Shelby’s influence at Willow Springs

Don’t get me wrong I love the era I live in, the technology that we have and the opportunities it gives me.

But if I had a chance to rewind the clock and spend 5 years in the 1960’s I wouldn’t for a second think twice about it.

The more time I spent in Southern California the more I appreciated how those hero’s of the 1960’s are remembered today.

Carroll Shelby like Dan Gurney was a racer, setting Land Speed records, competing in Formula One and also LeMans.

But it was Shelby’s vision that reshaped motorsport and combined light weight British race cars with American muscle power plants.

After the Halloween Hillclimb I decided to head out to Willow Springs Raceway on my way to Death Valley.

The Shelby owners club had a track day on, it’s an experience in itself to see these cars in the flesh let alone see them in action.

AC Cobra’s in every colour.

Each sounded as good as the last.

I just love the way the body hugs those big tyres.

A true drivers car.

Electronic fuel Injection isnt exactly period specific, but you cant argue with the performance.

8 of the finest!

The level of detail and finish on these racers had to be seen to be believed, the European influence is still visible through all that American muscle.

I love this little fuel filler shield.

Big tyres, big HP, little car equals lots of speed.

Lined up in the dummy grid I turn my attention to number 25.

My favorite AC Cobra on the day.

It just seemed so raw.

Elegant and simple.

Those Magnesium Halibrand wheels haunt me at night.

I took this photo at Ron’s motorcycle store in Memphis on my Honeymoon.

It was so great seeing it in action.

Willow Springs looks like a fun circuit.

Maybe silver is your thing?

All the right shapes.

Lined up ready for the next session.

Or a cruise through the pits.

Add a splash of red.

Back to Blue.

But Shelby’s influence didn’t end at the AC Cobra.

Between 1965 and 1970 Carroll Shelby worked with Ford to produce the GT350’s and GT500 production racers.

Lightweight and powerful, a signature of the Shelby name.

As a production race car they are getting rare.

Oh and expensive.

So if your dads got one of these in the barn out the back let me know.

It just adds to the experience seeing these on track.

As they roar past like they did in their heyday.

These are the supercars I admire.

Stars of some iconic moments in history.

The original racers.

It was a laid back event with sessions running all day, pick a group and go and drive.

Dipping into the 1970’s

And beyond.

Period correct was 200mm ago for this bloke.

Throw an Escort into the mix.

I bet this guy is having a good time.

Mixing it with a sea of Mustangs.

I just love this shape.

A Falcon Sprint.

With all the right trimmings.

Heading back into the pits.

While the next group readies.

This GT40 was perfect!

In every way.

The original LeMans Ferrari Party killer.

That went on to be an iconic supercar.

How did it sound?

It’s not hard to guess.

Amazing!

Again seeing something like this pushed around the racetrack made it all worth it.

Blue skies and GT40’s

Not bad!

I have a new found love for ramp trucks.

The ultimate hauler for your Shelby Cobra.

Or old Nascar.

I think its a Torino, although I am not familiar with them.

Nascar’s come a long way.

But its the truck series I love.

I see these for sale all the time.

I couldn’t think of a more cost effective way to get into racing, such a solid base for a little amount of $$.

Willow Springs was a blast, it was only by chance that the Shelby day was on, I am glad I made it.