REMEMBERING THE KING OF COBRAS
The Carroll Shelby Tribute & Car Show
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, May 24, 2014
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Story and pictures by Sean Spear
While the general public may know Mr. Shelby as the crafter of fast cars, the attendees at the Second Annual Carroll Shelby Tribute & Car Show were also able to learn about the philanthropic exploits of the man as well. Both parts of Mr. Shelby’s legacy were celebrated at the event, which took place at the future home of the Carroll Shelby Automotive Museum in Gardena, California.
Examples of his classic racers like the Cobra, Daytona Coupe, Mustang GT 350, and even the GT40 were on display, as well as a boatload of post-2006 Shelby Mustangs. Reflecting Mr. Shelby’s easy-going style, the cars were judged for awards in various categories by the general public, rather than a set of blue blazer and straw hat wearing ‘experts’.
One of the cars that got the most buzz was a rather worn-looking 1965 Cobra 427 SC with a special history. “There were only 30 or so 427 SC’s built in 1965, and only 2 with this Hertz Gold color straight from the factory.” Said Anthony Boosalis, the current owner. “Early in the car’s life it was repainted blue with white strips. The previous owner set out to restore the car; coming up with the brilliant idea of trying to ‘de-paint’ it to reveal the original gold. But then he ran out of money. I was lucky enough to learn about the car through the Cobra Club and bought it about three years ago.” About his plans for the car, Boosalis explains “I briefly thought of a restoration myself, but since everything on the car is original, I’m really being encouraged by everyone to leave it as-is. It’s a survivor; matter of fact, many in the Cobra world consider it the most original 427 SC left in existence. As they say, ‘It’s only original once!’”
In addition to learning about the cars, attendees also got to learn about the plans by Carroll Shelby’s family of organizations for carrying forward and building upon Mr. Shelby’s legacy. Neil Cummings, Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International described it this way, “People know Carroll for his work with racing and cars, but most don’t know that he was a double transplant recipient. After his heart transplant in 1991, he wanted to give back by helping children and other individuals who can’t afford the surgery by creating the Carroll Shelby Foundation. It’s his non-profit baby.” The Foundation has since expanded its mission to include supporting educational opportunities for young people through automotive and other training programs. Cummings went on to say, “The development of the museum is a big part of our education mission. We are fundraising for it through events like this, as well as through building our licensing business and expanding our car building relationship with Ford. Ford will be taking the new 2015 Mustang worldwide, and we’ll be delivering new Shelby Mustangs along with them.”
Eventually the conversation turned to Carroll Shelby the man. Joe Conway, the other Co-CEO of Carroll Shelby International (and husband of Mr. Shelby’s niece) remembers, “Carroll was really a humble genius. He had a great mind for figuring things out, and a great business mind. He could remember people and events like they were yesterday. Now on the other hand, he would never throw away anything! I was cleaning out his refrigerator freezer once and found a two-year old side of beef. When I went to throw it out, he said ‘No Joe, you don’t understand! You cook it for 18 hours and it’ll be good as new!’” When you think of how he took the run-of-the-mill AC Bristol and made it the Cobra, or the Mustang and made it the GT500KR, clearly Mr. Shelby had the knack for cooking up things special.