So Long Mr Shelby

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.

Carroll Shelby Signature

You will be missed by auto enthusiasts the world over.

We visited the Shelby museum/work shop a couple of years ago in Las Vegas. Check out the blog post and photo gallery.

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Imperial Palace-A Car Museum You Can Shop

The Auto Collections at The Imperial Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada (@AutoCollection on Twitter) is billed as The World’s Largest Classic Car Showroom.  A significant number of the cars on display are for sale from the $14,500 Yugo to the multi-million dollar Ferrari’s and Rolls Royce’s.  If it catches your eye and your budget–just step over to the sales office and start the paperwork.

The last time I visited this museum was back in 2001 while on a business trip.  The museum appears to have been expanded and the collection has been turned over significantly.   A tip for those who plan ahead–you can visit their website and print a free admission coupon.

Imperial Palace

This Cadillac convertible was located in the Grand Salon and appears to be suited for the Joker or Prince–who knows?  The purple on black color scheme was an absolutely amazing combination for such a stylish car.  The extensive use of chrome accented the lines and paint of this vehicle.
Imperial Palace

This 1946 Delahaye 135MS Roadster in a beautiful blue jumped off the floor with its flowing lines and classic styling.  This car has lived the life with time being spent in Hollywood and racing in Monterey.
Imperial Palace

I am willing to admit that I am getting older and my tastes are changing.  I used to hear my grandfather talking about the classic cars of the 1920′s and 1930′s and I just didn’t get it.  They lacked the flowing lines and big engines of the 1970′s muscle cars of my generation.

I can confidently say that I now get it! The workmanship, detail and materials were incredible and should be appreciated as a bygone era.  Of course this 100pt restoration of a 1931 Ford Model A doesn’t make it difficult to see all of those aspects.  You can take it home for $75,000 and impress the neighbor’s grandparents.  I am sure they get it.
Imperial Palace

If you find yourself in Las Vegas, don’t miss your chance to get out of the smoke filled casinos and make the journey over to the Imperial Palace Hotel parking garage to fill your eyes and noses (yes, oil and gas does smell better than smoke to me) with the Auto Collection.

Check out the full photo gallery here with more than 200 photos from my two different visits.

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A Museum with a Bite–Carroll Shelby’s Shrine & Shop

How about a little game of Karnack the Magnificent?

Q1: No.

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.

Carroll Shelby Signature

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.

Aluminum Cobra

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.

Cobra #1

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.

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Faces in Places–Car’s Edition #1

I was watching the TV one morning half awake in a hotel room and CNN carried a story about a website that looked for faces in the most mundane places; electric outlets, chairs and other misc items.  The site, Faces in Places, won one of Yahoo’s Finds of the Year awards with a unique prospective on the everyday items that we see and touch. Browse the site and you will be amazed at how often and where the faces pop up.  No, I am not having some kind of moment–these faces are everywhere once you are tuned into where they are hiding.

I started to think about Cars–the movie and the personalization of automobiles.  Two headlights, windshield, grill and a chrome bumper make the perfect face. If Pixar could build a movie out of cars I should definitely be able to find the same inspiration in photos we have taken. I started the search the thousands of photos we have taken and decided to try to chronicle as many faces as I could find in an ongoing series at articles.  Below are my first few photos to kick-off the series.

Not an Good Example of Faces in Places. The face should be a feature of the photo or the object, nothing so defined as the skull sitting as a hood ornament.

Skull on VonDutch Ford

This is a Good Example of Faces in Places.  This Ak Millar Roadster sure shows a great face with a mouth wide agasp and bright eyes. This face looks as if it is set on chasing apexes and competitors.

Ak Miller Roadster

This Jaguar D-Type takes a simple approach with a smooth skin and inset eyes. The radiator opening almost appears to add a whimiscal feel to the face. This face looks more suited for a role in Ghostbusters–The Cars version.

Jaguar D-Type

I will continue to search the photo database and pull a few photos at a time when I come across them to continue this series. So next time you are driving to work don’t get to hung up on the faces staring at you from outside the passing cars–they are only watching the road for the next curve or an abrupt set of brake lights up ahead.

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