Of all the places on the planet, your boss has sent you to a convention in Las Vegas and you’re stuck in one of the hotels on The Strip, but you’re a car guy or gal, and the gambling and glitter hold no interest for you. And on top of that, the car collection at the Linq (nee Imperial Palace) has closed.
Fret not, friend. Simply head south on The Strip. Just past Mandalay Bay you’ll see the famous Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Just a little farther south and a couple of blocks to the west you can find yourself at 6405 Ensworth Street, headquarters of Shelby American and home to the Shelby Heritage Center.
You may remember that the Shelby workshop and museum used to be located way up north of town, adjacent to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but Shelby American moved to this much-more-convenient location in 2013.
The facility includes the museum-like heritage center that showcases Shelby cars and shares the story of America’s version of Enzo Ferrari, racer turned racing-team manager turned car builder for the road and for the track.
There’s also a big window through which you can see Shelby American employees working their magic to transform the performance of Ford Mustangs and F-150 pickup trucks, and at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, there are free guided tours that include a trip beyond that window for a closer visit into the huge garage.
Speaking of free, there’s neither an admission fee nor a parking charge at the facility, which is open from 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sundays, though there is a huge and well-stocked gift shop with everything from T-shirts and jackets to model cars and neon clocks.
Oh, and if you so desire, the staff will help you make arrangements to buy one of the real Shelby Mustangs or Raptors or other vehicles the company produces.
Since Ford has made the Mustang a global vehicle, Shelby has set up a workshop in Europe and another in Australia to do Mustang conversions for those markets. Shelby American also has a facility in Elkhart, Indiana, where it does even more pickup trucks, such is the demand for souped-up pickups in the U.S. of A.
But if you want to experience the Shelby story up close, you need to visit the heritage center in Las Vegas.