By Teresa Flores
Carroll Shelby’s vision for the Northeast automotive program that carries his name continued recently with the “3 Shelby’s and a Corvette Racer Car Show.”
During the event, both the Shelby program and the Northeast Texas Welding Association were given the opportunity to showcase their collaborative projects, the Terlingua and Panamericana Mustangs, to a slew of car fanatics.
Special guests included Delmo Johnson and Bill Neale, longtime friends of Carroll Shelby.
Johnson, who is a legendary Corvette Panamericana racer, and Neale, a world-renowned automotive artist, were both on hand to sign autographs.
Scot McMillan, star of Discovery Channel’s Fast ‘N Loud and television show Fired Up Garage, helped build the roll cage for the Panamericana Mustang with the program students and also attended the event.
Although the weather was less than ideal, the show rolled on. With an array of collector cars and the famous Carroll Shelby chili on hand, the Shelby program pulled out all the stops for an eventful day.
“[The car show] was generally a success considering the rain,” said Keith Fennimore, Director of the Carroll Shelby Automotive
Technology Program. “It was great to see how much support we have from people like Scot McMillan from Fired up Garage and the Shelby Cobra Association of Texas.
“The fact they came out and spent the day with us to show their support for the Carroll Shelby Program and its students, is just too cool.”
The rain didn’t stop local Carroll Shelby fans from coming out and enjoying the show.
Aside from the collector cars that turned up for the event, the two main attractions were the Terlingua and Panamericana Mustangs as well as the Shelby Mustang that Carroll Shelby bought and donated to the program just before his death.
The Terlingua and Panamericana Mustangs have been projects for the Shelby program students over the past few months.
The Terlingua is a 1967 Mustang designed to be a replica of Shelby’s Terlingua racing team Mustang. The Panamericana Mustang is a 1965 model that is being redesigned for the 2015 La Carrera Panamericana Race.
The Shelby program students were able to show the community the hard work and dedication they have put into the two cars.
“Showing off the cars that we’ve been building and having all the Shelbys here was really cool,” said Kaleb Dorsey, Shelby program student.
Wilbert Grinsven, curator of the Texas Museum of Automotive History, and Robert Miller, a Dallas attorney, will be driving the Panamericana Mustang in the 2,000-mile race.
Both drivers were at the car show and were astonished at the progress the students made since the Mustang first arrived on campus a few months ago.
“The Panamericana Mustang build is going much better than I could have imagined. The students are getting a very real world experience in building a race car,” said Miller. “They worked long hours into the nights to make the car presentable for the show.”
Although the Panamericana Mustang still has a handful of mechanical fixes to meet its completion deadline, the Shelby program students are working with the instructors around the clock to get the job done.
The car show not only gave the program the chance to showcase their talent and hard work, but a chance to be a part of Carroll Shelby’s legacy.
“It was a badge of honor to be a part of that day,” said Tony Whitworth, instructor for the Carroll Shelby Automotive Technology Program. “Being able to carry on Shelby’s dreams to be competitive, not just as instructors but for our students.”
Shelby program student, Oscar Quiroga, feels the same way. “I feel honored,” said Quiroga. “We get to carry his (Shelby’s) name around and not many other get to have an opportunity like this.”
Although the car show is over, that is not the last of the Shelby program’s adventures.
“Three Shelbys and a Corvette Racer was not the end of something,” said Miller. “The completion of the Panamericana Mustang and its adventures in the 2015 La Carrera Panamericana 2,000-mile road race are not the end of something. They are steps along the way in the journey to build the Carroll Shelby Automotive Technology Program into the program that Carroll Shelby envisioned.