Posted by Keith | Filed under Posts
Sadly, Carroll Shelby passed away on May 10, 2012. He was an enigma. Chicken Farmer, Race Car Driver, Car Builder, Heart Transplant Survivor and creator of the most recognizable car body style in the world. Very few people have ever achieved the level of success he did in the automobile world.
How about a little game of Karnack the Magnificent?
Q2: For a price and it will take some time.
Q3: Well, $23,000,000 was the last offer and it is still here.
These are just three of the questions the nice folks at the Shelby Automobiles have to answer on a daily basis. The museum/shop sits next to the Las Vegas speedway and is responsible for building custom Shelby Cobras from scratch and doing post-build modifications to Ford Mustangs that bear the Shelby name. During the visit you get to check out Shelby’s history (sorry Dodge fans you are not included) and potentially walk out on the shop floor to see where the magic occurs. At the end of the visit you can sign the shop wall with thousands of other folks–Carroll’s idea. Every visitor can pick up a Sharpie and leave their mark at the museum for Carroll to see when he visits the shop. This is the answer to Questions #1 and #3–Carrol lives in Texas and only visits the shop on a rare occasion. His last visit was in January of this year for his 85 birthday celebration.
As soon as you enter the museum you lay your eyes on the most photographed and famous Cobra in the world. The aluminum bodied 427 was Carroll’s pride and joy. It garnered a lot of press in its day. One day, Carroll decided it would be better polished/buffed down to a soft shine. Several thousand man hours later the car was even more gorgeous. The light reflects off the curves and distorts the reflections like a fun house mirror. The guide warns us not to touch it–the oils on the human hand sit on the finish and slowly discolor it over a few weeks. Shame to those who touch the SHINY CAR.
The Lady of the House sits on a pedestal on one side of the floor. Her creator looks over her shoulder and curvaceous hips from large photos on the wall directly behind her. This blue Cobra is the first car to bear the Shelby name. She was the star of the show back in the sixties. Carroll painted her different colors for each media event in a virtual shell game to confuse the media and the public about the quantity of cars built. The multi-color car strategy must have worked; Cobra’s are one of the most mass produced kit cars in the world and are instantly recognizable. Carroll has never offered the car for sale but offers come in from time to time. The last offer was $23,000,000 and he turned it down–The answer to Question#2. Carroll must have an alternative plan–perhaps he wants to drive it on his 100th birthday. The guide told us he is one of the oldest living heart recipients and shows little sign of slowing down. The shop is no different, they are gearing up for several new iterations of the new Shelby Mustang including a 700+hp version called King Snake.
If you are wonder what the questions were:
Q1: Can I talk to Carroll–I am a huge enthusiast?
Q2: Can Carrol sign the dash or hood of my car?
Q3: Why hasn’t Carroll sold the first Cobra?? It has to be worth a lot of money.
Visit to the Photo Gallery to see more photos from the museum.