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Kirkham Motorsports

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-16-2008, 01:22 PM
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Default Fate of the Shelby Indy car?

In '67 Parnelli Jones drove a Ken Wallis-designed turbine car for STP and almost won but a $6 bearing broke. The designer of that car, Ken Wallis, went over to Shelby and designed a new turbine car for him for the '68 season.

. The turbine car was built and Denny Hulme and Bruce McLaren selected as drivers but they withdrew before the race (anybody know why?). Shelby left Indy at practice time when Mike Spence was killed in the rival STP car, saying "turbine cars needed more development. "

. One of the Shelby Turbine cars was said to be later used as a promotional vehicle for Paul Newman's movie "Winning". I also read somewhere it was a backdrop prop for a Disney ride (or maybe some other amusement park). Does anyone know where the cars went. It seems that they would be highly collectible if restored and fun to see at a vintage race. I don't know if they ever went as far as painting them with the sponsors colors though, and they'd be pretty ugly in flat black.
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:20 AM
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According to an ex Shelby employee at last years dinner the car sits collecting dust in a Irvine, Ca warehouse. Motor is long gone, as is any hope of resurrection.
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Old 03-17-2008, 04:06 AM
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Talking Ideas

Some of my family are Jet aircraft engineirs for Lockhead Martin it would be a neat project for sure!!!
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Old 03-17-2008, 06:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Historybuff View Post
I don't know if they ever went as far as painting them with the sponsors colors though, and they'd be pretty ugly in flat black.
...flat black.
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:38 AM
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Default Shelby past projects have a way of being resurrected...

I wouldn't count the Shelby Indy car as derelict dreck (drek?) just yet.
Old Shelby projects have a way of resurfacing all spiffed up and hawked for big bucks (like the Green Hornet).
I don't think the engine would be that hard to find, probably a helicopter engine that was made by the thousands. I know these turbines were war surplus and I once saw one thrown out in a guy's yard, he thought it was so worthless.

I think one obstacle to marketing the Shelby Indy turbine is that I think it was never painted in its sponsor's colors (wasn't it Botany 500 clothing) so to paint it in that livery now would be messin' with history a bit. And it sure looks ugly in flat black! But even if there was an artist's rendering at the time of how it would look painted, to complete it with that paint job would be correct historically (there's been plenty of historic buildings never completed that were completed later on in history with the original plans).

But picture it on the stage at the Barrett Jackson auction--one of (3 or 4) Shelby Indy cars. Even better if they fired it up, though they better have the exhaust aimed out the door when they do....

Another former Shelby project , the Lone Star, is a car I still expect to see hit the auction block someday. As the legitimate heir to the mantle of the 427 Cobra (the next street car designed after the Cobra) it should fetch big bucks though it never reached production.
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Old 03-22-2008, 11:12 AM
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Hey 'Buff, do you think ole Shel' might "discover" the old Indy chassis' just laying around....and maybe finish them just in time for Scottsdale, in January? Naw...naw!
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Old 03-22-2008, 11:17 AM
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Default It's a good promotional idea...

I don't know if the other chassis are very complete in case the owner of the car in Irvine thinks it's worth big money as is.
I think if I contact Botany 500 they might have a painting of its livery, though since the cars never made the grid they might have deep sixed
everything related to it.
I was wondering about the fate of Shelby's last 289 Cobra, the one in his collection that is blue with a fat gold stripe, once featured in a Petersen Ford publication. I heard that he retrofitted a 289 though he ran it for years with a 351C and C4. I can only speculate what it would be worth, maybe 2-3 million? Sicne the economy seems headed for a downturn (I always the word late) I think now's the time to "make hay while the sun shines."
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:54 AM
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As far as I know, the Shelby turbine car was painted in a kind of metallic
more less dark blue (a similar shape but more saturated than the Eagles
of Dan Gurney at F1).
Remember Maxwell Smart, Theo Kojak? they were dressed by Botanny 500, who sponsored the Shelby turbine car, I have pictures of the car in B500 livery
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Old 11-01-2008, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
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Another former Shelby project , the Lone Star, is a car I still expect to see hit the auction block someday. As the legitimate heir to the mantle of the 427 Cobra (the next street car designed after the Cobra) it should fetch big bucks though it never reached production.
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Old 11-01-2008, 06:10 PM
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The car looks amazingly similar to Andy Granitelli's STP turbine car from '67. Would love to see more photos. There are many small turbine engines around that would retro-fit into that chassis if someone had a mind (and checkbook) to.
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Historybuff View Post
In '67 Parnelli Jones drove a Ken Wallis-designed turbine car for STP and almost won but a $6 bearing broke. The designer of that car, Ken Wallis, went over to Shelby and designed a new turbine car for him for the '68 season.


The turbine car was built and Denny Hulme and Bruce McLaren selected as drivers but they withdrew before the race (anybody know why?).
There were 2 Shelby turbine cars built. After the previous years rout by P.J. in the STP car a new rule was inplimented to reduce the air inlet (restrictor plate) of the turbine cars to even the playing field. USAC asked Mr. Shelby to take his cars home after it was descovered that they had an "adjustable anulis" that allowed the cars to intake more air as the speed rose. His statment that the cars "needed more development" was standard bs when ever Carroll got caught with his hands in the cookie jar. The proof is severial other turbine cars competed and did well on the circut during the '68 season.
One of the cars was in Shelby's Gardena tire wherehouse during the 90's. My memory does not recall where it went. It will come to me and I'll post it.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:15 PM
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Default Is the Indy car on the Universal tour?

I never went on the Universal studios tour but someone who would recognize an Indy car if he saw one told me that, for awhile, one of the three Shelby Indy cars (he says three were built, not two) maybe without its gas turbine, was a part of a display you could see from this tour. I know movie studios sometimes buy cars for props that years later turn out to be worth money, just like some movie studio ordered several Cobra tube chassis for a comedy bodying them with antique car chassis, (Monte Carlo or Bust?). If the turbine was commercially available on aircraft (helicopters?) it's probably still available as surplus. I would like to see a Shelby Indy car running at Monterey--tho its exhaust might melt the fiberglass nose of the car behind it....

Of course it wouldn't be worth as much since it never ran Indy but even the DeTomaso race cars are worth something even if a lot of them never actually ran a race...
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Old 11-08-2008, 07:40 PM
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At one time, before selling his business, Ron Butler had one of the cars. Don't know whether he still has it or not. I don't know if it was one of the Shelby cars or the STP cars.
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:35 PM
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It was one of the 2 Shelby cars. Ron Butler had it up on the rack in his shop for years and eventually Shelby bought it back and then sold it. Shelby had sold the other one a few years earlier for about $27k, I believe. The drivetrain for both was long gone but all the other bits were intact. Ron originally did all the fabrication of the miles of plumbing under the car and it was a work of art! I'm really digging deep in my memory here but I believe the second car didn't bring much more than the first and I think the SAME guy bought it! Obviously, a real limited audience for these cars... I haven't heard any more about them for many years (6-8 at least).

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Old 12-14-2008, 06:57 PM
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I went to the Indy 500 for about a dozen years straight and the timing could not have been better. Got to see the transition from the Offy roadsters, thru the turbines, into the rear engine "damn feriners" and then the Ford megaphones and the turbo charged cars. The last year for the turbine, I'm sure they sandbagged qualifying. One was in the front row and one in 3, I think. But they could easily have been 1, and 2. We were seated in the stands behind the pits, all the way down by pit out. At the start all 33 are always bunched up. The pack disappeared into turn one, the ballons and fireworks went up for turn two, then again for three. Then out of turn four come two turbine cars, ALL by themselves. They were 1/3rd the way down the front straight before the pack came out of four. Next lap they were almost into one before the pack came out of four. It was "No Contest!"

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