My Car Quest

July 12, 2024

Event Report: The 7th Annual Shelby Tribute

Gardena, CA May 5, 2019

Text and photos by Wallace Wyss –

I hafta say that, having been somewhat around Shelby American back in the day (first visit 1965) I remember what it was like then.

And it’s the same now, enthusiasm for the cars wherever they appear. This occasion was the 7th Annual Carroll Shelby Tribute and Car Show which took place Saturday, May 4, 2019 in Gardena.

AC Shelby Cobra

The real Cobras were all indoors so you had to wait all day to catch one outside for pictures

Ironically it is in the same building where Shelby sold Goodyear Racing Tires. And I remember interviewing Shelby there back in 1977 when I wrote my first book on him Shelby’s Wildlife: The Cobras and Mustangs.

It was kind of fun to read about this 2019 event in a local paper, the Daily Breeze, who wrote:

The event paid homage to the flamboyant automotive designer best known for his unique takes on the Mustang — forever known as the Shelby Mustangs — which he created and then recreated for the Ford Motor Company.

Shelby was also a driver, builder and entrepreneur whose put his stamp on the Dodge Viper, various after-market auto accessories, a line of chili seasonings and even his own brand of men’s deodorant.

AC Shelby Cobra

Yes, it’s beat up but damn if it isn’t a barn find being driven as found (except fo correcting any safety problems) It was originally sold painted gold and that;’s the original paint

That was all they wrote but I am sure the reporter, God bless ‘em, didn’t have a clue as to the waves Shelby made in the car world back in the Sixties. The reporter didn’t even mention LeMans and that’s the subject of the new movie coming out (working title Ford v. Ferrari), an $80 million extravaganza which purports to show how a failed chicken farmer led Ford to victory in Yurrip. Yes on Ferrari’s own hallowed turf! That’s like writing a bio of Gen. Patton and leaving out that, oh by the way, he led the Allied charge into Germany.

AC Shelby Cobra and Daytona

There were replica Cobras by the dozen, and you had to have a program to tell them apart…Superformance even supplies cars to Shelby, so it’s all one big happy family now

At a lot of Shelby events only two or three real Cobras show up but I counted seven, but really can’t tell the real ones from the replicas now, the replicas are that good (unless they display the SN, the real ones starting with CSX2000 for small blocks and CSX3000 for big blocks).

Shelby Mustang

These Shelby theme girls gave a good workout to the Spandex…I resisted having my picture taken with them…

And giving a speech, one present Shelby company rep said that virtually every configuration of Shelby car from back in the day is available now, from 260 Cobra to 289 Cobra to Daytona coupe to Ford GT40s from the Mk. I to the Mk. II (Well, she didn’t say Mk. IV but no doubt that will come…)

I re-met several long time Shelby people like Dennis Murdoch who had bought a GT40 from an injured Indy racer, and Lynn Park, who owns at least ten real Cobras and started buying them when they were just used cars. And of course Aaron Shelby, a 6′ 4″ giant of a man that resembles his grandfather and has the same genteel manner. He’s a banker, but I am sure Shelby was damn proud of him.

The best speech was given by the son of Dave MacDonald, a hard charging Shelby racer who made his name in Cobras and the King Cobra (the latter a modified Cooper) only to die at Indy in Mickey Thompson’s flawed Indy car. According to the speaker, it was Shelby American’s good season with the King Cobra in 1964 that convinced Ford they needed to turn over the GT40 program to Shelby. They had tried doing it without him in ’64 and fallen flat on their collective faces.

AC Shelby Cobra

This baby blue roadster still belongs to the original owner who has been driving it, what ’60 plus years!

Shelby delivered them the victory in ’66.

There were plenty of Shelby Mustangs, all the way up to the present model. I couldn’t really identify the present model, but I know it exists. My memory card in my brain is full of minor details about cars of the Sixties and there ain’t enough gigabytes to store differences in taillights between, say, the 2019 Shelby and 2020 Shelby.

I actually went to similar events at this same location when Shelby was still alive and remember him cooking some of the food himself, which was a real treat considering here’s the man who led the charge on Ferrari. Kind of like, to use the Patton analogy again, stopping by a troop kitchen on the way to Germany during the war and having Gen. Patton serve up the hamburgers!

Ford GT

Camillo Pardo, he who designed the ’05-’06 Ford GT, has owned about five of the ones he designed, and sold them all once he did his own custom paint. Now he’s starting on the next team’s design the current Ford GT. He loves to drive a car like this across the US and has done it several times.

There was some official Shelby souvenirs for sale but I didn’t buy any. I’m thinking of reviving one of my Shelby books and need the real stuff—the old pictures, and however raggedy, old issues of the Marque and Shelby American magazines. Drop me a line if you have that.

I really think that the film, tentatively called Ford v. Ferrari, could be a game changer, because there’s lots of people going to car shows now that weren’t even born when Ford won at LeMans. After Nov. 15th , when the film makes its debut, I predict that there will be a bunch more fans. Unless it’s like RUSH, a dud car movie if there ever was one, but I can’t see that happening this time around. I mean how can you beat the story appeal of a failed chicken farmer turned racer who beats Ferrari? That’s like a kid that’s been playing baseball for only five years winning the world series…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss, a fine artist as well as a writer, has completed ten paintings of Cobras & GT40s. For a list and prices write


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Event Report: The 7th Annual Shelby Tribute
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Event Report: The 7th Annual Shelby Tribute
This Shelby Tribute was held in the same building where Shelby sold Goodyear Racing Tires. I remember interviewing Shelby there back in 1977.

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