Steve's Shelby Story
"I bought my first Shelby in 1977. I was driving in Visalia and met a guy coming into town in a red '67 GT500 towing a Brittany Blue '67 GT350 on an open trailer. Later, I got a call from a couple of buddies who said the GT350 was at the Visalia Ford dealership. Every night I would pick my mom up from work and, on the way home, we would stop so I could look at this Shelby. I just fell in love with it. It wasn't for sale but I couldn't have afforded it anyway.
"Turned out the Ford dealer didn't really own the car. The guy who owned it was a friend of his and he was just storing it for him. Eventually, the guy decided to sell the car and we ended up putting a deal together. I had to put a second mortgage on our house. I still own the car today.
"About three years ago, I got a call from David Adams, the original owner. He had found a shoebox with some of his old memories, including paperwork for the Shelby. His father had bought the car for him as a graduation gift. When I bought the car, it was supercharged and I always thought it was factory. He said it was factory. Subsequently, it was authenticated through a document that SAAC found.
"Every time I talked to him, he had another story to tell: 'Have I mentioned that I raced this car at the IHRA nationals in 1969? I won First Place in the Pure Stock class. I still have the trophy.'
"He also told me that he blew up the engine. I don't know that I wanted to hear that. Then he told me that he had a special engine built for it. On the phone, I could hear papers rattling as he dug through the shoebox. He said, 'Here's the paperwork. Oh yeah, it came from Holman-Moody.'
"His son was now grown and they wanted to come to Barrett-Jackson to see the car. So the car was picked up in California and brought to Scottsdale. I asked Carroll Shelby if he could stick around to meet David and his son. We had the whole thing choreographed so it could be filmed for our Life on the Block TV show. We pulled up to the car and the owner introduced himself and his son.
"He started talking about how he remembered things, like the Hurst shifter instead of a factory shifter. Then he asked me to open the truck, and there was the drag racing trophy. He had brought it with him in his carry-on luggage. He'd found the car before I got there and arranged to put the trophy in the trunk. He pulled one over on me.
"Not long afterward, I got a call from one of my buddies in Visalia. He had been at the local car show and met a girl who had a Shelby for sale. He was thinking it was the red GT500 that pulled my car into town in 1977. Turned out, she was the daughter of the guy who trailered my car with the GT500. He had passed away and she got the car as an inheritance.
"She said she had a picture of my car on a trailer behind the red GT500. Turns out that the picture was taken by her father on the same day that I saw him driving into Visalia from Indiana. That's just scary good."