5 Shelbys to add to your race stable during Monterey Car Week
Carroll Shelby’s influence in racing can’t be overstated. His racing teams scored victories on the track against some of the best names in the industry. His restyled and tuned Mustangs created a sensation on the street, and the Cobra is nothing short of iconic no matter where it’s driven. Shelby infused his performance philosophy into numerous road-going cars as well as several track-only racers, many of which have become highly sought-after by collectors. Here are some Shelbys we’ll be keeping an eye on during Monterey Car Week that would be welcome additions to any Shelby collector’s stable.
1990 Shelby Can-Am Racing Single Seater
Shelby developed this single-seat racer as part of a racing class he designed to be relatively affordable. The series lasted for six seasons starting in 1991. This sprightly racer, with its front wheels protruding slightly through its wedge-shaped body, uses a Dodge pushrod V-6 engine good for 275 horsepower. That lightweight and powerful 3.3-liter was built by engine guru Ed Pink, although the listing does admit that car has not seen the track in nearly 10 years, so it may be worth a check to see that Mr. Pink’s work is still in order.
With a presale estimate of of $30,000–$50,000, this may be one of the most affordable ways to get a real Shelby racer for track-day antics.
The ultimate Cobra, and surely the most replicated, has got to be the 427-powered version. With its flared fenders and wider rubber, the 427 Cobra shows it means business and can reward those brave enough to push it to its limits. This example, CSX3205, has been in the same collection for 37 years and has a well-documented history including some interesting paint and accessory choices over the decades. Fear not—it’s much more restrained now and is wears some period-correct S/C upgrades along with its magnificent blue paint with white stripes. It was the recent recipient of a full restoration by Mike McClusky and shows just 29,000 miles.
If you want to get behind the wheel of a Shelby GT350R at a historic race, this storied example might be the one for you. Ordered from a Tasca Ford dealership in Rhode Island, this 1965 model was raced throughout its life, scoring victories in SCCA events across the nation, including the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca. It does have some crashes in its history, though, and the damage was so extensive it was apparently considered for a full rebody. While that overhaul was never completed, we’re not sure how much of the original body is left, so consider the repairs closely and decide where you stand on the Ship of Theseus paradox. On the other hand, if you do consider buying and racing this legend, you wouldn’t be the first to scuff a quarter panel.
Lauded as the “winningest Shelby ever,” this race pony helped its first owner, Roger West, capture the SCCA Southeast Divisional Championship in 1967 before Charlie Kemp purchased the car and continued its dominating run, winning 17 straight races between 1968 and 1969. This beauty is also credited with being the fastest 289-powered Shelby on record, including the Cobra, when it clocked in at 184 mph at Daytona. This same car sold for $984,500 in 2014 when we judged it to be in #3 (Good) condition but has since been the recipient of a full restoration in 2020 by John Brown of Thoroughbred Restorations. Now it’s ready to be the jewel of any SCCA or Shelby collection.
2004 Shelby Cobra Concept
We’ve written about this car before and it is certainly a special part of the Shelby history even though it never made it to production. Designed by Ford as a reimagining of the Shelby Cobra, with input from Shelby himself, this composite and aluminum creation is powered by a DOHC V-10 and was never intended to be sold to the public. Carroll Shelby drove this one-of-one creation and gave journalists some thrilling rides in California after it was unveiled to the media at Detroit’s 2004 North American International Auto Show. Ford disabled the car before it was sold to former Ford vice president of product development, Chris Theodore. Theodore got it roadworthy and is now offering this unique piece of Ford and Shelby history for sale.