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Carroll Shelby Interview by Donn Gurney

December 4, 2003

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Donn Gurney showed Carroll Shelby his file of photos and data at his offices in Los Angeles. Gurney was accompanied by motorsport author Art Evans of Redondo Beach, California.

Shelby looked at the photos and the various bits of information and indicated he remembered the car well, although the actual details of its use and disposition are fuzzy after all these years.

Shelby laughed about the "stolen car" story and said that was the public story and then started to relate the true circumstances. He stopped and said, "It's better to let a sleeping dog lie."

At this point Shelby digressed and said that there is so much misinformation about the cars, the operation, the relationships with Ford and, of course, Shelby himself, that even he has a hard time recalling things as they really were.

Shelby further stated that his operation was very "freewheeling" and a lot of things took place that were never documented very well. Changes were made to cars overnight, decisions were made and implemented very quickly and, of course, he was often gone and not aware of all the details.

Shelby studied the drafted letter very closely before signing it. He was fully aware of exactly what it says and stated that while the details of "Little Red" might not be fully detailed, he was comfortable in signing the letter as it fairly represented his personal knowledge of the vehicle.

Shelby did not seem to be very concerned about our failure to fully document the color changes of the vehicle, saying that there were changes being made for one reason or another and, of course, a red car was always appropriate for public relations purposes and/or sales purposes.

Shelby signed the letter, spun it around so it faced Gurney across the desk and said, "That car is now worth a lot of money - think what it will be when I'm gone."

Art Evans, who sat in during the letter signing session, told Gurney that he has known Shelby since the early racing days in California (Evans is founder of the Fabulous Fifties Association, a loose organization of all those people involved in racing in the postwar days in California) and knows that Shelby was quite generous in "loaning" cars to friends, especially pretty ladies, and always seemed to be driving something different each time they met in the sixties. He also told Gurney [that Shelby] would not sign such a letter unless it was substantially correct.

It was obvious from our investigation and the subsequent conversation with Shelby that there is a lot more to be learned about this vehicle than has been disclosed to date. It was further obvious that Shelby himself was not about to disclose any more than he had to this point.

See Also: Fred Goodell Interview Jim Frank Interview Vehicle Information Provided by the CSF, Comparing the Interviews and CSF Vehicle Information, Theft Repair Invoice


 

 
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