|CE: Then why are there so many replicas?
Shelby: If a man really wants to build a car today, why would he copy the Cobra? There isn't one company out there that's making any money at it. Not even the guy in England that AC gave the Shelby American tooling to.
CE: You're really down on Cobra replicas.
Shelby: I'm not down on them. All you have to do is sit down and realize what it cost last time, what it will cost this time, and honestly put all your costs in there, instead of bs-ing yourself, which most of these people are doing because they are enthusiasts, and not car builders. They would all like to become big automobile manufacturers, but let me tell you, Carroll Shelby never made any money on the AC Cobras either.
CE: Alright, your point is well taken, but then doesn't it seem contradictory to turn around and build 12 G.T. 350s?
Shelby: I'm doing it for a different reason. I never got to keep one of the cars. They were all sold while I was out of the country racing. I built them and didn't even own, one. I decided last year that the only way I was going to have one, the way I wanted it, was to build the car again.
CE: Obviously, you couldn't build new cars from the ground up, but you're saying these 12 are 1982 models of the 1965 car, and they are not replicas?
Shelby: They're original. What we did was find enough '65 Mustangs to meet our needs, and order out just about 95% of the parts, brand spanking new from Ford dealers and parts service. We got new fenders, chassis, brakes, engines, etc. There are a few things we had to find used, like the pedals, steering wheels, things that just are not available any longer. In fact, most of the parts we bought, to make these cars, are not even available any longer. We built them from the ground up, just like we did in '65.
|CE: How do you think your 12 GT 350
convertibles will be positioned in value against the original cars you built?
Shelby: I only built six convertibles originally, and two of those have been destroyed. I don't know how these cars will really be positioned in the market, because I didn't build them to get back in the car business. 1 contacted a couple of people in the Shelby Automotive Club, and said I was going to build 12 cars, and I wanted to sell eight of them. I had a hundred offers, so the first eight got the cars. Selling those eight paid for the four I'm keeping.
CE: With that many people interested, why don't you build more?
Shelby: Nope. That's it. Just 12. 1 didn't build them to get back into the automotive business. I did it because I wanted the car, and because the first G. T. 350 was the best Cobra, while the chassis was the size it was in '65 and '66. After that it kind of went to hell. The car got too big. We knew in '67 that we were in for trouble if we tried to make as fast a handling car as the '65. If. you remember, that's also when we got out of racing. I worked with Ford on later cars, but they really were not mine. I called Don Delarosa, the number two man in styling at Ford and said to him, "What are we going to do with the '67?" So, Carroll Shelby didn't design the '67, '68, or '69 cars. I worked with Don's designers, but they weren't mine alone.
CE: What about the Mustang GTCS, or California Special?
Shelby: That was Lee Iacocca's idea. He said, "Hey, we've got this fiberglass coming off the line on the '67, why don't we run off 5000 cars at the San Jose plant and stick that stuff on them. Give them a California look. There's been a lot of criticism for that.