By Steve & Tamami Laser
If we could rate car shows like we rate restaurants and hotels, we’d give the 2016 edition of the Carroll Shelby Tribute and Car Show five stars. It made us laugh. It made us cry. It made our jaws drop as we gazed upon an amazing array of Shelby vehicles. And it made us feel giddy as we stood inside a building and witnessed the “Shelby Engine Rev.”
Held on May 21st at Shelby’s facilities in Gardena, Calif., the event celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Ford GT, Shelby G.T. 350, and Shelby Hertz “Rent-A-Racers.”
We attended the welcome presentation and new model introduction (see our video below). Dave Kunz (fellow Motor Press Guild member and a TV news automotive reporter) introduced Aaron Shelby, grandson of Carroll Shelby. Aaron is a board member of Carroll Shelby International, Inc., and director of the Carroll Shelby Foundation.
“If you notice on the t-shirts, on the posters, we’ve got a ribbon on there,” said Aaron (above). “It’s for my nephew (nine-year-old Lloyd Randall Shelby). Randall and Mollie’s son recently passed away unexpectedly. Randall and Mollie were really dedicated, and really brave. They donated Lloyd’s organs, in the true spirit of Carroll and organ donation. We’re always thinking about Lloyd and we miss him. Lloyd was a huge Shelby fan. He went to a lot of Shelby shows. He loved the cars. He was really close to my two boys as well.”
Following the moving tribute to young Lloyd, the presentation continued.
See the new Shelby “Sebring Tribute” Cobra introduced by Neil Cummings (center stage), Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International, in our video above. Standing by the car (l-r) is Aaron Shelby, with legendary Shelby drivers John Morton, Bob Bondurant, and Allen Grant.
Shelby American made a new product reveal at the show with the “Sebring Tribute” Cobra Racer. Part of its global expansion program, the new model is the company’s first international turnkey small-block racing Cobra. The “Sebring Tribute” limited edition of just 15 cars is scheduled to go into production in the second quarter of 2016.
Shelby says that the lightweight roadsters will come complete with a genuine 289 cu. in. aluminum engine and Ford transmission. Available with an aluminum or fiberglass body, the cars include a Shelby MSO and plan to be sold worldwide.
The Sebring Tribute edition cars are based on the Shelby American CSX7000 Continuation Shelby Cobra. While it retains the classic style body lines, Shelby installs modern disc brakes and a stronger frame. Like the 1960s racers, the new models feature widened fenders, cut-back doors, more aggressive dampers, racing wheels with pin-drive hub, and oil cooler scoops.
Neil also spoke about plans for a Shelby Museum at the Gardena facility. We had a chance to walk-through a work-in-progress area called the “Shelby Snake Pit” (artist’s rendering above). This lounge-style setting to be filled with Shelby archives and memorabilia is slated to be completed by next year’s show (May 2017).
Following the presentation, we made an effort to record as many display vehicles as possible on video. Unfortunately, we missed the “Sprit of Competition” panel discussion with the motorsports legends. The panel honored Ford’s return to Le Mans 50 years after the Shelby American team won the race in a Ford GT40 with one of the factory team cars.
This beautiful yellow car is the GT40 that won a race at Sebring. “We worked with the Larry H. Miller Total Performance Museum to arrange the display of the Ford GT40 that Mario Andretti and Bruce McLaren drove to victory at Sebring in 1967,” said Neil. “A few months later, Shelby American fielded several Ford GT40s at Le Mans. Shelby won the race again for a second consecutive year, this time with Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt driving the first-place GT40.”
The black GT40 with gold wheels at the start of our video is one of a limited run of 20 CSX-badged Shelby GT40 MkII cars. These continuation cars are built around the original style, steel monocoque chassis and independent suspension. Shelby says it can even be ordered in right-hand-drive like the original.
With styling evocative of the original, several prime examples of the 2005-’06 Ford GT were also displayed at the show. The Ford GT featured a mid-engine 5.4-liter supercharged V8 that cranked out about 550 horsepower. With a little over 4,000 units built, these cars remain a rare sight on the street. (Ford is introducing a completely new GT for the 2017 model year.)
This video highlights a separate indoor display of Shelby Cobra models. Shelby is building a limited run of 50 Daytona Coupes. This gorgeous coupe reflects the original shape developed by Peter Brock in 1965.
An original round-tube Shelby Cobra frame is probably priceless. We spotted two of them on display in the Cobra room.
Parked next to a bright red Cobra roadster, the Daytona Coupe features a tilt-up front section that provides easy access to the engine.
We know this Cobra Daytona is driven because we’ve seen it on the street. Yet the owner keeps it so immaculate that it looks as fresh as the day it was built.
There’s something special about a non-restored car, especially if it’s a 427 SC Cobra! The owner says that this 1965 model is one of only two cars painted Hertz gold by the factory. While the faded paint is not original, the rest of the car is unrestored.
As the saying goes, “It’s only original once,” so it might be better to leave this car in its current state rather than restore it.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Shelby G.T. 350, we take a look at some of the amazing examples on display in our video, including this bright red G.T. 350 S.
We were amazed by the incredible display of Shelby G.T. 350s. About halfway through the video we captured several prime examples of the G.T. 350-H Shelby Hertz “Rent-A-Racers” (still photo above). This is the first time we’ve seen one with blue paint.
Stand back! It’s time for the “Shelby Rev” as owners crank up their cars in a salute to Carroll Shelby. Listen to the beautiful music in our video.
We were inside the building making videos of the G.T. 350s when the clock struck 1:00 p.m. and it was time for the “Rev Your Engine” salute to honor the life and legacy of Carroll Shelby. We were so caught up in the moment that we forgot to wear ear plugs.
We don’t know when we’ll be in a room filled with immaculate Shelby G.T. 350s again, so we made another video, this time focusing on two cars: a 1965 and 1966 model.
This engine bay certainly reflects pride of ownership. It turns out that this car is the property of the same “Shelby Guy” who owns the spotless Daytona Coupe (see above).
It’s time to move outside and take a look at more fabulous cars. This Shelby American display includes several examples of the company’s current offerings. Check them out, along with those owned by individuals, in our video.
We’re looking under the hood of the Shelby Super Snake. If our notes are correct, this starts with a 670 horse Ford Performance supercharger…and kicks it up a few notches to an amazing 750+ hp for those who want more.
Parked next to the blue Super Snake is a yellow Shelby Terlingua. Only 50 of these track-inspired cars are being built on the 2015-’16 Mustang GT. It features a Whipple supercharger mated to a 5.0-liter V8, Shelby by Eibach sway bar and adjustable coil-overs, Ford Performance half-shafts, short-throw shifter and Borla exhaust.
In addition to Shelby cars, the show welcomed Ford performance vehicles. The majority of cars on display were Mustangs, with just about every model year represented.
These late 1960 Mustangs were displayed near a garden area. With the aroma of the annual chili “cook-off” in the air, we enjoyed a quick lunch. Yet there was more to see, so we continued our show coverage.
We took our first look at the new 50th anniversary Ford Shelby GT-H. As a throwback to the famed Shelby GT350-H “Rent-A-Racer” program of the 1960s, a total of 140 will be available exclusively through the “Hertz Adrenaline Collection” at select airport locations in the continental United States.
Shelby says that Ford Performance is supplying a cat-back performance exhaust for that throaty sound that will make this car unmistakably a Shelby Mustang GT-H. To put all of the horsepower to the ground, the Ford Shelby GT-H also comes with the Ford Racing Handling Pack, including special-tuned dampers, lowering springs, sway bars and a staggered wheel kit. The Shelby GT-H rides on 19-inch aluminum wheels wearing high performance Michelin rubber.
We spotted this beautiful 1969 Shelby GT 500 parked inside and decided to take a closer look in our video.
While the indoor display focused on the Shelby G.T. 350, several other models were also displayed by their owners. This 1969 GT 500 reminds us of our high school days when this car was brand new and an object of desire.
These well preserved examples of the Shelby Series 1 from the 1990s and early 2000s attracted plenty of attention. It took a moment to jog our memory and recall that they’re powered by the Oldsmobile Aurora DOHC V8.
Those looking to take home mementos from the show found lots of choices at the Shelby Store. We thought about parking the “Cobra Couch” in our living room…before settling on nice baseball hats.
For more information on Shelby vehicles visit Shelby.com
Note: Current models, features, specifications, release dates, and availability mentioned in this story are subject to change without notice by the manufacturer.
CarNichiWa.com received a media invitation to this event.
Story, photos and videos Copyright © 2016 CarNichiWa.com