Somewhere floating around my home – I believe the upstairs loft, is a somewhat faded picture of a boy in a suit, sitting in the driver’s seat of a British Racing Green 1963 Jaguar E-Type. He has a slight shy smile. It was my 16th birthday, and my father asked me what I would like.
I wanted to rent an E-Type and enjoy it all day. Even called rental companies in the Bay Area to no avail. I guess I was a bit naïve, although Hertz was renting the Shelby GT-350, so why not? There are many stories about that, including the time a customer returned one minus the Shelby-prepared 289 engine and put in some wheezy tired 289 from a pedestrian Ford station wagon.
Needless to say, Hertz didn’t make any money on its “weekend racer”. But it became a legend, so much so that Ford made a commemorative GT350H a few years ago.
I’ve been to a few automotive museums – one, in Danville, is probably world renowned. They have for example one of the 6 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadsters. They have a limousine – very rare – made in the People’s Republic of China used only for high dignitaries like Mao. As far as I know, it is the only one of the handful made that the Chinese let out of the country.
I have tried to get to the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. Every time I have been through there it has either been closed as normal or closed for remodeling.
If I find myself in Stuttgart (BTW did you know this town is named from older German meaning “Stud Farm? – hence the Porsche logo) – but if there, and I don’t spend a few days to see the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche Museums, take away my gearhead card.
I don’t deserve it.
But I have never been to a museum in which every single automotive exhibit – every one – is a car I would lust to have!
That would be the Cobra Experience in Martinez, CA. And it is in an unlikely place – in the back of an industrial park on the 2nd floor.
With the news that within the last few days Carroll Shelby’s personal 1965 427 Cobra just sold at auction for almost $6 million, and the very first production Cobra of his collection sold for – gasp – $14 million, and the fact that your correspondent (Lex seemed to have inspired quite a few humble correspondents!), tired of this COVID-19 lifestyle, is visiting the Cobra Museum tomorrow (the one day of the month it is open!), thought I’d opine a bit on this crazy market.
Like virtually all iconic cars, the Cobra was the inspiration of one man. The Corvette had Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL had Rudi Uhlenhaut, and the Cobra had….Carroll Shelby.
Technically speaking, Duntov wasn’t the father of the Corvette, it being born in 1953 as the brainchild of GM making a show car. But Duntov gave it the performance. And I have previously written about the history of the 300SL “Gullwing”.
Prior to seeing the movie Ford vs Ferrari, I had known a bit about Carroll Shelby and Shelby American. I grew up during that time.
Posted by lex, on December 20, 2007
A little something for everyone in retired army general Barry McCAffrey’s AAR on Iraq, as hosted by Michael Yon.
Reader’s Digest version:
- Violence is way down. Stopping asking if it’s really true and start asking why.
- AQI is badly beaten but Simply. Won’t. Die. Except when we kill them. Which is lots.
- IA are actually surprisingly good and the IP are getting better.
- The central government is teh suxXor.
- The people are miserable, but the economy is improving.
- There are endemic problems that only the Iraqis will be able to solve.
- They’ll still need our help.
- Rummy was teh suxXor too but Gates Rulez!
- Army needs more sojers. To help us bring them home.
- This might actually work.
- On the other hand, it might not.
Back To The Index
I have to admit, I have a bit of a compulsive nature. Ever since I saw the movie Ford v Ferrari and posted about it, I have been interested in learning more about specifically Shelby American and their cars.
And I’m even more amazed at what this small company achieved in international racing.
This Netflix documentary really covers it all. With narration from Shelby, his sons and grandsons, Edsel Ford and his son, Henry Ford III, Peter Brock…the list goes on and on.
The other day while waiting for my car to be serviced and browsing in the showroom, I had an epiphany. George Carlin would have loved it.
I was looking at this car capable of 200 mph and then thinking of our clogged and pot-holed freeways. It seems that the faster engineers can make cars go – and relatively safely unless the driver is a complete dolt or just out of luck, the slower the roads get.
Finding a Good Service Writer at a Dealer
I’ve had a few interesting experiences in the last couple of days that I thought worth sharing.
Last night I was asked to drive a friend’s new luxury car to the airport to pick up a relative of his.
This car on the one hand is amazing — an engine that has twin turbochargers – less than 5 liters (4 or so) and about 450 horsepower. Zero to 60 in a bit over 4 seconds despite weighing 5,000-6,000 lbs. When you floor it your back really gets pushed into the seat.
A bit on Carroll Shelby
In my car club, we have someone whom I would call a character and a free spirit. There are a number of stories about him, but the one I will mention tonight involves a claim of his of some years ago.
Tony casually told me that he had a dinner with Dan Gurney, Phil Hill, and Carroll Shelby.
You can imagine what I thought about that.
This condition activated the Check Engine Light while driving down the mountain from Sequoia.
It seems that I have one more thing to
milk tell about my recent 3 day trip, and this may help you in the near – or distant – future.
Despite taking obvious preventative measures, when you have a car that is 23 years old….things can happen. That is, unless one is willing to replace every electronic or moving component in the car. Even then, brand new cars have been known to break down on the road. Because while the engineers know what MTBF (Mean Time Between Failure) each component may have, there are statistical deviations between the norm.
Growing up first in Los Angeles in the 50s, then further up in the Central Valley, I used to wait with anticipation for October. And Los Angeles was/is the center of the car culture.
There probably wouldn’t be a Porsche today without Southern California. In their early days, more Porsches were sold in Los Angeles than Germany.
And after less than 3 years, when the 300SL “Gullwing” took the world by storm at the New York Auto show, The original 300SL – a race car made to a street version, became a roadster because of the demands of the Southern California market.