Third Shelby Tribute a Hit!
Epic Cobra-gasm Batman! Bring together Ford-powered special interest cars, Carroll Shelby’s Original Venice Crew and happy enthusiasts, and you would say the Third Annual Shelby Tribute at the Carroll Shelby Foundation and future museum in Gardena, California, Saturday, May 16, was a raving success! Racing history’s great Mustangs and Cobras blended with modern pony cars featured in hundreds of displays, and fans of “the snake” ate it up. Mustangs as far as the eye could see—then add a few GTs, GT40s Panteras and even Sunbeam Tigers! They lined and filled the rows of Dearborn-Michigan Iron. Open hoods the whole way around revealed many superchargers—a staple of the Shelby package—and beautiful examples of V8 tuning. California has not abandoned the V8 entirely for the imports—and judging by the amount at this show, there are plenty more out there. A special panel of the “Original Venice Crew” led by iconic designer Peter Brock, with Duane Carling, Bernie Kretzschmar, Allen Grant, Jim Marietta and Ted Sutton, had the large audience hanging on every word as a period slide show illustrated those early racing years. Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC) President Randy Richardson spent two full hours interviewing the group, some of whom recently completed — at Brock’s BRE Shop in Henderson, Nevada — a bespoke Independent Rear Suspension GT350, which was on display (and was the subject of another story here on Driving Line). It never ceases to amaze how many microcosms evolve in different sects of the car culture. You can be a Ford man, for example, but have a thing for 1966 Shelby GT350s, or GT40s—or Econoline F150 pickups. So many different examples of the same template means that aspects become so personal for people. There are the traditionalists who want a car to be “numbers matching” originals, while others will put 17-inch wheels and chrome wrap on the same car. It certainly leads to the quiet grumbling—but all in all—it still remains the car culture. Beauty after all, is in the eye of the beholder. In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of both the 427 Shelby Cobra and GT350, the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust revealed a number of “insider projects”, including a remaining original Shelby Competition Chassis racecar that was started but never finished. Also on display were two frames that were never wore a skin — stirring the imagination with dreams of what could be…. The newest Shelby racecar, the Mustang Shelby GT, made an appearance, sporting a supercharged 627hp powerplant and wowed the enthusiasts strolling among the rows of Blue Oval horsepower. Also amongst the fray was a large display by Irvine, CA-based Shelby licensee, Superformance. Lance Stander and his Hillbank team had a number of beautiful bespoke models of the famed Cobra. “It’s a great event,” commented Stander, “and close to home.” Rich MacDonald, son of racing legend Davey MacDonald, goes to many of these types of events—as many decedents and survivors strive to preserve the legacy. He is frequently joined by his mother Sherry. In the MacDonalds' case, all those Dave MacDonald Cobra race wins, including the 1963 Times Grand Prix at Riverside were won in the iconic Cooper Monaco King Cobra. Dave, sadly was killed on the third lap of the 1964 Indianapolis 500 in a car entered by Mickey Thompson—ending what might have been an epic road racing career. The continuing interest in Shelby and his life’s accomplishments drives the completion of the museum, housed in Shelby’s former Goodyear Tire distributorship. The building serves as a hopeful home base for the legend and continues to host events as the foundation works to raise the funds to outfit the building with relics and exhibits. For complete information about the Shelby American Automobile Club, please visit www.saac.com.