|CE:: There are people, fans if you will, who consider
Carroll Shelby a legend. Do you feel like a living legend?
Shelby: No . . . I feel the best is yet to come, though I have mixed feelings about building another car. I've still got all the good people that were responsible for building the cars the last time. They're still with me, we're 15 years older than we were, we know the mistakes we made, but the question is do we really want to do it again? We get together about once every week or two, crack a bottle of wine, and talk about it, but I just don't know if we want to get back into it.
CE:: What's stopping you?
Shelby:: The same thing that stopped us back in 1970, all the Federal crap, and the atrocious laws that have been passed in the past 10 years. Before I would consider getting back into it, we would have to see if the Federal government is serious about lifting some of those really stupid laws, that is, if they want the automobile business to survive. That's not to say that I'm in favor of polluting the environment, but I don't think you can clean it up by squeezing cars into little boxes with four wheels, because you are going to get pollution from some other source. We saw it coming in 1969 and that's when we backed away from the business of building cars, and when DeTomaso took over with the Ford planners.
CE:: Are you saying that when the Shelby Mustang program ended, the Pantera was the heir apparent?
Shelby:: Kind of, but the timing wasn't right for the Pantera. I feel it was a very fine sport car, in spite of the fact that the rear ends fell out sometimes, and all the other problems they had with it. The Pantera could have been a very fine replacement for the Shelbys.
CE: But Ford had a hard time with the AC Cobras too.
Shelby: Sure the Cobra had problems. The first two we built, we took before the top brass at Ford, and they didn't make one lap around the test track before the radiators blew up. They were awfully hot cars, but they could go like hell.
CE:: At the onset of the Cobra program, dealers couldn't sell them
Shelby:: Yeah at the beginning, they were knocking $2000 off the sticker price to get them off the floor, but by the time we had the 427s out, the cars were selling just fine. In fact, we could have built a thousand more than we did and sold every one of them.
CE:: Why didn't you?
Shelby:: It was time to move on with the G.T. 350 program.
CE:: There's a big demand for AC Cobras today. Those same cars that sold for $7500 are bring $70,000 today, and there is a growing market for replicas of the AC Cobra.
Shelby:: Now you look at those idiots out there, building replicas of a car that's 20 years old, that leaked in the rain, was hot to drive, and generally uncomfortable. When I quit building them, I think that as just about as many as the world needed. The fact that the car won the World Championship probably created an image, and that's what people remember today, not the car. It was the fastest street car in the world, but you think about that today, with the 55 mph speed limit. I mean where are you going to drive it? These cars were built to run at a hundred eighty, hundred ninety - what good are they if you can't get out of second or third gear? Most people don't want to make watch fobs out of them, or can't afford to.