Dec 4th, 2007 by RJ Menezes
His name is synonymous with Ford’s pony car. He is a living, breathing, legend. His name is Carroll Shelby.
The name Shelby evokes different emotions in different people. Some get excited at the thought of unruly performance. Some get tear-eyed and remember a time when they were young, and Shelby’s cars ruled the streets. While other people get mad.
Wait, mad?! That’s right mad. Mad because they are now in legal battle with the legend.
Unique Performance Inc., a company near Dallas that refurbishes 1960s Shelby Mustangs under license, has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to liquidate the company. Some consumers who fear they have lost their deposits now want to sue Shelby’s company, Shelby Automobiles Inc.
Shelby is immersed in the problems at Unique Performance, which since 2002 has partnered with Shelby to re-engineer and refurbish vintage Shelby Mustangs.
Last month, police in a Dallas suburb seized 61 cars from Unique Performance. Each of the 58 Mustangs and three Chevrolet Camaros confiscated had false vehicle identification numbers, according to police.
Before Unique’s Nov. 12 bankruptcy filing some consumers who paid deposits but never got their cars sued Unique and Shelby. That prompted Shelby to pull Unique’s license in October.
“It’s a disgrace that (Unique) did that,” Shelby says. “I would be very angry myself. That’s why we canceled with them.”
But thats not all…
Shelby says he won’t renew a licensing agreement with the Shelby American Automobile Club, a 5,000-member organization that keeps records on Shelby cars and verifies their authenticity. Apperantly he’s not very happy with the way things are being run, and is claiming to be kept in the dark about various things.
In a Nov. 14 letter, Carroll Shelby’s lawyer demanded that the Shelby American Automobile Club return all Shelby-related merchandise and turn over its financial statements, demands that club director Rick Kopec says he will fight. The club’s license expires Jan. 31.
Carroll Shelby says he is angry with the 33-year-old organization, which has been licensed by Shelby since 1996. He says Kopec and other club directors have excluded him from decisions on how the club is run and have not shared financial information. “I’m tired of them,” Shelby says. “I want the registrations and the records under my control. They’ve made a lot of money but never counted me in on anything. I don’t want my legacy to go down under their thumbprints.”
Seems that this old dog still has some fight left in him. It’s the man’s life work, it is his legacy. In my opinion he has every right to do what he is doing.
Just look at the cars. What makes them special is that they have his name on them. Period.
Cars like this 67′ Shelby GT350 made Carroll Shelby a household name.