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I'm Goin' to Disneyland! Mecum Sold Some Rare Real-deal Shelbys for as Little as $1,300 in Anaheim

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On: Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 11:29AM | By: Andrew W Davis

I'm Goin' to Disneyland! Mecum Sold Some Rare Real-deal Shelbys for as Little as $1,300 in Anaheim

What does the serious Shelby collector do once he’s scratched all the usual itches? Cobras? You’ve got at least one each of the 260s, 289s, 427s, and 428s. Mustangs? You’ve got a garage full of G.T. 350s of every stripe (including at least one real-deal “R”) and a field full of G.T. 500s, open and shut, “KR” and not. Heck, you’ve even got the Holy Grail of Shelbys in your stable, a one-of-nearly-none Cobra Daytona Coupe.

Well, my friend, as Mecum’s recent auction in Anaheim shows, there’s a whole ‘nother volume in the Encyclopedia of Shelby, and—if you act right now—you can build yet another collection of that wily Texan’s wares for a relative song.

Well, that, and a MUCH bigger building…

[Cars are listed in sales price order, highest to lowest. Model info set within quotations is taken directly from the auction company’s own information, printed, online or otherwise. All vehicles featured at Mecum’s Anaheim, CA, auction, Nov. 21-23, 2013.]

F253 “1999 Shelby Series 1” [sale price: $78,500]

“Clean CarFax; 1 of 249 ever produced; 2,560 actual miles as documented on title; Factory Burgundy; Oldsmobile 320 HP V-8 engine; 6-speed transmission”

Ah, the ShelsmobileTM [trademarked by the author, um… now!]. If you wanted to know what the Cobra would look like if it was born in the near-2000s, well, this is it. They say a camel is a horse designed by committee, and this is Shelby’s very own dromedary. There’s a huge volume of info as to why it turned out this way, but here are the more salient bits: It has an Oldsmobile engine because Olds alone would provide engines, and the ones they provided just couldn’t give the Series 1 the go-fast promised by its somewhat-sexy looks; “just” 249 were built because the Series 1’s MSRP kept rising until it rivaled that of the 1960s space program despite the fact that it was filled with off-the-shelf GM parts wherever possible; and—most importantly—nobody wanted to pay that kind of money for an underperforming, overweight, Olds-engined car, Shelby “cachet” or no. Still, I found my “loaner” Series 1 the near-ideal painter of “11”s up and down Northern California’s more secluded straightaways, so I suppose that has to be worth something. And, heck, who knows? In 20 years this near-$80 grand price might seem a bargain the way 1960s Cobras were unsalable used car dealer “beaters” in the gas-crisis 1970s. [Author’s note: Do NOT hold your breath…]

F258 “1968 Ford Mustang California Special” [sale price: $17,000]

“Factory air conditioning, Selectaire; California Special; C4 Cruise-O-Matic transmission; White sidewall tires; Power steering; AM radio; Tinted glass; Deluxe belts wheels covers; One of 47; Marti Report”

OK, herein lies another story, although this one is much simpler. Heck, it’s happening right now! Ford, you see, knew that the Shelby name meant something to performance car folks—and people who want to be performance car folks but lack the coin to do it for real—so bingo, bango, bongo, you slap some Shelby-ish stuff on a “regular” sporty Mustang and imply its Mr. Shelby’s doing—Shelby American was owned by Ford by 1968—with the cryptic “GT/CS” lettering and you have… um, an underperforming—sales- and speed-wise—Mustang with some near-unobtanium trim bits that are worth more than the car itself will bring at auction (especially with what looks like an inline-6 engine instead of a “standard” V8, fog lamps in the wrong place, etc...). Still, it’s the cheapest presentable ’68 Shelby(ish) Mustang you’re ever gonna find, and everybody’s Shelby collection’s got to start somewhere…

F2151999 Dodge Shelby Durango” [sale price: $14,250]

“Clean CarFax; Only 300 made by Carroll Shelby #64 production; Off the market [sic]22" wheels; Rare to find; 2 new front tires”

Officially known as the “Dodge Durango Shelby SP360”, this almost-always supercharged, four-wheeler (poseurs could order the exterior look-fast without the internal go-fast), is even more modern-Ford-like in its use of Ol’ Shel’s name than the ’68 California Special. Story goes that nobody at pre-SRT Chrysler would OK a 360-horsepower supercharged Durango—go figure—until someone got the bright idea to ask Mr. Shelby to tack his name on the contraption. So with his permission—gained in no small part by a very large check—Dodge’s internal performance skunk works stuck “Shelby” into its “Durango Super Pursuit 360” name where you see it now. But don’t let this fool you: they packed everything they could get their hands on into this beast, including a Kenne-Bell supercharged 5.9-liter V8, Stillen six-pot disc brakes and a complete interior revamp (including Cerullo racing seats, for criminy’s sake) and a complete exterior makeover in any color you liked as long as it was Viper Blue with white stripes, just like, well, the Viper. That this beast sold for less than a used Honda Accord both saddens and gladdens me. It’s sad that nobody appreciates these things for the powerhouses they are, but thanks to that lack of appreciation, the prices seem to be staying down where we mere mortals can afford this two-year-only (1999-2000) wonder. [Kudos, by the way, to this lot’s buyer; you freaking stole this thing and you know it. I hate—and yet admire—you for it….]

F229 “1989 Dodge Shelby Ram Van” [sale price: $1,300]

“This is a rare Shelby Van; 1 of 100 made, this is #30; California vehicle; Fuel injected 360 V-8; Unrestored driver with cold air conditioning; Working factory stereo and power windows; Only 103,000 miles”

Welcome to the pièce de sh… résistance of the “Shelby did what?!?” wing of your collection, bought at the bargain price of less than the Tech Package upgrade on a modern Mustang GT. Personally, I’d park it front and center—in the lobby even—to show just how far the Shelby name has rebounded since its labels and logos were slathered all over this heap. My only conclusion is that between heart troubles, heart-trouble charities, and heart-stopping chili seasonings the idea of just yelling “A Shelby Van? What’s my end? OK, fine! Now get out!” seems the most likely scenario. [I personally was more shocked to find they were even making full-sized “family” vans like this in 1989.] So what did your $1,300 buy you? Some stripes, some labels, and various accoutrements that will pose more questions than they answer. [“Fuel Injected” cut into the fender decals on a van that didn’t come any other way? Was that sporty in ’89?] Still, it’s the cheapest way to get into—and laughed out of—the Shelby Owners’ Club…

Anyway, as we all know now, “Shelby” is a name to be feared and respected once again. Sure, there were a few (mostly Mopar-related) speed bumps in the road to today, but he—and we—made it through those dark days anyway.

So lift your glasses, ladies and gents, and give a final toast to the man who could make any car more powerful, better-handling, faster, and sexier just by putting his name on it. Don’t believe me? Just ask him…

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