The Fifth-Annual Carroll Shelby Tribute and Car Show

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Timeless Muscle Visits the 5th-Annual Carroll Shelby Tribute and Car Show

There was no one like Carroll Shelby. He was a helluva racecar driver, a helluva business mogul, a helluva car builder, and a helluva competitor—it all made him one helluva man. It’s only fitting that Shelby American created this tribute car show in the place where it all began: Southern California. The 5th-Annual Carroll Shelby Tribute and Car Show would make him proud.

Let’s step back for a minute. When the first GT350 hit the streets in 1965, no one could have possibly imagined the type of impact it would have. But let’s face it; a solid-lifter 289 equipped ponycar, pumping out 306 horsepower that’s backed by a 4-speed, with Try-Y headers and side exhaust is bound to get someone’s attention. As the years progressed, GT350’s and GT500’s were produced until 1970. During the gas crunch of the 70’s, you couldn’t give these cars away. Then, as if by magic, muscle car enthusiasts wanted them again.

Most of the 80’s were spent spelunking in barns in the Midwest and old garages back East, unearthing treasure troves of long forgotten Shelby Mustangs—some relegated to long-time grocery-getters for decades, the owners completely unaware of the heritage that resided beneath their right foot. Restoration shops sprung out of the woodworks and a whole new industry was born.

Today, a finely restored or well-kept Shelby can fetch five or six figures on the auction block. Who knew the kind of following this car would generate over the decades? I think that’s why I love the old cars so much—their value over the years developed like finding a hidden treasure that had been under your nose the entire time. From the first generation in the sixties, to its reemergence in the mid 2000’s, the Shelby name seemed to have picked up where it left off. Needless to say, the popularity of the Shelby Mustang is as high as it’s ever been, and it continues to rise!

Carroll Shelby Enterprises in Gardena, California was filled to capacity with a selection of over 200 Shelby Mustangs, Cobras, Panteras, and even a Sunbeam Tiger! It was such a good mix of not only new and old, but of Mustangs and Shelbys. Not only did you see the traditional ’65 and ’66 GT350, but there were a few super-nice K-Code Mustangs, a well-done Eleanor convertible and a pair of GT500’s still with their original owners. If you like ’67 GT500’s that DON’T look like they were in “Gone in 60 Seconds”, then there were plenty there to look at!

The new generation of Shelbys were well represented, from Shelby GT’s, to GT500’s to GT350-R’s. Inside the building were more cars, like Cobras—including an original 1965 289 with the optional hard top, still in the hands of Hank Williams (not the singer), the original owner. Hank is now 77, and his Cobra has racked up 133,000 miles, and both are still going strong. 2006 Ford GT designer, Camilo Pardo was there signing autographs, and selling Ford and Shelby-themed fine art.

Also attending was none other than Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, who brought his GT500 Super Snake drag car as well as the Top Fuel rail car he campaigned with Shelby back in ’68. The show was topped off with VP Gary Patterson unveiling the 2017 Shelby F-150 Super Snake, and 2017 Super Snake widebody. The 5th-Annual Carroll Shelby Tribute and Car Show shows no signs of slowing down, and we’re looking for next year to be even better!

In 1965, the color options for the GT350 consisted of “any color you want, as long as it’s white with blue stripes.” Thankfully, the next year the color options were greatly expanded upon. This Ivy Green and white ’66 GT350 is a fine example.


Not only is Camilo Pardo a world-class car designer, but he’s also a world-class artist. If you want to see some nice Shelbys captured in fine art, this is the man who can do it.


J Bittle wowed everyone with his real ’68 Trans Am notchback. Powered by Ford’s rare 302 “Tunnelport” engine, it clearly won the “Loudest Exhaust” award!


Looking for a ’67 GT500? Take your pick!


Not only did J Bittle bring an awesome Trans Am Mustang, but he also brought his ’67 GT500 that he paid $800 for to drive to high school! This Shelby is a driver, and definitely gets driven! With a 427 side-oiler under the hood, and backed by a Tremec 5-speed, J drove this beast from San Diego to Gardena for the show!


Don “The Snake” Prudhomme was there with his Super Snake. Prudhomme and Shelby have a long history together as Don drove a Top Fuel rail car for Shelby (it’s behind the Super Snake).


Is it a GT500? Maybe a California Special? Nope. It’s Shelby’s experimental EXP 500, otherwise known as “The Green Hornet.” Special items include a fuel-injected 428 Cobra Jet and independent rear suspension. Even though it never made it to production, some of the design features actually did inspire the California Special.


How about a 62,000-mile ’69 GT500 still in the hands of the original owner, Mike Wren.


Shelby American continues to crank out new vehicles like this Super Snake widebody.


One of the more well-known “Original Owner” vehicles is Hank Williams and his ’65 289 Cobra. Hank is always a crowd favorite.


There was plenty of new muscle on-hand.


For those not familiar with Ford engine codes, “K” is for their High Performance 289, which served as the basis for the ’65-67 GT350 engine. This particular ’65 fastback is a K-Code, but the original solid-lifter 289 was swapped out in favor of a Boss 302. It may not be original, but we’ll bet it’s still plenty fun to drive!


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