HomeCar CultureCarroll Shelby tribute

Carroll Shelby tribute


Photos by Howard Koby

Ten years ago, Carroll Shelby coordinated the blueprints for a museum to celebrate his place in automotive history and left implicit instructions to only proceed with the project after his death. On May 16, 2014, the plans were unveiled to a select few at the VIP Founders preview of the Shelby Automotive Museum in Gardena, California.

According to Joe Conway, co-chief executive of Shelby International, the museum will be ready in about a year, but on May 17, the Shelby Tribute and Car Show greeted 100s of “Shelbyphiles” and their GT350s, GT500s, Mustangs and Cobras of all eras at the future home of the museum for an exciting day of gathering of car aficionados.

Carroll Shelby is the only person to win Le Mans as a driver, team owner and manufacturer. His Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe (CSX 2229) ended the reign of Ferrari’s GTO in that race with drivers Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant clocking over 196 mph on the Mulsanne Straight on their way to winning the GT III Class in 1964. The highlight of the show was the actual Cobra Daytona Coupe that Gurney and Bondurant drove at Le Mans, loaned to the show by the Miller family and their Miller Motorsports Park Museum in Utah.

Bondurant was on hand, signing posters and talking to fans while panelists Lynn Park (“Mr. Cobra”), film producer Lucas Foster, Shelby’s grandson Aaron Shelby, writer C. Van Tune and A. J. Baime (author of “Go Like Hell”) had a panel discussions that brought out how Shelby vehicles and their mythology left their mark in pop culture and the “game-changing milestones” from Shelby’s iconic accomplishments influenced the car culture.

The sunny afternoon included a wine and beer garden, a Texas-style chili bar (Carroll’s love for good chili), and at 1 p.m. PDT a worldwide “Rev Your Engine” salute honoring the life of Carroll Shelby.

The colorful sights and sounds of Shelby machines were mesmerizing to the many Shelby enthusiasts and spectators who want to keep the true Shelby spirit alive for many years to come.

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Howard Koby
Howard Koby
Howard graduated with honors from the Art Center College of Design in California. He has been a photographer and automotive journalist for 35 years out of his Los Angeles studio. He has been published in Hot Rod, AutoWeek, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Jaguar Journal, Forza, Vintage Motorsport, Classic Motorsports, Robb Report, Motor Trend Classic, Hemmings Muscle Machines, and 50 Years of Road & Track (MBI Publishing). He has served on the Advisory Committee of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design. He is the author of the books Top Fuel Dragsters of the 1970s and Pro Stock Dragsters of the 1970s, both available on


  1. The Founders Preview was a marvelous event that Carroll would have been proud of. After seeing the ambitious plans, I can attest the museum will be a fitting tribute to the man who is arguably the greatest race car driver and builder of all time.

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