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A Shelby Goes South of the Border

After racing the Mustang for a year and a half with some success, Gildred found hmself being asked if he would sell it to a Mexican driver who was still in contention for the series crown, but whose own car had blown its engine prior to the championship finale, at the 1967 Mexican Grand Prix. After some haggling the sale was made, and Gildred sat out the support race. Photo: Gildred Collection

One of the highlights of my many years of racing has to do with the 1966 Trans-Am Mustang that Jerry Titus (1928-1970) drove to victory for Ford and Shelby. Ford was tied up at the end of the series with Dodge, and as a result Shelby built this special, one-off car, which was able to do almost the same times at Riverside that the more powerful Shelby Cobra 427 racecar could.  I purchased the car after going to Shelby’s shop, adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport, when I met with Carroll directly. I was put in touch with Carroll by Pete Brock, who worked for Carroll and designed the very famous Daytona Coupe that went on to win internationally. He set it up with Carroll.  I told him that I knew that they were selling most of the later team cars— the ’65 and ’66 289s.  For the 289s, Shelby wanted $4,000 and for the bigger Cobras, the 427 racecars, he wanted $5,000. Then he had three cars that were the Daytona Coupes they had run in Europe very successfully, but in those days, a year-old car was just that, a year-old car, and really didn’t have much value. To think that I could have bought one of those Daytona coupes for $6,000!

Ted Gildred
Ted Gildred

Carroll told his right-hand man, Lew Spencer, a well-known racer himself, “Lew, take Ted down, show him the cars and sell him a car.” Lew was the one who took me down and told me what the prices were and what cars were available. Lou asked, “What kind of racing are you going to be doing Ted?” I said, “Well, I want to take the car to Mexico.  My father is very ill and I have to go down to Mexico to take over his business, and I want to continue racing.” I had been racing quite a bit in the years just prior to having to go to Mexico, and I told him that most of the races there were either in the streets, in vacant sub-divisions, or at the Grand Prix circuit, which today is called Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, after the two young Mexican race drivers, Pedro and Ricardo Rodriguez.

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