A Tribute to Carroll Shelby

Words by Matt Willis

As most of us in the automotive community know, one of the biggest headlines last year was the passing of Carroll Shelby on May 10, 2012. Even if you’re not part of the community, chances are you know who Carroll was and what he meant to motorsports and enthusiasts all around the world. His involvement with the AC Cobra and the GT40 brought renowned success to Ford on the international circuits. He helped design some of their most iconic vehicles, such as the GT350 and GT500 Mustangs – both classic and late model – as well as the revised Ford GT in 2003. For many years, Shelby and his cars have been thought of as nothing short of extraordinary.

So, this past weekend, a little meet & show at the Shelby HQ in Gardena, CA, was held on the 1-year anniversary of Shelby’s passing. I met up with Mel on Saturday morning, prior to our trip to Extreme Autofest later in the day…


Superformance brought out a matching pair of Cobras – one roadster and one Daytona coupe.




There is no question the Cobra roadster is one of the most iconic vehicles of all time. There really is nothing else like it…

Beautifully restored GT40…

There were also plenty of classic Mustangs…


Loved the striping and off-tone white on this one. Not something you see everyday…


’66 SCCA Trans Am…

Current and late model GT’s and GT350/500 models…


I believe this is a ’67 or ’68 TA-spec Coupe…

Cobra cart…

Part of the work that goes on at Shelby HQ are producing crate engines that are fully built to customer specs…several of them were on display…

…some of them were already installed in customer cars…

Bronze finished Cobra that was absolutely remarkable. I’m normally not a fan of mirror-like finishes, but the slight brown/gold tint that this had made it so much more appealing than just polished chrome. The brushed metal color-matched racing stripes and matching exhaust were awesome little details.

If you’ve followed us over the last year or so, we’ve come up with this obnoxious trend of taking pictures of ourselves in reflections. It’s formally and technically called a “selfie”, and we sometimes make a point to find unique or new surfaces to shoot against.

This was probably one of the most impressionable cars there. It’s one of the last 289-equipped Cobra’s ever made, belonging to Carroll Shelby himself. The unique part about this car is that was also equipped with an automatic transmission.


This believe this was one of the first imported AC’s equipped with a 427…

This original Cobra belonged to singer Hank Williams…

Row of new and late model Shelby GT500s…



It was great to see such a presence at the meet and to see so many beautiful and historical cars. Carroll would have been proud.

Thanks for reading.


2 responses to “A Tribute to Carroll Shelby”

  1. Brian S. (@sundudeCAN) Avatar

    Thanks for sharing these great photos. Allow me to clarify some of the Cobra-related info.

    The blue+gold 289 Cobra is chassis no. CSX2589. It is THE last 289 Cobra roadster ever made and has been owned by Carroll Shelby since Day 1 (now part of his estate). It’s one of about 30 small-block Cobras equipped with an automatic transmission.

    The gold 427 Cobra is chassis CSX3047. It’s one of 29 true “semi-competition” Cobras and is most notable for being in unrestored condition with plenty of “patina.” But it’s not the first 427-powered AC; far from it.

    The silver 289 Cobra is CSX2227. It’s a rare one-owner car which belongs to Hank Williams. But this is not the famous country singer, Hank Williams, who died in 1953. This Hank Williams is a former jazz musician and racer.

    Do you have any photos of the white 427 “Essex Wire” Cobra you can post? This is a very significant full-competition car that has just finished being restored.

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