For anyone who loves the automobile the Shelby Heritage Center is a required stop for those who might find themselves in Las Vegas. This is the headquarters of Shelby American, so not only does it contain a museum of all things Shelby, but it also houses the manufacturing facilities for all of the cool products that Shelby is still building today.
If you go, try to hook up with one of the guided tours that are offered a couple of times a day. The guide who showed us the different cars on display and took us out into the shop area was extremely knowledgeable. Anytime you go to any kind of touristy area, you can’t beat a guide who knows their history. The history of Carroll Shelby and the various cars he is responsible for bringing into this world is a fascinating history indeed.
The Shelby Heritage Center is a museum and a manufacturing facility. It is the headquarters for Shelby American.
The Museum is full of Cobras, Mustangs and a few Chryslers. Each one is special in some way.
CSX2000. The very first Cobra completed by Carroll Shelby. This one car alone is worth seeing because of the significance to the history of auto racing.
CSX2000 had a 260 ci V8 from Ford of course, and was ground breaking in that it combined the great handling and nimbleness of a European sports car with the muscle of an American V8
This original Cobra is completely unrestored and all original which makes it completely amazing. Every one of those tears in the seats has some kind of story to tell.
The first cobra was built in 1962.
That dash is classic British design so it looks like so many other British sports cars from that era.
Even the tires on CSX2000 are original. If not the first set of tires installed on this car, they are certainly from that time period. One of the employees at the museum mentioned that he had the pleasure of taking this car out on the track once and the tires are so old and hard that the car really like to slide around. This is just fine however, as long as they don’t wear these tires out.
The original Shelby Cobra badge that incorporated the AC logo. This badge was only used on a the first few cars produced.
The AC logo on one of the original wheel knock-offs on CSX2000
The early Cobras with the 260 or the 289 were narrower looking than the later 427 models. Many believe these are the better looking Cobras. I might agree.
Shelby Daytona Coupe replica. Built between 1964 and 1965 to race in Europe when the Cobra was not the right platform. Only six original Daytona Coupes were built so the chances that you will see a real one are slim unless you know where to go. This is a really nice reproduction however, and looks just like the real thing.
The iconic Ford 289 V8 powered the Daytonas.
The Daytona Coupe took first place at Le Man in 1964. The closed cockpit made it superior to the Cobra on the Circuit de la Sarthe where the 24 hours of Le Mans was held because of the high speeds on the long Mulsanne straight. The Cobra could not keep up with the Ferraris but the Daytona could.
The part of the Daytona most familiar to the Ferrari drivers.
The Shelby Series 1.
The 4.0 supercharged V8 sources from Oldsmobile used in the Series 1
The Series 1 is the only clean slate production car built by Shelby. The car was produced in low quantities from 1999 to 2005.
Shelby Cobra 427 S/C with twin Superchargers.
Two Paxton Superchargers and a 427 V8 make this thing a real monster.
Shelby built one of these twin-supercharged Cobras for his friend Bill Cosby. Cosby drove the car one time and was so frightened by the monstrosity of it all that he made Shelby take it back. He used the story for a comedy bit called 200 MPH.
Who could be afraid of this?
On the tour
The original cobra bodies were hand made from aluminum. When polished they look very nice.
A Cobra built to run on hydrogen
Shelby American still builds the Cobra as a rolling chassis. You can put your own engine in it. This is a 50th anniversary edition built in 2012.
Cobras, Cobras, Cobras
and more Cobras.
The original Shelby Mustangs are as desirable as the Cobras. Since Ford and Shelby were so close back in the 60’s. Ford had Shelby give his special treatment to the Mustang beginning in 1965. These are some of the greatest Mustangs ever built.
The Shelby GLHS was based on the Dodge Omni. This seems strange until your realize that Shelby’s longtime friend Lee Iacocca was in charge of Chrysler and asked his old friend if he could breathe some life in the Dodge line-up of cars and trucks. First they built the Dodge Omni GLH as a performance model. GLH stands for “Goes Like Hell.” Later Shelby built the GLHS “Goes Like Hell S’more” and put his own name on it. This little turbo 4 cylinder was good for about 175 HP and had a 0-60 time of 6.5 seconds.
The Dodge Shelby Charger from 1986, and the Shelby Dakota from 1989. Chrysler products from the 80’s have almost no desirability but if they have the Shelby name on them they definitely have some street cred.
The Shelby Focus ST. 252 turbocharged horse power along with numerous suspension and steering tweaks to make this car a track star.
A wide-body Shelby GT.
The Super Snake lives on with this modern modified GT500.
This 2013 Super Snake is good for about 850 supercharged HP.
Terlingua Racing Team started as a joke between Shelby and some of his friends. At least one car raced under this name and did very well. Most of the rest of the time you see this rabbit it’s just for fun.
The Shelby 1000 is the top of the line Shelby. This car has all the modifications to make it an extreme machine. How does an 1100 HP Mustang sound?
Out in the shop
Out on the production floor. You can bring your Mustang to Shelby and let them work their magic, or you can order the entire package through your Ford dealership.
The new old Cobras that are still hand built.
Another Super Snake ready to go.
The finished product.
The red car in the back was a Shelby 1000 in the process of being brought to life.
Where cool stuff is born
A big blower peaking out above the engine on that car.
Shelby himself liked to autograph all the cars that bore his name so they let all those who take the tour sign the walls of the shop. My name is there on the wall.
Red, White, and Blue. ‘Murica!