporter Howard Pardee went to the Shelby American Collection’s annual Christmas party to get the story. He slipped into town incognito and hobnobbed with the VIPs, snapped some pictures, and generally acquitted himself well. On his best behavior, he backed off on the booze, picked up his share of the tabs and kept his hands in his pockets. As soon as he got back he submitted his report. This is his story and he is sticking to it.
If the 427 Cobra is the ultimate high performance sports car, and the Ford 427 Single OverHead Cam engine is the ultimate engine, what happens when you combine them? Jeff Burgy collected a bunch of photos and we fashioned them into a short article which is sure to start your imagination freewheeling. The recipe might say: Combine, shake gently, and stand back for the nuclear explosion.
Everyone knows about the Monterey Historics weekend. When we found out that Louisiana SAAC member Ted Warren was entering his ‘68 GT350 in the Quail Motorsports gathering, and that Shelby would be the honored marque, we asked him to write down his experiences and impressions and take some pictures. Ted came through in spades. He had the time of his life and once you read his report you’ll know why. The Monterey weekend isn’t cheap and you’ll find out how not cheap.
We attempt to give a short version of Chuck Cantwell’s life at Shelby American, moving past his Trans-Am and Roger Penske days, through the various SAAC conventions he has attended, opportunities he’s had to drive R-Models and how he came out of retirement to drive a ‘67 Shelby Trans-Am notchback. All this culminated in the purchase and restoration of 6S796. It’s the shortened version — you’ll have to wait for the full length book.
Eagle Eyes Jim Hutchison and Ken Young take their continuing brawl out into the streets (so to speak) as they go mano ‘a mano matching eagle eye sightings. This could get bloody, folks. There’s more: Shelby jumps into the olive oil business...a new Mark Donohue book is reviewed... more good stuff from Peter Brock’s poster archives...two people with the same clever Christmas card, thirty-four years apart...the “Ferrari’s Ass Is Mine” comment expanded upon...stuff like this that you only see here.
The latest news in the world of Shelbys and Cobras, most of it fit to print. For starters, how about the California DMV and CHP almost required all 1965-66-67 Shelby owners to re-register cars under their Ford VINs? Then there’s the 1969 retro look of a brand new Mustang. Or the sad stories of Shelbys rusting away in Puerto Rico. Or a ‘68 Shelby that was underwater after Hurricane Katrina. And Peter Brock is called in to consult on a King Cobra restoration. Oh yeah — it’s all here. And more.
It took more than forty years for the planets to come into perfect alignment so Chuck Cantwell could become the owner of a 1966 GT350. For anyone else, buying their first Shelby is certainly an exciting milestone, but watching Chuck, Shelby American’s project engineer — the guy who was responsible for almost all of the production decisions — was an especially interesting endeavor. He is making up for lost time: The car has undergone a full mechanical once-over after sitting dormant in a garage for twenty years. And it is no show car. Cantwell has become a road warrior, driving the car every chance he gets. You’ll see it at SAAC-36.
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Art Evans was a close friend of Ken Miles, and during the late 1950s and 1960s he photographed most of the sports car races that were run in Southern California. He witnessed Miles' driving career from the earliest days through his time at Shelby American. This short rememberance details some of the things that affected Ken Miles when he served as Shelby American’s lead development driver and competition director.
For most of us, a barn find is an urban legend. But not all of them. If these stories share one thing in common, it’s that the original tip comes from someone with absolutely no knowledge of cars. Those are the ones you jump on. If you get some information about a possible Shelby or Cobra from someone who knows something about cars, if it was a good deal you wouldn’t be hearing about it from them. Ted Warren got a tip and moved on it. So far, so good...
Shelby’s 1968 notchback prototype was supposed to be crushed once its usefulness was over, like all other prototypes. Through some strange miracle it wasn’t, and it ended up on a Ford auction and sales lot in Dearborn where it was purchased by a Ford dealer for his son to drive back and forth to college. That’s the beginning of the story. GT/CS sage Paul Newitt adds all of the other details. The only thing missing is Kato.
The Antique Automobile Club of America is the largest automotive enthusiast organization in the world, boasting more than 50,000 members. As you might expect, that many members results in enough jing to build and maintain a serious museum. Their current exhibition, running through April of 2011, is a tribute to the Shelby cars and they’ve gathered twenty really nice examples. Come with us while we take the nickel tour.
Shelby American had a lot of secret weapons which resulted in their racing successes. Not all of them were cars or drivers. Al Dowd was hired at Shelby American as a mechanic but quickly demonstrated that his military experience (twenty years in the Coast Guard) was just what an international race team needed. Dowd stayed with Shelby, off an on, for almost thirty years, as his “trouble-shooter” and all-around problem solver. He knew how to get things done. He was an amazing guy.
We went to Monterey in 1981 and it was a terrific convention. The open track was something enthusiasts on the West Coast were used to. We were getting experience on how to run an open track event so that when we went back east we would be able to put on a convention that would be the envy of other clubs. We also wanted East-Coasters to get used to participating in the open track at national conventions. And they did. Conventions would never be the same again.
With the 2010 convention on the West Coast, a few SAAC members from Pennsylvania decided to put together a regional event on their side of the country. It turned out to be a terrific weekend with a group breakfast, a road tour, a visit to Bill Collins’ shop, a sit-down dinner and a car show on Sunday morning. It was a great way to spend an October weekend. It could become habit forming.
The latest salvos from Eagle Eyes Jim Hutchison and Ken Young. These guys are as consistent as sunrise and high tide. We review Paul Newitt’s long awaited GT/CS book. And we show you a French Cobra/Shelby magazine like you’ve never seen before. Learn about a little known George Lucas film starring Peter Brock. Was he the model for Luke Skywalker or Han Solo? We think we have the answer to the “TOPIFP” mystery, thanks to British codebreaker Paul House. And what’s Laura Bush doing with a GT350?
There’s a lot going on in this issue. Start with a discussion of current R-Model prices following this year’s Scottsdale auctions. Then we touch on where one Cobra’s color scheme came from (it’s a little more involved than you think). If your eyes seem a little out of whack it might be time to visit Dr. Hovander. Or maybe not. Ever seen those chrome pot-metal dealer badges? How about stripes on your everyday driver? Ever seen the original Cobra Caravan in color? And what’s the story on the sleeping baby in the Cobra oil pan?
LeMans 1966. There is just something about this race that stays with us over the years. Maybe it’s because until this event, Ford was still an underdog. Maybe it was the Ken Miles debacle, when Ford attempted to manipulate the finish by choreographing a 1-2-3 photo finish, pushing Miles out of Victory Circle. Or maybe it is because this was the year that the 427-powered MKIIs became the factory standard. Or because Holman-Moody was brought in because of their experience with 427 engines. Or it could be all of these. Pictured is the P/1016, driven to 3rd by Ronnie Bucknum/Dick Hutcherson. We’ve had this slide kicking around for 25+ years waiting to use it. Sorry to say, we don’t know who took it.
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In disassembling 6S188, Doug Cresanta discovered that the interior pieces were labeled with another ‘66 GT350’s serial number. A non-numbers-matching interior! Gasp! Was that the case for all GT350s that needed their interiors disassembled to have override traction bars installed? Or just these two cars? Cresanta examines the question.
Read the 2006 Motor Trend Classic Gumball Rally article here.
That would be “The Gumball Rally” and if you’ve never seen it you probably selected this magazine by mistake. It’s hard to believe it was released thirty-five years ago. In 2006, Motor Trend Classic magazine carried an article pitting the movie’s two automotive protagonists (the actual ones used in the film) against each other in the Los Angeles Aqueduct where they paired off on the screen. SAAC member John Kiewicz worked for MT and handled the logistics and some of the driving. Here’s the story behind the story.
Art Evans counted Phil Hill as one of his good friends. America’s first World Driving Champion passed away in August of 2008 at eighty-one. He lived a full and storied life. He loved anything mechanical and one of his hobbies was restoring vintage musical instruments — including player pianos. He was also a fine writer, providing Road & Track magazine with thoughtful articles on racing and race cars. His passing was a loss for all motorsports enthusiasts. Evans recaps his career.
Who took over the Carroll Shelby School of High Performance Driving when the Daytona Coupe suddenly began occupying all of Peter Brock’s time? John Timanus. He joined the Cobra Team as a Daytona Coupe team driver, did some vehicle testing and even posed for some public relations photos. He was another one of the talented multi-taskers who went to work at Shelby American. And later he became the SCCA’s technical director during the Trans-Am program. John Timanus was an amazing guy. Here’s his interview.
The newest Shelby Mustang was unveiled at the NY Auto Show in April. It is aimed at the first-time Shelby buyer who has the desire but not the jing. The expectation is that they jump into a car with respectable performance and handling for $30K and after a good taste they will naturally want more. And Shelby American will have it. Sounds to us like Bogart’s last line in “Casablanca”: “Louie, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Ever wonder what those 1,000-mile rallys are all about? Cana Comer provides a little insight. They’re not car shows, that’s for sure. What is it? A bunch of classic cars (seventy-five in the case of the Copperstate 1000) being driven briskly for 1,000 miles on back roads through some of the most scenic landscape Arizona has to offer. The drives are punctuated by interesting meal stops and first class overnight accommodations. And lots of camaraderie. That’s what makes some participants come back year after year.
The behind-the-scenes of our 7th annual national convention. Stuff not many people have ever heard before: How our big plans to have Playboy bunnies in the parking lot during the car show fell flat; how Roger Penske leaned on Pocono to cancel our open track date, and how we got it back; how Whiz Michelsen blew his engine on Pocono’s front straight and rebuilt it in the hotel parking lot the next day — and drove it back to Chicago; how a couple of Peterbuilts faced off against each other at Island Dragway. It’s all part of SAAC-7 history.
Back in the day, before 10-screen multiplexes, DVDs and 2,000 theater openings, one movie at a time played in one theater at a time, and a kit of movie posters and lobby cards accompanied the film from theater to theater. Eventually they ended up in specialty shops that specialized in movie memorabilia. And this was before eBay, when you had to find these places and spend a little time going through thick folders of glossies. Oh, the good old days.
A ‘how-I-did-it” article on restoring a 1967 Shelby wood steering wheel. Step-by-step instructions including what materials you’ll need. Bill Devlin explains how he did it — and how you can do it — for under $200. And you don’t have to have a dream car garage: You can do this in your basement or on your workbench.
Once you start tracing the history of a car you can never tell where it will go. The first owner of this ‘67 GT500 was a serious drag racer. Bill Bennett’s best time was 11:38 @ 126 mph. Then, as usually happens, he married, settled down and parked the car. Second owner happens along looking for a 427 engine. He is only 17 years old. He sees the car and it is love at first sight. Fast forward through three more owners to the present owner. And believe it or not the car still has the 427 block that owner #1 drag raced it with.
The back story of Michael and Darcy Smith’s SAAC-36 Premier-winning ‘69 GT350. The interesting story is that SAAC member Tom Dankel saw the car when its original owner had it in Canada. Forty-two years later he sees the same car at the convention. Between then the car went through a couple of owners and a complete concours restoration in Oklahoma. It’s an interesting story.
The ultimate Cobra and Shelby T-shirts; surfing the web for non-Cobra Cobra movies; and the next chapter of the Young-Hutchison eagle eye war. Ever hear about the 1957 Goliath? Probably not, but after seeing this ad you’ll remember it for a while. McKeel Hagerty of Hagerty Insurance is a proud ‘67 Shelby owner and he’s not afraid to admit it. And the hero of mystery novelist (and SAAC member) Tom Corcoran’s series drives a ‘66 Hertz car in most of his books. Interested in reading more? It’s all here.
The usual potpourri of interesting tidbits, unusual photos and amazing factlettes. We start with an explanation of why there are nonoriginal Cobras in the registry. Then Jeff Burgy uncovers a bogus Shelby in Florida and unmasks it. Another two-car transporter photo; another GT350 Hertz brake light car surfaces; Gumball Rally’s star Michael Sarrazin passes away; and what about that SAAC cruise? We’ve got the details and not all of them are pretty.
Alan Hanna, current owner of 6S126, contacted the car’s original owner, John Borzym, to see if he had anything relating to the car. It seems that in early 1966 Borzym and a pal, Roger Busch, took a 10,000-mile/3-month road trip, from Dearborn to Los Angeles to Texas to Florida and back to Dearborn. They stopped at Yosemite National Park and Borzym snapped this picture of Busch and 6S126 with Yosemite Falls in the background. You don’t visit Yosemite without seeing the Falls. This issue was just about finished but we had yet to find an acceptable cover photo. Hanna shared the photo with Howard Pardee, who sent it on to us. As soon as we saw it, we thought, “Bingo! The next cover.” John Borzym photo used with permission.
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We think we may have spotted an entirely new concept in Shelbys, and if so, in the future you’ll be able to brag, “Yeah, I was there when all that started. I saw the first one.” The first one what? Well, that’s the trouble: This concept is so new we don’t have a name for it yet. It’s SAAC member Tim Suddard’s baby, so maybe we should let him name it. Although there’s aways the chance that the very first name isn’t the best, but you’re stuck with it. “Beater body/shiny bottom” is a little wieldy. What are we talking about? Read it and see.
We start up the way-back machine and set the date for July 1-2-3, 1983 and Dearborn, Michigan. The early Dearborn conventions are the ones long-time members often describe as the best. Part of that probably stems from the giant, 750-room Hiatt Regency hotel which was convention headquarters. It was also a time when we were all still climbing the Shelby learning curve. Seeing a parking lot filled with 1,000 or more cars was too much to handle when you were lucky to see a handful of Shelbys or Cobras in a year. Go back with us.
Once your vintage race car is finished, prepped and ready to go there’s one problem left. How to get it to the track? Single-car open trailers are the bare minimum, followed by enclosed trailers. If you really want to make a statement when you arrive at the races the way to go is a ramp-back truck. Better yet if it matches the period in which your car originally raced. And best of all, if you can find the truck that originally hauled your car. Or, there is the 6-car transporter. We take a look at all of these.
In August 1968, Bill Mian bought a 1967 GT350 leftover from a local Shelby dealer. It was the car he had been looking for ever since he saw his first one. He kept the car all these years, putting about 88,000 miles on it, before deciding to restore it using all of its original pieces. He shares the details of what he did and how he did it. There are only two Nightmist Blue 1967 GT350s that are still in the possession of their original owners. This is one of them.
Bob Barranger has an intense interest in early “lights-in-the-scoops” 1967 Shelbys. That just might be because he owns one, himself. It wasn’t at SAAC-36 but he spotted four others and got them together for a photo shoot on Sunday morning. The five owners were excited to compare notes about early cars and inspect the unique features on each of them. He put together an article on some of these special features, prevalent mostly on the first couple of hundred cars.
Probably the most photographed GT40 at the convention was a red one. It was easy to spot because it was half-scale. But what very few people knew was that it raced at more LeMans races than any other GT40. Do we have your interest yet? You’ll have to read the story. Mike Teske found the car at LeMans where it was in storage. He bought it with the intention of restoring it for his son, Theo, to drive. And drive it he did. It seemed that he was all over VIR’s paddock.
What do Dan Gurney, Ken Miles, Mario Andretti, Bruce McLaren, AJ Foyt, Lloyd Ruby, Ronnie Bucknum, Mark Donohue, Peter Revson, Lucien Bianchi, Dennis Hulme and Rick Kopec all have in common? They have all driven GT40 MK IV J-Cars. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to slip behind the wheel of one of these legendary cars and take it out for a spin, reading this article will answer all of your questions. Except one: Can you make it go any faster?
The pop vote show is always a great way to spend an hour or two on Sunday morning. Seeing so many cars in one spot at one time sure beats trudging through the paddock or parking areas for three days, trying to see every car. After all, isn’t that one of the reasons you came to the convention? If you have an eye for detail, this is the place to exercise it. Special thanks to Diane Duffee and Dominic Ciliberto for a superb job in herding the baby chicks. That’s what running a car show is like.
The big news was that a concours car had finally attained a perfect score: 900 points. There is an asterisk, of course. It was in the competition class where the standards of originality are a little different, because race cars are restored to a specific point in time and, as such, some items that are not factory original can still be correct if that’s the way a car was raced. And who is to say? The owner, usually, with photo documentation. Congratulations to Joseph Dockery and 5R100. A high bar has been set.
Things got interesting this year when a pair of Superformance GT40 MK IIs showed up to race. They were no match for the usual gaggle of GT350s and Cobras the race attracted. The long straights at VIR favored the sleek missiles and they led from flag to flag, finishing one-two. No surprise, really. But the rest of the field provided the spectacle we’ve come to expect, and to enjoy.
VIR came alive for the Memorial Day weekend when SAAC combined forces with the SVT Owners Association and the SVT Cobra Mustang Club. We used the 4.2-mile “Grand Course” and it was as high a horsepower weekend as any we’ve had. Here’s the full report, including a bunch of it’s-like-I-was-there photos. If you were there, you probably missed some of this stuff. And if you weren’t, after reading this you’ll feel like you were. Have there really been thirty-six of these things or does it just seem like it?
The Eagle Eye War has expanded. Ted Warren shoots out of the gate like a 427 Cobra with a stuck throttle. He is giving Jim Hutchison and Ken Young a run for their money but that’s easy to do on the first lap. We’ll see if he can pace himself and keep up. We also have insider info on the Buccaneer poster. The what? You’ll see. And what’s the connection between the GT350 Hertz poster in the Car Collector’s World newsletter and a restored VW Micro Bus that recently sold for $217,000? It’s a tenuous one, we admit.
The usual grab bag of interesting odds and ends that have crossed our desk (or popped up in our “in” box) over the past couple of months. Like what, you ask? Sir Stirling Moss’ retirement, for one. And a new GT350 logo. This year’s LeMans historic event through Peter Brock’s camera lens. A 427 Galaxie sleeper. The absolute neatest car show display you’ll ever see. And after you read about the reference to Cobras in the Mayan calendar, you’ll be counting down the days until the world ends in 2012. Or not.
If we had known there would be three completed continuation GT40 MK IVs (plus the Breadvan) at this year’s convention we would have had them on the SAAC-36 T-shirt. But the design had to be finalized back in January, when having all four cars at VIR was still a crapshoot. So we played it safe and went with the obvious: A commemoration of the 45th anniversary of the 1966 GT350. Pictured [left to right] are the cars of Fran Kress (J-13), Joe Henderson (J-16) and Mike Teske (J-18). A special photo session was set up on Sunday morning during the track’s quiet hour and the cars were pushed into place. The photo was taken by Bridgette Sinnott.
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The Northern California region is SAAC’s largest. They have a full schedule of events throughout the year. The highlight is the Mini-Nats, which takes place at a major league road circuit (like Mazda Raceway in Monterey, Infineon in Sonoma, or Thunderhill). They publish a dynamite monthly magazine (printed and mailed or sent online). Nor Cal is the kind of region that other SAAC regions dream about becoming. The club has been around for more than thirty years. All it takes is time, dedication and hard work.
We’re coming up on the fourth anniversary of the SAAC Forum. It has become an integeral part of the club. It’s one of the ways that information is exchanged, sometimes at the speed of light. These days you can find a forum dedicated to virtually every club, every type of car, and every special interest. The biggest problem most people have is trying to choose one or two or more to keep an eye on. If you haven’t yet warmed up to SAAC’s forum, give it a look. You can peek over the fence without casting a shadow.
Dr. Fred Simeone’s passion is unrestored race cars. His collection contains dozens, and the thing they share in common is that they have not been restored since they were raced. Or close to it. He created The Simeone Foundation Museum in Philadelphia to display his cars. They hold a “demonstration day” each month. In mid-September, the spotlight was on the collection’s Cobra Daytona Coupe, Ford GT40 MK IV and a Ford GT40 MK II. Mark Petri was there and he filed this report.
When John Collins was hired at Shelby American in 1963 as a mechanic, he was thirty-three years old. That was “old” to everyone else who worked in the shop. It wasn’t long before the young bucks were calling him “Granny.” He took it in good humor. John stayed on with Shelby until everything closed down in 1970. By then, he had acquired a great deal of expertise as a race mechanic and was able to move from job to job, working on Can-Am cars. He eventually opened up his own shop, restoring what else? Can-Am cars.
Return with us to 1984 and another West Coast convention (the fourth one in nine years). This time it was in Anaheim, California. An open track event at Willow Springs Raceway, the Anaheim Marriott’s large parking lot sparkling with Cobras and Shelbys including two Daytona Coupes, and so many Cobras it was hard to keep count (this, before the days when they were outnumbered by replicas). And a swap meet filled with row after row of hard parts, collectibles and trinkets of every description. The good old days.
But it wasn’t a “Lost Weekend.” Boss 302 owners gathered for a reunion where their cars were born - Dearborn, Michigan. Almost setting a record for the largest number of Bosses at one event, the 141 cars present was good for a #2 spot in Boss history. Included in the weekend were drives on Ford’s high-banked oval test track, a tour of the current Mustang production line, a visit to Jack Roush’s toy chest, a car show and concours and a dynamite dinner and evening program. Reported by Boss registry honcho Randy Ream.
If Playboy was “the man’s magazine” and Cobras and Shelbys were mens’ cars, it was no coincidence the two would overlap. That happened with advertising, Shelby using Playboy to help sell cars and Playboy using Shelby’s cars to help define the Playboy lifestyle. We recap the appearances of Shelby cars in the pages of this magazine in case you missed them the first time around, when you were concentrating on...er, the articles. Yes, that’s right: You bought it for the articles.
John Richmond’s NASCAR 427-powered 1968 GT500KR has a signature sound like nothing else this side of an angry T-Rex. It’s a four-owner car that was originally drag-raced and went through several 428 replacement engines before the original owner settled on an honest-to-Gawd tunnelport 427. Today the car has less than 20,000 miles with perfect original paint and a flawless interior. This is one sweet ride. And how did it get the name “Rowdy Blue”? That’s all part of the story.
SAAC member Brian Vitz wanted a sleeper. Something that looked like an anemic econo-box from the outside, but would flatten your eyeballs on acceleration, stick to the track like a go-kart with Crazy Glue on its tires and stop like a falling elevator at the bottom of its shaft. Based on a Ford Focus. Something like that doesn’t come down any assembly line. It has to be hand-built. But you can see the result in the eyes of the driver ahead of you as he stares into his rearview mirror in utter disbelief.
It has become an institution every August. One day has been stretched to almost two weeks of festivities, culminating in the famous Woodward Dream Cruise, where twenty miles of Woodward Avenue, northwest of downtown Detroit, becomes a parade of automotive sights and sounds like nowhere else on earth. Just about every automotive magazine prints some type of pictorial tribute, but we went behind the hype. Is it everything they would have you believe? Read about it for yourself.
Everybody’s initial reaction to seeing an orange ‘68 GT500KR was, “repaint.” But after Peter Disher bought the car and started researching it, he discovered that it was ordered with “special paint” and turned out to be one of three orange cars that year. After years of research and detective work on special paint, he became the acknowledged expert in that department. And the car? He restored it and it went on to win Gold awards at the three top events in the country: truly a Triple Crown winner.
We review SAAC member Colin Comer’s new book on Cobras (hint: A big thumbs-up).The Eagle Eye brawl continues, but now it’s a 3-way. Ted Warren has stepped into the ring with heavyweights Jim Hutchison and Ken Young. You can only shake your head. What else is coming your way in this issue? Pardee prowling the aisles at Wal-Mart. Indoor donuts in a 427 Cobra. G.I. Joe’s cobra logo. Dan Gurney’s LP stereo record album. And God help us, Pardeeabilia. We may have hit an all-time low here. You be the judge.
A discussion of automotive semantics that will give you something to think about. One of the worst Cobra-type kit cars we’ve ever seen. The inside story of the 1965 GT350 driveshaft safety loop that you won’t read anywhere else. Carroll Shelby muscles in on the car care business. A blast from the past: In 1976 Ford asked COCOA/Orange County to help them produce a Cobra II dealer drive-away event at the Big O. Walt Have pioneers direct port oxygen injection. More Shelby dealer badges. Daytona Coupe news.
After purchasing an orange 1968 GT500KR fastback, Peter Disher thought it had been repainted because no one had ever heard of orange Shelbys. But the “special paint” notation on the car’s work order made him curious. He began researching and subsequently became an expert on Shelby special paint cars. His was one of only three. After a full restoration, the car went through SAAC’s concours gauntlet in 2008, where it tumbled out the other end with a Gold award. A year later the car grabbed a top award in Tulsa. And then in 2010, at the MCA national, it snatched another Gold award. A Triple Crown winner! Cover photography by Peter Disher.
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Peter Brock’s Cobra Daytona Coupe design originally included something called a “ring foil” rear spoiler and roof extractor vents, but they were never incorporated into the car, mostly due to the pressures of a race deadline but also because they were so outside the envelope of current thinking that no one else at Shelby American thought they were worth the effort. Like a dog who will not let go of a bone, it took Brock forty-eight years to prove the roof extractor vent concept would work. Was he expecting to get paid by the hour?
‘Tis the season. Here’s this year’s crop of car-related Christmas cards that arrived at SAAC headquarters, some to our post office box and some through email. We love seeing people’s creativity and what they consider their favorite photos. You’ll want to check out the All American Racers’ new DeltaWing racer. Think of this as a peek behind a curtain that will open fully at LeMans this coming June. Racing won’t be the same after that.
They don’t call Lynn Park “Mr. Cobra” for nothing. He was one of the very first Cobra enthusiasts, beginning back in 1962. And he has maintained that enthusiasm ever since. We asked him about those early years - you know, when cars weren’t selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars, any part you needed was available directly from the factory, and if you stopped by the Venice facility you could just walk in and have a look around. Unimaginable today, but it was no big deal back then.
SAAC celebrates a decade of channeling enthusiasm for Cobras and Shelbys during a time when we pretty much had it all to ourselves. Our tenth national convention was the sixth one held in the East and our second at Great Gorge, New Jersey. We spent a day tearing up the asphalt at Pocono International Raceway before returning to the Americana Resort. We didn’t spend a lot of time patting everyone on the back after ten years but we did put on a multimedia show to commemorate the club’s milestone. It hardly seems that long ago.
Zach Reynolds, an heir to the R.J. Reynolds tobacco fortune, grew up like a perpetual lottery winner. He was a daredevil, a motorcycle racer, and a stunt pilot. But his real passion was street racing. He was a legend around the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area in the 1960s and 1970s. He burnished that legend with a 1,000-horsepower rocket-powered 427 Galaxie. It proved to be a bit much for the street so he looked around for a suitable replacement. That was a brand new 427 Cobra S/C. Still interested?
Cana Comer has racked up her share of seat time in husband Colin’s various Cobras on those thousand-mile rallies. She keeps coming back for more, leading us to suspect that she has acquired some secrets to making the trips enjoyable. Cobra Guys probably won’t gain too much from this article, unless they’d like their passenger seat filled. Long solo drives tend to be a little dull. Sharing the trip is much better. Think of this as a “how-to” article. And no — that’s not Cana in the picture at the left.
There are model builders, and then there are MODEL BUILDERS. If you think you might be in the second group, before making that determination you may want to meet SAAC member Paul House. His interest in Ken Miles and his hobby of building models intersected and the result was a desire to build every car that Ken Miles raced during his career. He’s not there yet, but he has an astounding start. Some cars had to be scratch-built because no kits existed. The depth of his enthusiasm is amazing. See for yourself.
Marty Schorr was the publisher of Hi-Performance CARS magazine, one of the staples of gearheads in the 1960s. The magazine was the geographical opposite of all the west coast buff books and provided a nice counterbalance. In 1967, Schorr drove a GT40 MK III, provided by Bill Kolb of Gotham Ford, on the streets of Manhattan. His pictures accompanied the report. As a recent owner of a new Ford GT, and a SAAC member, his interest in these cars was reignited. He shares some of his experiences with us.
There was a 001 of every year Shelby car made. Because the cars were not produced in strict numerical order, a car carrying the serial number 001 was not necessarily the first one off the production line, out the door and into the dealer’s showroom. Nevertheless, by whatever coincidences that took place, the “first” car of any year or model is special. Vern Estes begins what will be a series examining each double-0-1 car. We begin with the last double-0-1 of the series: A red 1969 GT350 convertible now living in Australia.
When we included an article about Shelbys and Cobras in Playboy in the last issue, we stopped around 1972. We knew there were two more cars awarded to Playmates of the Year in the late 1990s, but we decided to cut it off where we did and save those for a separate article. We wanted to delve into the Shelby American/Playboy connection a little deeper, and that took a little more time. There were a few additional threads that had to be woven into the story. We think we got them all.
Throughout Shelby American’s history, all roads eventually led to the 427 engine. In this respect, Ken Miles was a visionary who saw the Cobra’s second generation clearly, even while he was demonstrating his mastery of the first. Every time somebody at Shelby American thought outside of the box, a 427 FE big block was there, casting a large shadow: Cobra Coupe, Ford GT, GT350-R, ‘67 GT500. Those three numbers— 4, 2 and 7—were, somehow, magical. We try to tie it all together.
Jeff Burgy joined the 2011 “Cobra 1000” driving tour as one of the wranglers in the chase vehicle. They started in Sun Valley, Idaho and a thousand miles later the sixteen snakes had completed a tour of Idaho and Montana, through some of the most scenic landscape the west has to offer. Dinners in rustic lodges, winding roads with a wink at the speed limit and memorable lunch stops. It’s only a matter of time that a couple of dozen Shelby owners catch on to this idea and plan something like this on their own. If they do, you’ll see it here.
This is the first of our Cobra commemoration articles in this issue. Frank Zizzo shares the history of his early Cobra, back from day one — which was October 1, 1962. The car has run the gamut from street car to race car, to street car, to open track car, back to race car, and finally retired race car. It couldn’t have found a better owner than Zizzo. He even scored a set of sidedraft Webers (which the car had early in its life) and a Vertex magneto—which you hardly ever see. Good thing he is a tinkerer.
We start with a review of ex-Cobra team engine man Gordon Chance’s new book about Jim Travers, one of the legends behind TRACO Engineering. Chance worked there as well as at Shelby American. The Eagle-Eye battle between Ken Young, Jim Hutchison and Ted Warren continues unabated. We thought the concept of Pardeeabilia in the last issue was just a fluke. Not so, it seems. We hope reporting on it does not serve to encourage it. And, NO! Say it ain’t so! The sound effects in “Hey Little Cobra” were faked?
The Cobra’s 50th Anniversary celebration begins. We’re betting it will be one you won’t easily forget. This is also the 30th anniversary of the twelve ‘66 GT350 continuation convertibles, if anyone is popping a champagne bottle. There’s a new Buccaneer Shelby poster available. And what’s the deal with Forrest Straight and Pamela Anderson? Are they an “item” or not? Then there’s the Cobra in the Lark cigarette commercial. Who is Pat Mernone? Jesse James does some agricultural racing in his 1000-hp Ford GT. And more.
Surprised that there are Cobras on the cover of this issue? Well, it IS the 50th Anniversary of the Cobra, so it’s appropriate. Just about everything that could be said about these cars probably has been over the last five decades, but that won’t stop anyone from continuing. They really are iconic. The cover we chose to commemorate the Cobra’s Golden Anniversary was taken in 2011, during the Cobra tour through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. Twenty-four original Cobras participated in four days of asphalt gobbling, sightseeing and general frivolity. The photo was taken by Jim Sfetko.
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A look at Mustang thefts through the eyes of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Then they zoom in on one particular theft of a ‘65 GT350. It was stolen twenty-five years ago and the serial number was changed, making it impossible for law enforcement agencies to find it. But not SAAC’s indefatigable registrar, Howard Pardee. He found the car and then after an eighteen month search, found the owner. The result? The GT350 is back in his garage. It’s a story with a happy ending.
That’s a good question and one we had never before seen answered. And for good reason. The only ones who had the raw information were the individual registrars. Trying to explain to each of them how to manipulate their databases to produce outcomes in the exact same format which would then fit into a readable matrix? That would have made herding baby kittens look easy by comparison. Once we began, it consumed far more time than we ever imagined. But we did it. And the answer is...
Amelia is the East Coast version of Pebble Beach. It’s tribute to the Cobra included a dozen special cars, some of which you hardly ever get to see in the flesh. Ford’s styling exercises built on Cobra chassis were clearly the stars, although a Cobra Daytona Coupe and Dragonsnake were close behind. There were also a flock of Ferraris, carrying out a strong Ford vs. Ferrari theme. A seminar of Ford and Ferrari notables packed the ballroom on Saturday with the program hosted by Sam Posey. It was a swell way to spend a weekend.
The year’s worth of Cobra 50th Anniversary celebrations continued in February with the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance. It had all the elements of an unforgettable weekend: Concours on the golf course fairway; an auction including part of the Millhous Brothers Collection of classic cars; mechanical musical instruments and a full-sized carousel; a James Bond-themed black tie dinner commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film; a casino night; Lifetime Achievement Award for Carroll Shelby.
This is the second in the series of stories about the lowest serial numbered Shelbys by intrepid reporter Vern Estes. This time he catches up with SAAC member Bob Gaines to tell the story of how 1967 GT350 #67200F 50001 managed to find its way into Gaines’ hands. Since landing in Kansas City, Kansas the Highland Green car has, over a period of years, been transformed into a concours winner. You would expect nothing less from a concours head judge.
There was a legal case concerning the legitimate ownership of CSX2049 when the last edition of the registry was printed. At that point it had not been adjudicated. Since the book’s publication, however, the California court reached a verdict which rendered the registry’s footnote inaccurate. Some of the information SAAC had was provided by a third party, apparently seeking to taint the history in order to increase the worth of the car. When purposely erroneous information finds its way into the registry it needs to be corrected promptly.
Most Shelby or Cobra enthusiasts can distinctly recall how their association with these cars began. Some had a epiphany when they saw their first one. For others, it was when someone gave them a ride. Doug Cresanta’s life-changing experience was in 1966 when he rented a GT350 Hertz car on a vacation in Los Angeles. Could it get better than that? About a month later a small cardboard box arrived with a label showing it had been sent by Hertz. Inside was a Hertz Sports Car Club cocktail glass. Talk about closing the deal...
We interview the Cobra maestro, but if you think this guy lives, eats and sleeps Cobras, are you ever wrong! Nothing about him is one-dimensional and no project scares him off. Most people learn to fly and don’t go much farther than that. McCluskey learned to fly and then learned aerobatics, built his own plane and then imported a bunch of Russian jet trainers that needed to be rebuilt. Ever try to fix a toy music box? McCluskey pushes it way past that: He’s restoring a 900-pipe antique theater organ. Oh yeah, there’s more.
The automotive enthusiast year started off with a bang in Scottsdale. We took a look around and found it was a good beginning for the Cobra’s 50th Anniversary. Of course, we saw the Cobra’s shadow almost everywhere we looked. Things got off to an excellent start with the Hagerty-sponsored Shelby seminar, with SAAC member and author Colin Comer as MC, rounding up Phil Remington, Peter Brock, Chuck Cantwell, Bob Bondurant, John Luft and a lesser-known hanger-on for a terrific two hour Q&A session.
Our eagle-eye slapfest continues. These guys have more energy than a gerbil pumped on amphetamines on a treadmill. Peter Brock finds another Daytona Coupe at Scottsdale that nobody knew about. One more Ford GT bites the dust, this time in South Korea. If a $550 diecast 1/12-scale 427 Cobra doesn’t make you flinch, how about a $3,500 scratch-built 1/43 427 Cobra? There’s a 5-story, 256-foot long King Cobra in New Jersey. A Shelby Tautara? Well, not for long. A name-change was ordered by the court.
Whoa! What’s this about a topless Shelby car wash? We have pictures. And did Shelby take the Cobra name from Crosley? We think we’ve settled the copper-brazed controversy once and forever. You’ve heard of the Flat Earth Society? We may have uncovered the Flat Forehead Society within SAAC, residing in the Tacoma area. We may have found the bitter end of the “Gone In 60 Seconds/Eleanor” story. TOPIFT is officially still a mystery. Obama behind the wheel of a 2012 GT500? You saw it here, folks.
Our 50th Anniversary celebration of the Cobra continues. How about a serving of Mike McCluskey’s famous Instant Daytona Coupe mix: All you add is elbow grease. Would that it were so simple. The Coupe pictured here was built for a doctor. It was assembled and then disassembled. The parts were trucked to a photo studio in Burbank where this photo was taken. Everything was then trucked back to McCluskey’s shop in Torrance where the car was reassembled and the doctor drove it home. We can’t make this stuff up. And we could think of a few worse things to do with a new Cobra Daytona Coupe.
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When this popular, mid-1980s television series was reprised, it used a new Shelby GT500 to replace the computerized Firebird. We received an email from a member asking why we had never mentioned the new Shelby in the magazine. To make up for this obvious oversight we contacted the one person in the universe who has the most knowledge of the computerized K.I.T.T. cars. Kevin Gagnon built a Firebird that duplicated the one David Hasselhoff drove in the original series. Who better than Gagnon to fill us in?
The Bolus & Snopes racing team was one of the most colorful in the history of SCCA amateur racing. One of the principals, William Jeanes, was a writer for Car and Driver magazine and he told of the team’s exploits and misadventures with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The result was national publicity way out of proportion to the team’s accomplishments. Which makes the story ever more entertaining. SAAC member Lee Mathias, a long-time B&S follower, fills us in.
Could it really get any worst than this? In 1972 Les Zoller bought the car he had been dreaming about: A GT500KR. For the next six years it was the apple of his eye. His wife loved it and was as excited to drive it as he was. Then, one black day, it was stolen by a joy-riding punk. The local police were on the case and a couple of days later they located the car. And the chase was on. Another club member had been monitoring his police scanner and drove towards the scene. It was not a happy ending.
Famous automotive photographer and SAAC member Bob McClurg escaped from his compound on Hilo, Hawaii to visit the mainland and catch the colossal, all Ford, one day car show at Knott’s Berry Farm. About 1,800 Fords were on display and McClurg was everywhere, taking pictures of everything. We chose a bunch of them to give you an idea of what this event is like. In typical Southern California style, cars got there at sunup and by the early afternoon they were gone. Bill Fulk also turned up there.
Yet another Cobra commemoration was held at the Wally Parks NHRA Museum in Pomona, California in April. The activities included an open track event at the Pomona Fairgrounds. Why was this so special? Because the last time this place was used to race was when team Cobras kicked butt in the 1960s. There was a Cobra display in the museum, and a Shelby American alumni reunion and car show on Saturday. Our intrepid reporter Bill Fulk was there. Bob McClurg also shot some photos.
We ran an ad in the Winter ‘12 issue inviting anyone who was planning to attend every Cobra 50th anniversary celebration to contact us and, if they wrote reports and took pictures, we’d use them. We really didn’t expect anyone to take us up on that, traveling across the country to a dozen events. We were surprised when SAAC member and recent retiree Bill Fulk took us up on it. He attended Shelby American’s wingding in Las Vegas last March. He filed this report.
SAAC’s national rep coordinator, Dan Reiter, organized a tour of the original Watkins Glen circuit which used public roads back in the 1950s, before the permanent, single-purpose track was built. About fifteen cars at a time negotiated the “circuit” on Thursday and Friday afternoon, following detailed maps. Everyone taking part reported having a great time. Someone took pictures that provide a taste of what went on and we threw in a brief history lesson to provide some context.
Bob Barringer had an idea. Since this year was the 45th anniversary of the 1967 Shelby, why not, he asked, don’t we incorporate something recognizing these cars in the convention schedule? Normally, after tossing an idea our way, most SAAC members shrink back into the crowd and then complain that nothing happened. Not Bob B. He stepped up and organized the whole shooting match: Special t-shirts, group photo and an owners’ seminar. 1967 Shelby owners never had it so good. And they loved it.
The vintage race has become one of the most exciting and most popular parts of every convention. It attracts some of the fastest drivers and best prepared cars from across the country. Seeing them race wheel-to-wheel will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Unlike many other clubs, this is no exhibition. The cars sing, they dance, and they almost fly. Seeing them on the track is as close to being there, back in the 1960s, as you’ll ever get. The only ones missing are Titus, Miles, Bondurant, Hill and Gurney.
We organized this year’s schedule around the car shows on Saturday. In past years there was a lot going on when the shows were taking place. As a result, there just weren’t very many cars on display. We were determined to make things different this year so the open track sessions were on Thursday and Friday and the vintage race was on Friday afternoon. With nothing to interfere with the car shows, they were the center of attention — the way they should be. Because, after all, it’s about the cars!
Forty entries had the judges working overtime. Literally. A third of the cars had to be judged Friday afternoon because there just wasn’t enough time to give the hairy eyeball to all of them on Saturday. And then there were all-new judging sheets, different for each year. No more one-size-fits-all. Entrants liked that but they didn’t particularly like having the change sprung on them at the event. Some had to be reminded that it wasn’t a perfect world and the same rules applied to everyone.
As soon as we got back from the convention we began working on a complete convention report. There was a lot of stuff going on at Watkins Glen and we tried not to miss a thing. Our request that conventioneers send us the photos they took on CDs was answered in spades. We were able to choose from a couple of thousand pictures to tell the convention story. We liked the feel of this year’s get together. It was laid back and enjoyable for everyone. Lots of time for socializing and there were some really neat cars.
We review a book you’ll probably never get to read. But there’s a second one you might want to grab. It was written by ex-Shelby American engine man Gordon Chance, about legendary engine man from the 1960s and 1970s, Al Bartz. The Eagle-Eye battle continues. These guys are showing no signs of running down. It’s like three Terminators going after each other. And is it the end of Pardeeabilia? It looks that way to us. It appears it was just a flash in the pan. Is Peter Brock going into the Daytona Coupe business?
It’s time to put the crying towels away and talk about Carroll Shelby’s final days seriously and honestly. We couldn’t make this up. That 2-car transporter is back again. A 257 mph Ford GT? Yes and it’s a Guinness World Record. A tutorial on “unknown owners” in the registry from esteemed 65-66 Registrar Howard Pardee. We uncover another Shelby story in the “Chicago Daily Herald.” The 1042 Princeton Drive property changes hands (you snooze, you lose). Photoshopping drag race starts to show air? Despicable!
If it’s the summer issue, it must be the convention report. Arguably the most exciting part of the convention is the vintage race. These guys are all SAAC members, so watching the wheel-to-wheel action is sort of like observing a good-natured family feud rather than a bunch of strangers trying to take each other apart in an elevator. We received a lot of CDs, each with a hundred or more images on them, but as soon as we saw this one, taken by Alan Isselhard of Walcott, New York we immediately knew it was “the one.” He caught the grid at the end of the warm-up lap. After the cars round this corner they move toward the starter’s stand to take the green flag.
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2012 was a year when we lost many friends in the Cobra-Shelby universe and in our own SAAC family. This article is dedicated to those friends we have lost this year.
Our man at Goodwood files his report. The Cobra 50th Anniversary was part of the weekend, with a special all-Cobra race which thrilled the crowd. The grid had twenty-nine Cobras including the AC LeMans Coupe, AC Cars’ variation of the Daytona Coupe. Goodwood does Monterey one better because not only is the weekend full of vintage race practice sessions and races but restored WWII warbirds are part of the show. And spectators dress in period costumes from the 1930s to the 1960s.
This is where a search for the "ultimate" Cobra takes you. To return to reality you’re on your own and you’re so far out that there are no signs to direct you back. Take a new Kirkham coil spring Cobra and add a 527 cubic-inch Single Overhead Cam dry sump motor and you have an asphalt-devouring Frankenstein’s monster that will give Smart Car drivers nightmares for the rest of their lives. If “Warp Drive” was ever used in the automotive sense, this would be the car it would be used to describe.
Actually, it’s not so short. When we started, it sounded like a simple concept: get a photo of every convention t-shirt and include a short comment about each one. John Guyer had a complete collection and he took pictures. It was simple, until Howard Pardee stuck his nose under the tent. He suggested that we add the Las Vegas t-shirts and the annual member t-shirts. Getting photos of each one turned out to be anything but easy. Luckily we had the SAAC Forum to fall back on. We think we have them all.
When a young Cobra enthusiast finds a Cobra has taken up residence in the garage, it is a dream come true. It also proves that it can be part of someone else’s dream because it’s his father’s car. He has also been dreaming. It means the son will, henceforth, have to be on his very best behavior if he ever wants a chance to get behind the wheel occasionally. It’s funny how life sometimes works: Your ultimate dream can have a burdensome flip-side. In Chinese philosophy it is the concept of yin and yang. Learn the lesson well, Grasshopper.
Our indefatiguable Cobra Anniversary reporter set his GPS for Monterey and spent six days and nights trying to find every original Cobra he could. He was poking around, talking with people and taking tons of pictures which he submitted with his report. Not included were the details of the O.J. Simpson-like low speed chase through the side streets of Carmel which resulted in his Cobra replica being overtaken and pulled over by a pair of Carmel police officers on mountain bikes. Oh, the humanity!
It sounded like a wonderful road trip. Taking a week to drive, with a bunch of other Cobras, through 1,000 miles of picturesque landscape in Southern Utah. Zion National Park is breathtaking and part of the ride is through a tunnel over a mile long. Imagine getting halfway through it and having your Cobra catch fire? You bail out, back way off, and you can’t do anything other than watch the flames. And cross your fingers that the gas tank doesn’t explode. Did it? You’ll have to read the article to find out.
Shelby American became a racing powerhouse in the 1960s for a lot of reasons, but one of the most compelling was the collection of fabricators, mechanics, engineers, welders and painters who came into work every day and often stayed until late at night. They had a “can-do” attitude, and they got things done. Steele Therkelson passed away on October 1 and he was one of the talented guys outside of the spotlight. We had planned on interviewing him but we put it off a little too long. His story is worth telling.
The annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is the cherry on top of everyone’s car show sundae. Like everyone else, they commemorated the Cobra’s 50th Anniversary. They inviting a dozen of the best of the best to participate in a special class. By Sunday morning, most Cobraphiles might have begun to feel a little jaded, having seen so many snakes everywhere they looked on the peninsula. But seeing these stunning jewels was enough to rejuvenate even the most comatose Cobra connoisseur.
As if the weekend wasn’t jam-packed enough, there was still room for the Historic Trans-Am group to heat up the asphalt. There were fourteen Ford powered cars in the race, and four of them were Shelby cars. So Shelby enthusiasts didn’t stray too far from the fences. The Trans-Am group put thirty-six cars on the grid. It’s interesting to see a race composed of a single marque but to watch all the cars that raced against each other back in the day was history coming to life. If you weren’t there in the 1960s, this was the next best thing.
Yes, there was a Shelby race in Monterey. This year it was overshadowed by the all-Cobra race. However, it was still a very exciting race. We’ve chronicled it, lap by lap. Thirty-eight cars were on the entry list. Thirty-four cars saw the green flag but only thirty saw the checker. There were some cars not seen very often at Monterey, probably because their owners also had Cobras, and being in the Cobra race took precedence. Why not run in both races? Maybe the $750 entry fee might have had something to do with it.
This was the centerpiece of the entire weekend. Everything else was just icing on the cake. Never before had there been an all-Cobra race with forty-one cars on the entry list. And to be honest, we can’t think of anything that would attract more Cobras than this in a single vintage race. Each one of these cars had some kind of race history. Some had been raced in the 1960s and 1970s, while others had been vintage raced at some point in the past thirty-seven years. And this wasn’t an exhibition or parade of race cars. There was red mist.
Cobra enthusiasts were walking around Monterey all weekend with black and blue marks on their arms from pinching themselves to make sure they weren’t dreaming. We were there and we covered the weekend like oil smoke at a Camaro convention. We almost hate to include this article because if you read it, and were not able to be in Monterey, you may have to be put on suicide watch. Not only was it was that good, but like the comet Kohoutek, we will never see anything like it again.
The Terlingua Ski Team? Yes, it’s a first for us, too. Ever see the Cobra slot car banner? Brock ‘O The Month Club: Peter Brock makes the big time (the good news) and from here there’s nowhere else to go except down (the bad news). We’ve also got a really nice color ad from Chubb Insurance. And that Eagle Eye three-way is still going on. If this was a highstakes poker game we wouldn’t be able to see Hutchinson, Young and Warren behind those stacks of chips. Are these guys taking chemical stimulants?
More Shelby B.S.? Well, probably. We provide a little perspective on the Tuli bulls that Carroll Shelby was breeding on his Texas ranch. The Shelby registrars issue forth an opinion on the Dynacorn replacement unibodies. We introduce the latest SAAC registrar, who handles all of the 1969 GT350 competition cars. We hope we don’t overwork him. What’s the story with the shotgun-toting Olympian gold medal winner who drives a 427 Cobra replica? The latest on 1042 Princeton Drive. And much more (as usual).
Wednesday of the Monterey weekend is the day the official event photo is taken. You’ve seen it in previous years: All of the race cars of the honored marque are parked on the track with the Cooper tire footbridge in the background. That would have been a perfect photo for this issue’s cover...except it will probably be used by everyone else covering this event and we have a thing about using photos that are not exclusive. So we positioned ourselves at the head of the false grid right before the Cobra race to get a shot of the starting field. Too bad our magic wand wasn’t working; we couldn’t make all those people disappear. Pole position was grabbed by Lorne Leibel, with Rob Walton’s Coupe right behind him.
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Thanks to the Internet we don’t get a flood of Christmas cards every December like we used to, but we still get enough to make going to the post office a pleasant experience. We’re happy to share them with you. The winter weather certainly does not dampen creativity.
It was our 3rd visit to Dearborn and the magic was still there. It was also the 20th anniversary of the first Ford GT victory at LeMans and we somehow managed to attract eleven of them. That doesn’t sound like many but it was nearly 10% of production. The Hyatt Regency Hotel continued to exceed everyone’s expectations and the open track was on Thursday at Mid-Ohio. SAAC member Jay Leno was there. This was before he was on television every night and could still walk through the parking lot like every other unknown.
You now have a new yardstick to measure “driving your Shelby” against. SAAC members Paul and Mary Ellen Kane have racked up an astounding number of “Been There - Done Thats” since they began using 6S1045 in the automotive equivalent of the Iron Man Triathalon — international rallying. It’s hard to imaging flailing through a jungle trail or maintaining 80 mph on gravel through the uninhabited wasteland of East Africa. And then having something break on the car. Jackie Keller catches up with them briefly.
It turns out that the factory did not keep accurate records on a few GT40 MK IIs. When the last registry was put together (based in part at what GT40 historian Ronnie Spain had included in his book), the race histories of P/1011 and P/1012 were confused. #1011 was wrecked and through the years the parts were scavenged and a number of people claimed ownership. But Ronnie Spain knew where it was and he recently clued Mike Teske in. Expect the car to be rebuilt/restored by Teske. You’ll see the results here.
He wins the 2012 Simeone Museum’s “Spirit of Competition” award and Howard Pardee ventured to Philadelphia to witness it — and to load up on Sam Posey autographs. The museum’s namesake, Dr. Fred Simeone, hosted the 100 or so revelers amid the cars on display, which included CSX2287, the first Daytona Coupe. Pardee threw in a bonus: In 2011 he was there when Craig Breedlove was the museum’s honoree. Pardee took pictures and we made some space for them (he threatened us if we didn’t).
William Deary’s garage is more than just a place to park his cars. In fact, the cars are “displayed,” making it more like a museum. The thing we like is the indoor washroom which allows Deary to keep his cars clean in the dead of winter (and it gets pretty close to dead in Michigan). We’re surprised that we don’t see more of these in the garage mahals we’ve seen. Deary’s place has everything: Big screen TV/entertainment center, gourmet kitchen, library, yards of display shelves and cabinetry, and a lift and work area.
Don Pike was one of the first handful of employees at Shelby American and he was one of the last to leave. He didn’t have any race experience when he got there but it wasn’t too long before he was sitting in on Shelby’s driving school and then racing a Falcon in 1964. He won eleven races out of twelve. The following year he won all eighteen races he entered and that was just the beginning. There was more, of course, and you can read about it in this interview, conducted by Gary Goeringer.
When Mike Teske told us he was planning to take his GT40 MK IV continuation car to LeMans, we knew SAAC members would be interested in reading a play-by-play. There is a lot of thought and planning that goes into shipping a car across the Atlantic that you would never realize unless you did it — or unless somebody described it. We asked him to keep a journal of his experiences so it could be turned into an article after he got back. It will definitely get you thinking.
After thirty years, this 1969 GT350 competition car finally steps out into the world, looking better than it ever did. Your first question is, no doubt, “What did Lew Spencer have to do with it?” And the answer is, “Not a thing, Bardahl-breath.” But you’ll have to read the article to discover the details. And if you’re wondering how to research a race car and document its restoration, this is Exhibit A. If we were writing a textbook this would be the example. If you have an idea for an article about your car, take note.
The Eagle Eye three-way bitch-slapping continues. Neither Hutchison’s, Young’s or Warren’s behavior show any signs of diminishing. We are considering psychiatric intervention. In other news, you’ll learn something about Carroll that you never knew. Or could guess—thanks to Mike “Bigfoot” Russell. We’ll give you a hint: “Loach.” But that won’t help. William Jeanes jumps into the eagle eye arena with a piece of Hertz memorabilia we’ve never seen. And probably neither have you.
Some amazing things have come across our desk since the last issue. “Hey—you got a problem wit dat?” How about a Ford GT that topped 283 miles per hour? Or a Goodyear “Wide Boot” tire than never saw the light of day? A Cobra that served as a target for plinkers? How about this: what do you get when you cross a ‘69 Mach I and a new Ford GT? And did we discover where the original “Cobra Jet” name came from? Or the new Shelby postage stamp. How about a Cobra coffin to die for? This stuff keeps popping up.
It’s been a while since we had a 1969 Shelby on the cover. Gary Goeringer has had this one tucked away as a long term (thirty year) project car. In the last couple of years it was moved to the front burner and this past year it was finished. If anyone was at SAAC-3 in Pasadena, they might remember seeing it there with “Cobra Performance” lettered on the rear fenders. It was Gordon and Nancy Gimbel’s B/Production race car. A stickler for details, Goeringer researched its history, from being sold as a nondescript, plain vanilla street car to being wrecked, and then reincarnated as a race car. And you late model owners were thinking that your cars never had any competition history. Oh, ye of little faith. Photo by ace photographer T.J. Grewal.
This is the display ad section. We urge you to support these advertisers. Most are SAAC members themselves.
The Boulder Boys moved their annual get-together from early December to early September, allowing it to become a full-fledged car show. The event attracted SAAC’s unflinching Cobra 50th reporter, Bill Fulk. He flew in, took a bunch of pictures, and filed his report. If you have not yet had the opportunity to visit the Shelby American Collection, this event is the perfect excuse. And with a September date you can’t use the cold winter weather excuse.
Number 12 in a continuing series. We consider this convention “the good old days”: Over a hundred swap meet vendors (no such thing as eBay), three or four hundred cars in the popular vote show (they were still being driven), open track but no vintage race yet (still 9 years away), and enclosed trailers were still an exception to the rule. The track was still called the Charlotte Motor Speedway (Lowes’ hadn’t flipped opened their checkbook yet). We burned up the track while the sun burned us up. But we all survived.
SAAC member Rich Barnes runs a restoration shop called The Mustang Ranch in Golden, Colorado. He is always looking for project cars and although he drills a dry hole now and then, when he scores, the stories are quite interesting. This one concerns buying one ‘68 Shelby and while trailering it home, a guy comes up to him at a gas station and starts bragging about the Shelby he owns. Might it be for sale? It might be, and that meant another trip back to California. And another gusher.
One of the top automotive illustrators passed away in March, 2013. Just about every Cobra or Shelby enthusiast is familiar with his name and knows of his work which started with the early Cobras and was used up until very recently on illustrations and posters. Not many, however, know of his body of work as a whole. He worked continually throughout his life, creating artwork for record album covers, sports posters, book jackets, catalog covers and advertisements.
Most 1967 Shelby owners know that The Doors’ lead singer Jim Morrison was the original owner of a GT500. Morrison lived hard, partied hard and drove hard. No surprises there. Morrison wrecked his car a couple of times and the last one was a total. The car has never turned up. We asked Bob Barranger to put an investigative magnifying glass on Mr. Morrison and his car and after some research he was able to provide the full story, warts and all.
Have you noticed that everywhere you look in the old car hobby you see gray hair: The buyers at Barrett-Jackson, the people running concours events, and the guys entering cars at the upper levels of the major hot rod shows. And don’t forget the slap-hammer and dollie guys in the body shops. Where are the replacements coming from? There are a handful of what you might call “apprentice programs” but they don’t advertise. We found one in Nebraska.
Another 427 Cobra with a pair of Paxtons is snorting and pawing the ground in Los Angeles. If wasn’t for the Kirkham Brothers, we would never be seeing these Frankenstein’s monsters because nobody in their right mind would try something like this, today, with an original Cobra. They’re just too valuable. Every time we see a new one of these surprise packages it has something unique. This one doesn’t need one of those huge, blistered scoops to clear the compressors. The stock hood is the trick piece!
Phil Remington passed away at 92. If you talked to him you’d never know of his accomplishments because he was as modest as he was talented as a fabricator. We recap his amazing life. He had the unique ability to look at a complicated mechanical problem and to imagine the fix, often before his contemporaries could describe the difficulty. Race cars are in a continual state of updating and refinement, and Rem never stopped thinking about ways to improve them. True geniuses in any field are rare. And he was a genius.
Ok, we’ll say it again: Every car has a story. And while we take a back seat to no one when it comes to having a fertile imagination, we couldn’t make this up. Some of the particulars: A 1,200-mile 427 Cobra was disassembled and put back together thirty-nine years later with every detail perfection in itself. To the point of obsession. Along the way, an implausible and unimaginable story unfolds as the Cobra’s owner reveals a barely manageable compulsion to collect NOS 427 Cobra parts. This couldn’t happen even in Rod Serling’s wildest dream.
The four-way eagle-eye rumpus continues. These guys are playing for keeps. And what’s the connection to Earl Scruggs? Did you know there is a toilet seat museum in Texas? With a cobra seat? We review the two latest books you might want to use to test the strength of your book shelf. Anybody know anything about Ginger Baker’s Cobra? Who? No, Cream. Where can you get George Bartell originals or lithographs? Know anything about SAAC soap? You will. 427 Racing Magazine unleashes issue #3. It’s all here.
The latest news, since the last issue, includes a two-seat ‘65 Mustang, a Gulf “Heritage” Smart Car and a GT40 MK II in the snow. We found the ultimate Shelby tattoo; there’s a connection between a Peregrine Falcon and a Shelby motorcycle; and we catch intrepid SAAC correspondent Bill Fulk playing both sides of the street at Hooters. How about a tip-off on the new GT500 appearance of the latest “Fast and Furious” flick? And we spill the beans on Peter Brock’s 45 year-old Daytona Coupe secret. You saw it here.
CSX3133 may hold the record for the longest ongoing Cobra restoration in history. Purchased in 1974 by Bob Gingold, a newly graduated M.D., the 1,200-mile Cobra had been raced in Northern California. After running it at an open track event at Bridgehampton, he decided it needed new paint. In 1975 he disassembled the car and then began collecting NOS parts that might be necessary for a total mechanical and cosmetic restoration. And there lies the story within the story. Gingold set out to accumulate all the original 427 parts he could find. That’s the way it began, but nowhere near where it ended.
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The 13th installment of our series recalling past conventions. In 1988 we were in Northern California, burning up Sears Point’s pavement. Who says you can’t have it all? Bondurant School on Thursday, drag racing on Thursday night, open track and swap meet on Friday, tech tables back at the hotel in the evening, open track and swap meet on Saturday, dinner and the evening program on Saturday night and concours and pop vote on Sunday. Jeeze, we’re getting tired all over again.
We love short articles like this. They are vignettes of ownership and they help illustrate what it was like to have one of these cars back in the 1980s — before values skyrocketed causing some owners to become anal-retentive. Pulling an engine was a one man job and using whatever was at hand was how you got things done. Bill Devlin yanked the engine out of his ‘67 GT500 in his apartment carport using a length of borrowed chain, a floor jack and a swap meet purchased come-along.
Australian SAAC member Bob Garnsworthy purchased 1967 GT350 and had it restored in Pennsylvania. No news there. But when he picked it up he and a pal decided to drive it to the docks in California. And it wasn’t a straight line from Point A to Point B. He took the scenic route, meandering through the country and hitting more places of interest and National Parks than a lot of American citizens have ever been to in their lifetimes. They covered 6,700 miles in five weeks. And took a few pictures.
The first SAAC event was a regional at Savelle Ford in Waterbury, Connecticut. Unbeknownst to many, it was almost the last event we ever did. There was something about a fuel dragster doing an unplanned, smoky burn-out between two rows of Shelbys. Then there was the spectacle of dozens of people “helping” return the dealer’s inventory to the front lot at the show’s end in what looked very much like a scene from the Kurt Russell movie, “Used Cars.” And then there was the Mad Hatter faux pas.
Shelbys were niche market cars before Detroit ever knew what a niche market was. And within that niche were other niches. Steve Sloan peels back the onion on the 252 1966 GT350s that started life as 1965 Mustangs. If you’re thinking you’ll settle back and read a historical version, think again. This is more like a punch-list and it covers just about everything that makes these cars different from 1965 GT350s as well as 1966 GT350s. With pictures. It will make a concours judge out of you. Almost.
He was one of the original Cobra team mechanics and became best friends with Dave MacDonald, working on the race cars MacDonald drove and adding a few special tweaks that only Phil Remington was aware of. “If Shelby finds out there will be hell to pay...” He never did and while it wasn’t the only reason MacDonald did so well, it sure helped. When Dave was killed at Indy in 1964, Wally was there and saw everything. It was a dark day and things were never the same after that. He also solves the mystery of the IRS Falcon.
The convention’s annual pop vote show has been receding in the past few years. There are a lot of reasons why this might be, but who knows for sure? We’re guessing that with everything else going on at the convention, not that many people are interested in parking their cars in the show for a few hours. It’s not like there aren’t that many cars there — if every car was brought to the show you’d see upwards of 750 cars like in the old days. Been there, done that? After thirty-eight years that could be it.
Two separate races this year: Cobras, Shelbys and Mustangs; and the Historic Trans-Am Group. It was the usual fine selection of cars and as has come to be the case, Cobra Automotive summoned up enough of their customers to fill a couple of transporters, making the race much more than a West Coast event. In fact, Scott Hackenson’s ‘67 Mustang notchback and Lorne Leibel’s Cobra took the lead and ran nose-to-tail until the Cobra found its way past the Mustang on the fifth lap. On-your-feet exciting.
If you’ve been waiting with baited breath for the results of this year’s competition, you can exhale. We’ve listed every winner and we have pictures of every winning car. Big news this year was the number of cars entered in the competition class: Five. We don’t usually get that many. The reorganization of the judging guidelines obviously made entering a restored ex-race car more inviting. Since each competition car is unique in the way it was raced, the onus was on the owner to provide documentation to show it was accurate.
Our convention after-action report. Following our request at the evening program that those taking pictures share them with us for this coverage, we received more than a dozen CDs, some with over a thousand photos on them. We saw things we missed and we’re guessing if you were there, so did you. You can’t see everything. If you weren’t there this will give you a taste of what it was like. SAAC conventions are more participatory events than spectator gatherings. They’re interactive - you really have to be there to get the full affect.
There’s no letup in the four-way eagle eye fracas. These guys are the Terminators of the Shelby world. Waiting for one of them to drop out is like watching paint dry. Food Network gourmand Guy Fieri a Cobra freak? You saw it here. What are Bobby Rahal’s five favorite muscle cars? Can a Cobra-bodied go kart possibly be worth $39,000? One individual at the Mecum Monterey auction thought so. Vietnamese rice wine with a real cobra in the bottle? This makes the worm in the tequila look tame.
We break the story that made Fran Kress a Pittsburgh television celebrity without breaking any laws. Well, no felonies, anyway. All he had to do was drive his GT40 Spyder on TV. How much do you want to know about Shelby’s DC-3? We’ll tell you more than that. A 4-wheel drive GT40? This one even slipped by Jeff Burgy. Are you ready for the 2014 Mustang 50th Anniversary celebrations? Like you’re going to have a choice? Ready or not, here they come, to an event near you. Of course, there’s more. There’s always more.
CSX2409 is hard to miss. Let’s face it, you just don’t see too many orange Cobras with yellow stripes. Originally it was Graham “Tombstone” Shaw’s USRRC race car. He raced it, he wrecked it and he sold it. It was stored for a long time and eventually landed in the hands of Cobra restoration maestro Drew Serb. When you are restoring a car with racing history to its as-raced specifications, you don’t have much of a choice in colors. This photo was taken by Robert Cassling as he prowled the Auto Club Speedway’s garages. If he was looking for a photogenic car, he found it!
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Too many of our heroes are leaving us. It seems like they’ve been there forever — or at least as long as we have been interested in the automobile world — and maybe that’s one explanation. It’s a fact of life that nobody lives forever. Their checkered flag almost always comes as a surprise; sometimes with shock and other times with relief. They touched our lives, made them better and they leave a void. But they do not slip away unnoticed. We have memories which will last forever. Godspeed.
In 1989 the SAAC Circus was at Pocono International Raceway. We had our turn trying to wear out its famous tri-oval. It survived and so did we. The car shows were held near the Mt. Pocono International Airport and more than 800 cars were on display, including 5S152, fresh from crushing the brush in Liberia if you can believe that. Many conventioneers did. A copy of a Liberian newspaper left on the dash may have helped. The owner stayed away from the car all day so he was never held accountable. Another convention story.
Tom Honegger has a long history with SAAC. He was one of the first members and as an artist we relied on him for a lot of the club’s artwork. In this article he describes a recent trip to Watkins Glen to see the Historic Trans-Am race and recalls his first Trans-Am in 1968. Many of the cars were the same ones he saw 45 years ago. It was a watershed weekend because he saw his first ‘67 Shelby on the trip and four short years later he became a 1967 GT350 owner. He still owns that car and drove it to the Glen.
There were three 1967 GT500s originally built with 427 engines. One was ordered as the ultimate street car, one was the prototype for the GT500 “Super Snake,” and this one was an out and out drag car. It had been sitting in a storage yard for ten years before the owner became aware of what it was. With so many owners claiming their cars originally came with 427s, it wasn’t until SAAC uncovered serial numbers. Surprise! There were only three. All documented by factory paperwork. This one was at SAAC-38.
Shelby enthusiasm is thriving down under. They hold a national Mustang meet each year and the Shelbys are a big part of it. This year’s event attracted 25 of them (there were more than 500 Mustangs) and their Concours is every bit as refined as the one at a SAAC convention. And that’s saying something. Australia is a country roughly the same size as the U.S., so getting to the national event can be an adventure. SAAC Representative Nez Demaj sent us these pictures and report.
Jeff Burgy was lured from his new home in Florida to go back to Dearborn for the annual Ford GT Reunion. It was a four day festival of GTs and GT lovers. One turned 100,000 miles. Another one had been driven at 230 mph. Guests included former engineers and designers from the Ford GT project as well as a few from the original GT40 project in the 1960s. The new cars didn’t spring from a clean sheet of paper on some designer’s drafting board; they had roots, and that is part of their panache (our word, not Burgy’s).
A year of changes, variations and transformations. 16 pages. Yes, 16 pages! This is the mother of all 1967 Shelby articles. After more than a year of research, analysis and scrutiny, and with the help of a dozen other ‘67 Shelby nitpickers, J.D. Kaltenbach turns in his term paper. He gets an “A.” If you thought “parts is parts” you could not be more mistaken. You won’t walk away from this article thinking that no two 1967 Shelbys are the same, but it sure seems that way.
You can never tell what will happen on a 1000-mile Cobra tour. September in the Colorado Rockies should have been a scenic drive, maybe a little crisp which would go with the fall color change. But who would have expected the white stuff? It provided an exciting end to a terrific week of winding mountain roads, scenic views, great restaurants and Cobra comradery. There was that long uphill following the snow plow. Good thing they didn’t turn on the salt-spreader!
There was another GT350 Project Engineer and we found him. Believe it or not he was a General Motors engineer who was heavy into drag racing — real slingshot top fuelers. So he rolled up his sleeves and jumped into the Dragonsnake and ‘65 GT350 drag car program, right? Wrong, Bardahl breath. Dick Lins spent most of his time dealing with R-Model issues. He said he can’t recall even being aware that Shelby American had a couple of dragsters running around. Who would have thought?
The usual smorgasbord of Shelby and Cobra trivia. We review the latest books — all worth a read. The Eagle Eye roughhouse continues and none of these guys show any signs of getting worn down. But then again, no one else has stepped into the ring. And how about the $199.99 battery powered kids’ Cobra recently spotted at Costco? We predict a swarm of these at the next convention and they won’t all be painted red with white Le Mans stripes. Will we need to establish a special car show class for them?
Some details on the elusive Playmate Pink ‘69 GT500 surface. The history of 1042 Princeton Drive continues. A Cobra prowls the NHRA Super Stock Eliminator class. Ford GT prices begin to lift off. Will there soon be a shortage of aluminum polish? Are we getting a glimpse of the next generation of concours judging? We remember the mellifluous metaphors of Uncle Tom McCahill. The Balkanization of Shelby owners? It could be happening before our eyes. And a Gene Simmons Shelby Ford pick-up? Oh, please...
If you played word association with someone and said “Cobra” they would probably respond with “sunshine,” “cruising,” “Southern California,” “bursts of speed” or “windblown hair.” Very low on the list would be “ice on the windshield” or “snow and slush.” When we saw the pictures of the recent Cobra 1000 road trip it was a man-bites-dog story. If it snows, the Cobra stays in the garage. Period. Unless, of course, you’re already on the road and a long way from your garage. All you can do is grin and bear it, and back out of the throttle, of course. Anybody have an ice scraper in their glove compartment? Didn’t think so. Photo by Peter DeSilva.
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In a nutshell, here’s the story. This car was delivered to Daytona in time for the February 1967 race. After a few years it was purchased by two guys who continued to race it, in Trans-Am, IMSA and SCCA nationals and regionals through 1978. Then the car got its second life when it was restored to original specifications and was vintage raced by those same owners. They have had the car for forty-four years, an accomplishment in itself. Here are the details, along with a bit of history on original owner Ray Cuomo.
All kinds of interesting projects find their way into Doug Kielien’s body shop in Lincoln, Nebraska. Fortunately, he finds time to document most of it with photographs. Back in the Spring 2013 issue we first told about Kielien’s shop; he hires young guys looking to get specialized experience in muscle cars, something they’re not likely to get anywhere else — unless it’s on their own cars. And even then their experience is limited to their car. The projects that Kielien brings aren’t like anything they’ll ever touch.
Back in 1976, did anyone really expect SAAC to still be putting on national conventions in 1990? Nobody we know of. We went back to the always popular Dearborn Hyatt Regency. A one day open track at Mid-Ohio followed by two days of car shows at Domino’s Farms in Ann Arbor. Did we mention drag racing at Milan Dragway? Historical cars were beginning to be brought out: A small block and big block Daytona Coupe, a few GT40s including a big block MK II, a handful of R-Models and 800 cars in the car show. Pizza anyone?
Think it’s hard to buy a ‘65 GT350 in the U.S.? Multiply that by ten if you’re living in France. SAAC member Chris Nosjean wanted an early GT350 for as long as he can remember but it was only in the past couple of years that he found himself in the position to afford one. He never gave up, and this is his story on how 5S241 came to live in Eastern France, about thirty miles from the Swiss border. Félicitations Chris. Espérons que vous avez beaucoup de miles heureux devant vous.
He was one of the stalwarts of the early Cobra team (with Ken Miles and Dave MacDonald) and just as everyone seemed to get to know him, he dropped off the radar. When his co-driver and best friend MacDonald was killed at the 1964 Indianapolis 500, he decided to retire from driving. He had a family and a thriving Porsche dealership in Pennsylvania and saw, close-up, how all that could be gone in the blink of an eye if things went bad in a race car. He never raced again. We ran this interview 33 years ago. Bob passed away in 2007.
The very first auction of the season is Dana Mecum’s Florida extravaganza. About 2,500 cars went across the block during days, making it more of a car show. Jeff Burgy was there. Heck, he was everywhere and he took a picture of every car that interests readers of this magazine: Lots of Shelbys, one real Cobra and some new Ford GTs which have become bonafide collector cars, their prices having doubled over the past decade. Auctions have become car shows today, drawing more spectators than bidders.
It’s one of the Big 3 concours events in this country (along with Pebble Beach and the Concours of the Americas in Michigan). The restorations of 5R002 and 5S003 were unveiled. Both cars were picture-perfect and after seeing 5R002 as an almost gutted shell in primer for 25 years it was good to see it as it should be. There were other things going on: 5R538 sold for a touch under $1M, a Cobra street car went for a bit more, and CSX3133 awed the crowds. And that wasn’t all.
The master eagle-eyes are still slugging it out but we sense there will be a drop-out soon. One of them looks punch-drunk and is swinging after the bell. Time to throw in the towel? Bob and Pat Bondurant host a charity wingding at the Arizona Biltmore using the 50th anniversary of the Daytona Coupe’s LeMans victory. Another original Shelby/new Shelby raffle. And what does the “M” on the Daytona Coupe’s chrome hood latch stand for? If Gayle Brock knows, so should you. And is this Baby Bird just a bad dream?
We’d normally ignore a Corvette book, but Brock wrote it and he trumps that. He accepted the award at the Petersen Museum with a translator signing for the hearing impaired. We report the inside poop on the newest Shelby diecast of the ‘68 Coralsnake (will we ever hear the end of this?). Some thoughts on barn finds. A Ford GT is hailed as the fastest car in Russia...for a brief period. The last Cobra 50 celebration, this time in Germany. A little late; maybe it had something to do with the international date line.
Jeff Burgy took this photo at the Amelia Island Concours in Florida. He got there early before the crowds. The long-awaited completion of the restoration of 5R002 was unveiled at the March event. Owner John Atzbach of Redmond, Washington has been collecting the necessary parts and pieces and overseeing the details for over a year. The car is stunning and accurately represents the way it looked when it was driven by Ken Miles at its first race at Green Valley, Texas on Valentines Day, 1965. In honor of the Mustang’s 50th Anniversary the car will be shown at some of the major events throughout the year, so you’ll likely be able to see it for yourself. Don’t miss it.
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It sounds like a script for a movie: A college kid goes to his first sports car race at Sebring and says to himself, “I’m going to race here some day.” He buys a sports car, competes in gymkhanas and hill climbs and then gets a small sports racer and goes SCCA amateur racing. Almost on a whim he orders a new GT350 race car without ever seeing one. It’s the first one delivered and he begins racing it immediately. Did he ever get to Sebring? You’ll have to read the story to find out.
It’s a lot harder to be a Shelby enthusiast outside of the U.S. but the obstacles only make enthusiasm stronger. Australia is a hotbed of Shelby enthusiasm. When they hold a national convention it may not sound like a feat to attract 29 Shelbys but keep in mind the country is the size of the U.S. with population centers (as well as Shelby owners) on the coasts. Just getting to one spot in the country requires a major commitment. That’s what we mean when we say their enthusiasm is strong.
We remember our second convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a big one, with about 1,500 people pre-registered. Three days of open track kept the non-car show people busy and the parts swap in those pre-eBay days was large. Some parts were beginning to disappear but it was far from a drought. Carroll Shelby was there, newly invigorated a year after his heart transplant. A lot of people found their way to Holman-Moody and were shown around like visiting dignitaries. Those who didn’t go to Charlotte missed out.
Ed Hull passed away in March and he was one of the unsung heros of the GT40 program. A Ford engineer, he began his association with these cars by designing the MK II transaxle — on his own time, in his basement. When Ford higher-ups found out he was quickly moved to the Ford GT program and was soon working at Kar-Kraft, and was involved with a number of outside-the-box Ford projects including the J-car, Mikey Thompson’s twin 427 SOHC land speed record car, a rear-engined Boss 429, and the Mach II.
Jeff Burgy attended the MCA’s 50th Anniversary celebration at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. When he said he would be there we asked him to wander around and photograph as many Shelbys as he could find. It turns out he found a bunch. Not as many as at a SAAC convention, but they made up for it with more Mustangs!
The Shelby traveler is back! Not satisfied with a 6,700-mile drive across the U.S. in his ‘67 GT350, Bob Garnsworthy takes on Europe. He drove through 13 countries, from England to Turkey. Along the way he found Shelby fans, sometimes helpful border guards and drained tank after tank of $10 per gallon gasoline.
The winners are listed along with the classes.The open track was Thursday and Friday and so car show day on Saturday was wide open. There were only a few dozen concours entries, so Popular Vote is the place for everyone else. And wasn’t that how SAAC was really started—everyone hanging out at a large car show?
Every year the judges learn more, their inspections are more comprehensive, and the guidelines are more stringent. The quality of restoration also increases each year. Is this a chicken-or-the-egg situation? Some of the cars required three hours to judge. Yikes! That’s the automotive equivalent of a rectal examination. Rather than owners running away from having their cars put under a microscope, they flock to it. They are seeking perfection and this year three cars attained it: the vaunted Premiere Award.
Eighteen aspiring Dan Gurneys signed up and thirteen cars answered the call and took the green flag for the SAAC six-lap sprint. Eight of the eleven finishers were on the same lap. The legendary four-mile track called for a lot of fourth-gear running, which meant high speeds. It is a track that challenges drivers and rewards skill. And offers spectators a wide variety of viewing locations.
SAAC’s 39th annual national convention is now in the record books. It was definitely a cool convention. In fact, it was the coolest one we’ve ever had. That was partly because it was held in Wisconsin and partly because it was in mid-May when the weather is unpredictable. It was a cold winter there and there was still some left when we got there. We saw a few snow flakes on Thursday, along with a sprinkle of rain. Sweatshirts, heavy jackets, wool ski caps and gloves were at a premium. But nobody’s spirits were dampened.
We review a few new books and a Mustang video just in time for the 50th Anniversary. How about a high-buck Gulf GT40 motif wristwatch? And a master eagle-eye memorabilia collector dredges the depths and comes up with a new low. There a couple of new Hollywood posters from artist Larry Gardinier. Hi-Performance Motors then and now. A GT350 makes an appearance in a yet-to-be-released major motion picture (spoiler alert: It’s a chick flick).
Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton owns a 427 Cobra. The day he picked it up at McCluskey’s shop the paparazzi were all over him and his singer girlfriend like ticks on a hound dog. GT40 P/104 crosses the block for $7M. Turbo Cobra Prototype found! Another wrecked Ford GT. What’s the story on all those Cobra LeMans hardtops? Sleepless nights in the Brock household. Does the future include see-through enclosed trailers for all big buck cars? Flaming GT500 in Texas.
Sometimes we see a photo and we imagine the word “COVER” superimposed over it in bold red letters. And other times we don’t have anything special by the time the rest of the issue is completed and we adopt a wait-and-see attitude. For this issue we thought it would be a simple matter of reviewing the more than 2,500 images we received following SAAC-39. Not so. As we scrolled through the CDs we didn’t really see any bold red letters. But we did have a dozen images and finally settled on this one, provided by Larry Lutes of Sugar Land, Texas. The car? We don’t know right now but we guarantee the owner will be only too happy to step forward as soon as he sees this issue.
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Not every Shelby American cover image arrives just in time for that issue. Occasionally one arrives way early and although we know it will get used eventually, it is put “on file.” Jim Sfetko’s 289 Cobra, CSX2321, is a great cover car, and when parked in front of a restored warbird it is irresistible. And like every cover car, there is a back story.
This car can’t accurately be described as a Barn Find because it was never lost. It was just in limbo for 34 years, patiently waiting for its restoration. And waiting. And waiting. The owner waited too long and by the time he might have started work he was just too old to attempt a project of this magnitude. It would have been too expensive and he probably would have never driven it. That’s becoming more and more of a common story as some owners come up against the age wall. Sooner or later they have their epiphany.
Pack your bags—we’re headed to Portland. It certainly wasn’t the same-old same-old convention. Having our annual get-together in a totally new place meant a lot of new faces and a whole bunch of new cars that the habitual convention-goers had never seen. Shelby was there with his brand new 427 S/C in raw aluminum, giving rides around Portland International Raceway and refusing to comply with the “passing only on the straights” rule. (“You tell him. No YOU tell him...”)
In 1967 Carroll Shelby was sitting on top of the automobile world. His GT40s had just won the 24 Hours of LeMans for the second year in a row. His Mustang team won the Trans-Am series. The new GT500 had joined the GT350, and production at the LAX airport hangars was overflowing the place. A new replacement for the Cobra was in the works. Shelby bought a pair of Lola T-70s and was dipping his toe into the USRRC series. An Indy 500 entry? Yeah, why not?
Shelby Styling Cues That Didn’t Make It. The finalized details of the 1965, 1966 and 1967 Shelbys are self-evident: You have only to look at the cars to see them. But what about some of the things that were proposed but did not make it into production? Greg Kolasa examined them, putting them under the magnifying glass and using some insider assistance from Chuck Cantwell, Chuck McHose and Peter Brock to explain the “why not.” Feel free to say, “Gee, I never knew that...”
The annual Monterey automotive weekend has grown to a full week. It is full sensory overload in one of the most picturesque vacation locations in the country. The weekend attracts a large crowd, which attracts more and more events — several concours shows, road rallies, several monster auctions — which, in turn, attract more people. Bill Fulk said he was going so we asked him to take pictures of all the Cobras, Shelbys and GT40s he saw and send them to us. It was a tough assignment but someone had to do it.
We’re always interested in seeing the impressions of SAAC members who attend their first convention, or those who travel a long distance to be there (and we don’t mean 3,000 miles, although we do respect that kind of a commitment). Terry Collins traveled to his first SAAC convention from New Zealand. He tells how he was introduced to the Cobra and how that ultimately led to the recent purchase of a New Zealand 427 S/C replica. Which, by the way, he did NOT bring to SAAC-39. We’ll cut him some slack there.
Jim Kruez puts a large magnifying glass on February 14, 1965. And he’s not looking at a Valentine’s Day card. Green Valley Raceway, outside of Dallas, was the site of the GT350’s first race and its first victory, in the able hands of Ken Miles. Kruez digs into the story, talking to some of those who were there fifty years ago. He came up with some photos you may have never seen before. And you’re going to learn a few things. For example, did you know that 5R002 was never intended to go to Green Valley?
Two new book reviews and you’ll want them both. Our four master eagle eyes are still bloodying their knuckles but we don’t see a fifth on the horizon. Wait. Yet. Remember “Run For Your Life” on TV starring Ben Gazzara? We do, and the 427 Cobra used in an RCA television ad. A couple of Shelby t-shirts were spotted on people who had nothing to do with cars. A half Cobra in a mall in British Columbia? Or a small one in an arcade? We’ve got them both. Ever heard about the Sam Pack Collection?.
We’re busting with news as usual. Did you know that a Daytona Coupe powered by an electric motor is being built that will accelerate from 0 to 60 in under four seconds? We also do a count of the NewGen Shelbys; you may want to reconsider thinking about them as “collectors' items." We take another look as the 1965 “flying GT350” photo that was never used in road tests. A Shelby Ranchero? So long to James Garner, car guy and Shelby guy. Another Ford GT in Mach I clothing. And a lot more. How do we do it?
Judging by the number of pictures of members’ cars parked near vintage aircraft that we receive, taking wings and wheels photos is a popular pastime. Jim Sfetko of Parkville, Missouri has owned CSX2321 for about thirty years and he’s not afraid to drive it. He’s participated in a number of 1,000-mile Cobra drives. This picture was taken at the Gardner, Kansas airport where the Commemorative Air Force maintains a hangar and museum. The plane is the Army Air Force’s first monoplane trainer, a 1939-1940 PT-19. PT stands for Primary Trainer. It’s likely that Carroll Shelby flew one of these while he was in pilot training. Photo by Don Armacost.
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As we turn over the calendar to a new year, a few more are no longer with us: Greg Lonberger, Mike Reimenschneider, Jean Stucki, Ed Hull, John Bishop, James Garner. When they interacted with these cars they were doing something they truly enjoyed, with people they also enjoyed. We are all diminished by our loss and we will miss them. Godspeed, men.
One of the most popular conventions of all time was in 1993 at Watkins Glen. The event had everything: A historic road racing circuit that saw Cobras, GT350s and Trans-Am cars race there from 1963 until the 1970s; Ford was one of the track’s major sponsors and they offered SAAC members the use of their latest performance cars; Carroll Shelby was on hand, giving rides in Cobras and an R-Model; the three “photo finish” 1966 Ford GT MK IIs were parked side-by-side along with a 289 and 427 Daytona Coupe and 10 R-Models.
When Michigander John Guyer said he would be attending to the annual Woodward Dream Cruise in August, we asked him to send us pictures of every Shelby he saw. It wasn’t like we were asking him to engage in some far-fetched hardship. Guyer takes pictures of Shelbys everywhere he goes. He has been supplying us with concours photos for as long as we can remember.
No, it’s not what you’re thinking if your mind is in the gutter. The 50th Anniversary of the first GT350s was commemorated by naming Shelbys as the honored marque of the prestigious concours d’elegance at the West Baden Resort in French Lick, Kentucky, near Louisville. Where did they turn to fill the show field? Easy: SAAC’s Kentucky Reps, Hunt and Pat Palmer Ball. A year of hard work resulted in at least one of every year Shelby and a bunch of Cobras. All of the cars were real crowd pleasers.
Pardon us if we repeat ourselves, but we’re fond of saying that every car has a story. This 1965 GT350 accompanied an early owner to Germany when he was in the army. That’s where the present owner found it. In the early 1970s it was little more than a used high performance car — not the rare, valuable collector’s piece it now is. It had been drag raced, but at that time that meant relatively little. Today it’s part of what makes this car so special.
The fascinating story of how an autographed copy of “The Cobra Story” fell into SAAC member Bernard Massabrook’s hands along with some other Shelby American items. Spoiler alert: It was originally owned by Shelby American Eastern Sales Representative Charles Beidler. The book was a gift from Shelby, who provided the personalized inscription to Beidler, and following his passing it went to his son. How did it end up in Massabrook’s collection? You’ll have to read the article.
You’ve never seen a Mustang/Shelby show like this! The USS Lexington has been turned into a floating museum on Corpus Christi Bay in southeastern Texas. They hosted a weekend car show on the flight deck that attracted almost two hundred participants. History virtually drips off of the Lex. Commissioned in 1943, she was the oldest working carrier at the time of her decommissioning in 1991. During WWII she participated in every major operation in the Pacific Theater, spending twenty-one months in combat.
Shelbys aren’t only located in major population centers. They are spread across the country pretty much corresponding to the population in general. Although we wouldn’t describe Western Montana and Idaho as hotbeds of Shelby ownership, these Hertz cars make up for dry spots elsewhere in that area. Enthusiasm makes up for a lack of numbers.
Ever wonder where some of the artwork you’ve taken for granted over the last 40 or 50 years came from? Artist and long time SAAC member Dick Soules is one of the sources. He shares some of his work with us. He is also a master modeler specializing in larger scale scratch-built cars and he included a few pictures of his favorites: GT40 MK II and MK IVs. And as long as he was filling an envelope, he sent along some work from his pal and fellow artist Mike DiFazio. This is great stuff.
There’s a new Cobra museum in town. Drew Serb’s idea comes to fruition and if the grand opening in Martinez, California was a sample of what’s in store for visitors, this will become a very popular destination. In addition to a bunch of perfectly restored Cobra race cars, there is a forty seat theater with high definition video and ear-splitting surround sound, Cobra and Ford GT engines, a display of wheels and display cases full of Cobra doo-dads, geegaws and trinkets. The kind of stuff everyone loves to see.
John Willment had one of the best known Ford racing teams in England. They were racing a Cobra roadster and when he saw the success Shelby American was having with its Daytona Coupe he wanted one of his own. He got a new chassis from AC Cars, and his fabricators built one based on Shelby’s cars. It’s an interesting story, often overshadowed by the original Coupes. Jim Kreuz got the story from one of Willment’s best-known drivers, Jack Sears, and one of the fabricators who built the car, Brian Waite.
Does anyone think it’s possible to overdose on this car? You can’t prove it by us! We asked a few SAAC members to share some of their thoughts on this automotive icon, including its designer, Peter Brock. We also tried to find some photos which have not see wide use, which is no easy task considering all of the coverage these cars have received in the fifty years they have been with us. But we found some!
We review the four newest Shelby related books. One of our four master eagle eyes has gone down for the count. Somebody get the smelling salts. Details on Shelby bio balls (where else would you find this?). Ford GT designer Camillo Pardo is also an artist. Who knew? Half of Sam Pack’s collection is auctioned in Dallas and the big money boys were there. An affordable Shelby? Calm down, it’s only a name on a sign. Someone with a Cobra finds a Ford Tri-Motor. And a Cobra Packard? Well, sort of.
A postscript to last issue’s article on early Shelby styling cues brought a possible prototype “wide mouth” front valence. Chuck Cantwell’s custom GT350 golf cart. A good impression of a Mexican road race Falcon. 5R002 and 5S003 sighted near the Tacoma Dome. Burgy spills the beans on the Ford GT - Pirates Cove bacchanal. Gurney awarded prestigeous Edison-Ford medal, the second time it has been awarded in 25 years. Some insider information on the Motorsports Hall of Fame. Elvis owned a Pantera. He shot it.
The Cobra Daytona Coupe has become one of the leading icons of the Cobra story. Instantly recognizeable although only six were made, they cast a shadow over the Cobra’s history all out of proportion to their number. The planets were definitely in alignment when this car was created and raced. It was not the result of a committee or brain trust; it was the work of one man. It was initially cast as an underdog but proved itself the first time on a track. All of the top up-and-coming drivers in Shelby’s stable got seat time. And the car won all the marbles, bringing the fabled World Manufacturer’s Championship to the U.S. in 1965 and tarnishing Ferrari’s legend along the way.