My Car Quest

October 18, 2019

Los Angeles Shelby Club Celebrates Ford v. Ferrari Movie With Gathering At Former Shelby Headquarters

by Wallace Wyss –

Carroll Shelby once had a Goodyear racing tire shop in Gardena tucked into a corner where the Interstate 110 and 405 freeways meet.

Each year for the last several years, there’s been a gathering of Shelby fans sponsored by the Los Angeles area Shelby club and this year was no exception, except that adding to this event Saturday, September 14th, was the excitement in the air of the impending nationwide release of the feature film Ford v. Ferrari.

Los Angeles Shelby Club

This tacky Cobra 427 S/C is rough looking but original; painted Hertz Gold when it was new. It has to be one of the most valuable unrestored big block Cobras existant

I was kind of hoping they would show the movie, which debuts Nov. 15th but then didn’t. But I was somewhat mollified by the appearance of some luminaries from the good old days when I visited Shelby American back in the ‘60s, such as Charlie Agaipou, once a London bus mechanic who got elevated to working on the fastest cars in the world—the Ford GTs that won LeMans in 1966.

According to Steve Beck, the co-owner of Checkpoint Automotive, of Culver City, who was showing a vintage Shelby, Agaipou was the best speaker of the handful of original employees. Agaipou not only knows what’s going to be in the movie, he was a consultant to it and I wished I could have stayed there to hear him speak of trying to teach the actor playing his role how to speak The King’s English the right and proper, which is of course not Etonian but Cockney (with lots of Cor Blimeys).

I also enjoyed seeing Dr. Bruce Kawaguchi with his vintage Shelby Mustang who showed me his bruises from working on his race car at Monterey. He has a full concours ready car but still races it as well.

Honored at the event was Ken Miles, one of Carroll Shelby’s most influential employees, killed testing a prototype for the Mk. IV. But his son Peter, a consultant to the film, and his granddaughter were there, Peter as Guest of Honor.

Los Angeles Shelby Club

Superformance always has a show of their replicas which are astounding in their detail. The Irvine, CA firm supplied over 20 Cobra and GT40 replicas to the makes of “Ford v. Ferrari.”

The younger Miles and all of the Shelby American Employees that could make it were honored at a sub event at the car show, the 21st Annual Employee Reunion. Bob Shaw, the Shelby club official who first thought of honoring the employees, was there to see his idea continued.

There was also a panel discussion centering on Le Mans in 1966 where Ford finished 1 – 2 – 3. Aaron Shelby, grandson of Carroll Shelby, and a spitting image of his grandfather, was there and you kind of wonder why he wasn’t cast in the lead role just as Dan Gurney was played on screen by, you guessed it, his son Alex.

Los Angeles Shelby Club

Don’t recognize it? Hey a lot of Shelby’s ’60s employees never saw it, but it was a mid-engined street car called the Lone Star that Shelby built. He only made one and Ford rejected it out of hand.

Los Angeles Shelby Club

The Lone Star on a used car lot many years ago.

The lead designer of the ’05-06 Ford GT, Camilo Pardo, was there, selling giclee prints of his paintings of original and current Ford GTs and his modified current model Ford GT.

Some of the group that continue to build GT350s refitting them with the original design IRS suspension, were there, calling themselves the Original Venice Crew and the work was visible right there since they build it at the former tire distributorship.

Los Angeles Shelby Club

One Shelby owner displayed the famous Shelby Mustang ad that implied the Shelby would make an Italian cry…

Making the biggest splash was Lance Stander’s Superformance company that makes replica Cobras, replica GT40s and who supplied the film company with over 20 cars, some of which came back a wee bit smaller than they went out.

Los Angeles Shelby Club

There was said to be one genuine Daytona coupe there. This might be it, in ’64 livery.

There were stories of trying to teach the movie stars not only how to drive Cobras and GT40s but, oops, how to drive a stick shift!

Some of the art work on event t-shirts was worth keeping and there were even some old artifacts (I was shocked to see some of my old glossy prints from my books, which I don’t remember selling…) The event celebrates the life of Tony Sousa, who was the Club’s secretary and historian, who traveled all over the United States in his 1965 Shelby GT 350, as an ambassador to the marque.

By far the most interesting car to me among the fifty or so Shelby related cars that showed up was one I have written about it several times but never seen it in person –the Lone Star– a mid-engined car powered by a 289. Back when I wrote my three Shelby books, I interviewed employees who worked at the LAX rented hanger but who had never seen the car, it was that secret. Shelby worked that way, if an idea was a winner, you heard about it. If it was a loser, it never happened.

According to the owner, Michael Shoen, the car was a victim of bad timing. It came out when Ford was still selling the Mk. III Ford GT and street versions of the Mk. I and here comes Shelby wanting to have Ford back a car called the Shelby Mk. V. Ford shunned it and it ended up on a used car lot.

Los Angeles Shelby Club

A Shelby Series I, Olds powered. This car almost broke Shelby but he got out from under it…

There were half a dozen real Cobras there, including a genuine Daytona coupe, and another 10 or so early Shelby Mustangs and later ones all the way up to the 2019 model. The shabby gold 427 Cobra that rolled in late still amazes people because its owner chooses to attend events with the car unrestored. He’s a guy who wants to show a barn find AS FOUND, warts and all. In a way, you can see his point, what’s the use of restoring it if something unoriginal goes on, like a paint color that was never offered. This way the treasure is shown the way it was dug up, patina and all.

Los Angeles Shelby Club

This Falcon was so hairy, it makes you wonder why they didn’t just have Shelby sell these instead of making Shelby Mustangs? But this race car may have been developed decades later…

Also interesting was a Falcon Sprint race car that looks more aggressive than a ’65 Shelby R model race car. One wonders if it looked that good back then why Ford bothered selling the Mustang version, but I also know Iacocca, in his brilliance, thought it a good way to shake the ”secretary’s car” image the Mustang had earned originally.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
 
 
 
THE AUTHOR: Ex-cowpoke Wallace Wyss is the author of three Shelby books, the most recent of which is SHELBY: The Man, the Car and the Legend. For a list of Wyss fine art prints of Shelby cars, write mendoart7@gmail.com

 
 

 

 

Summary
Los Angeles Shelby Club Celebrates Ford v Ferrari Movie With Gathering At Former Shelby Headquarters
Article Name
Los Angeles Shelby Club Celebrates Ford v Ferrari Movie With Gathering At Former Shelby Headquarters
Description
Each year for the last several years, there’s been a gathering of Shelby fans sponsored by the Los Angeles area Shelby club and this year was no exception, except that adding to this event Saturday, September 14th, was the excitement in the air of the impending nationwide release of the feature film Ford v. Ferrari.
Author

Comments

  1. Wally, Calling my ‘ol gal “Tacky”? One of 2 Hertz Gold 427 S/C’s, AND,,,The only S/C or Comp 427 with ANY original paint and unrestored. You did notice the Original Dash, Oil cooler tag, Diff cooler tag and the fact that the Original Paint(What’s left of it) GOES OUT TO ALL 4 CORNERS !!!

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