The annual Shelby American Collection Car Show proudly demonstrates half a century of incredible racing heritage.
This past weekend, we at TFL Car were treated to a special event right in our back yard. That event was the annual Shelby American Collection car show. The non-profit museum is dedicated to the legacy of Carroll Shelby and Ford’s racing heritage. Here, enthusiasts can journey through over fifty years of automotive history encapsulated within some of the most valuable and significant cars in the world. Shelby American Collection President Steve Volk recounts some of Shelby’s history in the video above.
The collection itself is amazing, but what set this weekend apart was the array of collector’s cars gathered outside the museum. Various collectors from all over flocked to this event, showcasing their own pieces of Shelby history. Models ranging from the iconic GT40 and Cobra to the latest Ford GT were on offer. To commemorate the event, here are five remarkable cars from the Shelby American Collection car show.
1. 1962 Shelby Cobra (CSX 2000)
This is the daddy of all Shelby cars. This is the prototype Cobra, dubbed CSX 2000. In 1961, Carroll Shelby accosted AC Cars of England, asking them if they could modify their Ace two-seater roadster to house a V8 engine. AC agreed, and Shelby approached Ford for a suitable engine. Ford’s engine paired to AC’s lightweight chassis and body design proved to be a brilliant combination. Shelby continued to develop the Cobra over the years, culminating in the Mark III in the mid-to-late 60s, housing a massive 7.0-liter V8 engine. What you see here, however, is genesis. This car kicked off a tradition that is still alive in Ford models today. So valuable is this car, in fact, that it sold for a record-breaking $13.5 million last year.
2. 1953 Allard J2X
Before the historic AC Cobra came to fruition, Carroll Shelby was a racing driver. He raced this 1953 Allard J2X for Roy Cherryholmes, a Texas businessman. In 1953, Shelby competed to win 9 out of 10 races. The next season, Shelby raced 1,000 kilometers in Argentina and caught the attention of Aston Martin team manager John Wyer. Powered by a 331 cubic-inch Cadillac V8, the J2X allegedly served as Shelby’s inspiration for the Cobra.
3. Ford GT40 (GT40 P/1015 pictured)
Based on the Lola Mark 6, the GT40 was built to take on Ferrari at Le Mans after it snubbed Ford’s attempt to buy the brand. Henry Ford II focused his rage toward building a Ferrari-beater on the endurance racing circuit. In 1966, a Mark II GT40 like the one pictured above delivered Ford his first major victory over Ferrari. Not only that, but other versions of the GT40 clocked up wins in 1967, 1968 and 1969. The GT40’s significance to Shelby American cannot be understated, as this car represented the first victory for an American manufacturer at a European race in four decades.
4. 2005 Ford GT
So significant is Shelby’s and the GT40’s heritage that echoes of those glory days have lingered on. In 2005, Ford marketed the GT for the 21st century. This car was designed in anticipation of Ford’s 100 years in business, and paid respect to the endurance-crushing GT40s of yesteryear. The GT40 is similar in appearance to the racing cars of the 60s, save slightly larger dimensions. This car’s appearance in the Shelby American Collection show adds modern flavor to the legacy brought forth by Shelby and cars like the GT40.
5. 2017 Ford GT
Keeping with modern flavor, this car was a sight to behold. As the only new GT in the state of Colorado, this car was a sensation to all attendees. Like the original GT, this new car also marks an automotive milestone – this one being 50 years since the GT40 won the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans. While this car looks to the future and shies away from the massive V8s endemic to GT40s, this car is still an excellent reminder of Shelby’s racing heritage and a delightful way to round out this annual auto show.