The Car Out Back

Dear Car Friends

It’s been a while since we last spoke.   My son Mike & I are still building new/old GT 350 race cars at the Shelby facility in Gardena CA.  We start with 1965 or ‘66 Hi Performance Mustang street cars, just like Carroll Shelby did back in the day, and transform them into clones of the GT 350 Competition Models ( R ) race cars that dominated B Production racing for years. One of our first buyers is from Germany. He visited our shop and brought the German equivalent of The Discovery Channel with him to see where the car is being built.  They also filmed a track test of our prototype 98-I race car, compared to a high performance street model ’65 Mustang  at Willow Springs Raceway.  They’ll put together a segment for their show later this summer, May or June, once the buyer’s car is delivered.  Someone came up with the story line “Suddenly It’s 1965.”  I kinda like it.

Meanwhile, back at the shop, we’re pretty excited about a real, actual, BARN FIND, or more correctly a SHED FIND.  When we were at the Monterey Concorso back in August, a gentleman was admiring our car and mentioned he had one “just like it” that he bought years ago.  Turns out he’d had the car “30 or 40 years” with the intention of restoring it to its’ former racing glory.  He parked it between 2 sheds behind his hanger at the Monterey Airport, covered it with a tarp and went on with his worldwide business.  He’s now liquidating the contents of the hanger and wanted to find a good home for “the car out back.”

We were the right guys at the right time in the right place.  Five months later that car is back home with us, after 50 years away.  It’s going to be fun to bring it back to racing condition.  This car is not one of the 36 R models Shelby built & sold in ’65 & ’66, but it was built to race with them.  Non-factory sponsored drivers were called PRIVATEERS  back in the day, and used the over the counter Shelby racing parts, and the same chassis tricks.

We were the right guys at the right time in the right place.  Five months later that car is back home with us, after 50 years away.  It’s going to be fun to bring it back to racing condition.  This car is not one of the 36 R models Shelby built & sold in ’65 & ’66, but it was built to race with them.  Non-factory sponsored drivers were called PRIVATEERS  back in the day, and used the over the counter Shelby racing parts, and the same chassis tricks.

Occasionally they beat the factory drivers.  If it’s not a sibling, it’s at least a cousin.  Unfortunately the guys working on these cars have little chance of turning themselves back into 25 year olds, but it’s sure fun to restore the cars back to their youthful vigor.  Each one seems to have its own unique personality, and to see and hear them come to life is a thrill like nothing else.

Duane

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