Oct 26 2019

The Day We Met Carroll Shelby


With the upcoming  opening of the film "Ford versus Ferrari", I recalled fondly the opportunity to meet  Carroll Shelby 14 years ago in Lime Rock, Connecticut. It is  a day Roz and I will never forget.

Enjoy,

Howard Kroplick


On June 5, 2003, I purchased my first collectible automobile -a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350H at Christie's Collectors' Car Auction & Exhibition at Rockefeller Center, New York.  I immediately began researching Shelby Mustangs  and collecting Shelby Mustang memorabilia.

Two years after my purchase, Lime Rock Park announced that automotive icon Carroll Shelby would be featured as part of the Rolex Vintage Fall Festival. On Saturday, September 5, 2005, I removed the sun visor from our Shelby Mustang. Roz and I headed north, hoping to meet Carroll and receive a special autograph.

Upon arriving at Lime Rock, we headed directly to the Rolex tent where Carroll was scheduled to appear in one hour. There were no lines and I was thrilled that I would soon meet Carroll Shelby.   It was very disappointing when the guard informed me that all the Carroll Shelby "meet and greet" tickets had been distributed and there were no more available.   I decided to at least wait to see Carroll Shelby in person.

One hour later, 70 people, all wearing wristbands, were waiting patiently on line holding photos, fenders, visors and assorted Mustang parts. Carroll Shelby and two of his associates  arrived at the signing table. The signing began and Shelby's two associates walked away from the tent.  Then, I had a great idea!

I ran after the two associates, a man and a woman. I caught up to them and asked: "Are you with Carroll Shelby?" With the expected affirmative answer, I stumbled out that I had come all the way from Long Island to meet Carroll Shelby and was looking forward to meeting him since " I have a vis ......check to give him for the Carroll Shelby Foundation." The woman responded in her British accent: "If you have a check for Carroll, I will personally introduce you to him. In 45 minutes, please meet me at the table."

I ran to find Roz and told her that we were going to meet Carroll Shelby! About 30 minutes later, we met up with the woman at the table. She was very personable and noted that she loves to watch Carroll at these signings.

I than realized that we had no idea who we were talking to. I asked her: "By the way, how are you related to Carroll Shelby?" She smiled, leaned over and whispered: "I am married to him!"   It was Cleo Shelby. 

Cleo introduced Roz and me to Carroll: "Howard and Roz have something special for you." I was ready to show him the sun visor and then I remembered...the check!

Here, I am handing Carroll a check for his Foundation.

I then asked Carroll if he could sign my Shelby Mustang sun visor and a photo that I carried in my wallet. Cleo Shelby can be seen on the far right.

The visor still is displayed with this special signature.

After sending the Shelbys a copy of the Lime Rock photo, I soon received this signed image in the mail. It reads:

"Thanks to you Howard &  Roz "God Bless You" Carroll Shelby."



Comments

Oct 26 2019 Mark Lanese 10:38 PM

A man with a mission. You figured out how to meet Mr. Shelby without being intrusive. His foundation benefited from it and you have great treasures from that day. Great story.

Oct 27 2019 Paul DiNatale 1:27 AM

I REMEMBER WHEN THE MUSTANGS WERE OFFERED FOR RENT BY HERTZ. THE WHITE ONES WERE FEW AND I ALSO REMEMBER THE BLACK ONES WITH THE GOLD STRIPE. WHAT OTHER COLORS DID THEY MAKE THEM IN. I REMEMBER MY FATHER BUYING A 66 GALAXIE 500 WITH A LT BLUE INTERIOR,AND A DARK “NIGHTMIST BLUE” EXTERIOR.  I WAS 15 YRS OLD AND I REMEMBER THINKING IT LOOKED LIKE A BIG MUSTANG. IT CAME WITH A DUEL EXHAUST 250HP 352 4V REGULAR FUEL,FE MOTOR THAT I GOT TO DRIVE WHEN I GOT OLDER.WE GOT RID OF IT WHEN THE ARAB OIL EMBARGO BOOSTED THE PRICE OF GAS FROM 65CENTS A GALLON TO A $1.50 A GAL IF YOU COULD FIND IT! I ADDED TO THE PLIGHT BY DRIVING WITH THE OIL LIGHT GOING ON AND OFF UNTIL THE MOTOR BLEW. I REALLY FELT BAD THAT I DID NOT SEE THE IDIOT LITE CAUSING SUCH TROUBLE. I WAS WORST THAN A IDIOT! I RECENTLY BOUGHT A RUST FREE ONE WITH A 390 4V AND REALLY LIKE IT,GRAY COLOR THOUGH, NOT THE NIGHTMIST BLUE.

Oct 27 2019 Brian D McCarthy 9:43 AM

This is a great happening, thanks for sharing Howard.

Oct 27 2019 LMK 12:01 PM

Great story…

Oct 27 2019 Rich 6:16 PM

Love the photo with Carroll!

Oct 27 2019 frank femenias 7:26 PM

Classic group photo with Shelby. Is that the sun visor in your ‘66 350? Check out that signature! Great stuff Howard and Roz. The event is heart warming
______________________________________________

Howard Kroplick
Yes, the signed visor is still on my 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350H

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