Carroll Shelby’s final Mustang on display in Pittsburg museum
PITTSBURG, Texas (KLTV) - If automobile designer Carroll Shelby were still alive, he would have turned 100 this year. And to celebrate that, and the fact he was from Camp County, there is an exhibit at the Northeast Texas Rural Heritage Museum in Pittsburg. They have a car on display that we are told was the last Shelby he purchased.
The Pittsburg Museum complex has several surprising things on display, like the replica of the Ezekiel Airship which it is said was airborne in Pittsburg in 1902, predating the Wright Brothers. And just past it is a restored 1968 Shelby GT 350. But, according to Pittsburg Mayor David Abernathy, this Shelby is special because:
“It’s the last car that Carroll actually purchased himself and then gave to the school as just kind of the emblem of that school’s program, and he thought this was the car that should represent that program that has his name tied to it,” Abernathy said.
The school is the Northeast Texas Community College, and the program is the Automotive Technology Program. And there could be more cars coming.
“Possibly even two other replicas that will be brought down as well. And then those replicas changed out periodically as they auction them off to help support the program and provide for scholarships for students attending the college,” Abernathy said.
Abernathy had talked with Shelby several times before he died in 2012.
“It’s one of Carroll’s dreams and visions to have a program for kids to go learn automotive technology. And the college here got together with Carroll and they just made it happen,” Abernathy said.
The mayor says the car was maroon when purchased and Shelby saw the vehicle, restored by students, and he:
“Sat in it, cranked it up. It was just a little before he passed away, so he got to see his vision be materialized,” Abernathy said.
Joan and Bob Snyder from Rochester, New York, stopped by the museum to see the airship and were surprised to see Shelby’s Shelby. Especially since Bob is building a Shelby Cobra replica back home.
“You do hear about him when he was in Texas when he was getting started in racing. How they say he was a chicken rancher and wore bib coveralls to the races,” Snyder said.
The mayor says it wasn’t uncommon to see Shelby around town when he was alive.
“When you would see him, a lot of times, he would be in his coveralls which was his trademark. He started racing in coveralls,” Abernathy said.
They have a pair of his coveralls on display. And oddly, the mannequin acting as pilot of the nearby flying machine was wearing coveralls, as well. Maybe it’s not in the water in Pittsburg. Maybe it’s in the clothes.
Shelby’s birthday was January 11, but the city of Pittsburgh is holding a Carroll Shelby Day on April 29. They are tying it in with their annual Texas Hot Link Festival.
The mayor says several Shelby car clubs will have their vehicles on display. They also will unveil a historical marker about Carroll Shelby that will be placed by his gravesite in Leesburg, just west of Pittsburg.
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