Shelby, a name that invokes an image, a brand, a legend.  Throw Cobra in the mix and you have fear and speed all mixed into one muscular four wheeled beast.

My infatuation with the Shelby Cobra dates back the early 70’s, when I caught my first glimpse of a blue 427 Cobra rumbling down Reading Blvd.  It took me nearly 2 years of furious pedaling to finally figure out where the Shelby lived.  He was in a 427 Cobra, I was on a Schwinn.

As a gangly 14 year old, I went up to the door and introduced myself.  I showed the owner my Shelby binder of magazine articles and ads.   Then asked if I could have a photo shoot of his Cobra.  Rick said yes under one condition, that I not tell anyone about where the car lived.  Even better, he gave me a ride.  I can remember every second of that short blast.  “I’m going to accelerate now, don’t let you head snap back and hit the back of the cockpit.”  Seriously…  So decades later I can still remember every second of that ride in the 427.  It was stuff dreams are made of, and mine were.

So now fast forward to 2007, I’m in a Ferrari 328 in the horse country of Virginia.  We were on a sporty drive with a group of very nice cars.  Directly in front of us was a beautiful and very fast 73 Porsche 911 RS.  We just couldn’t keep up with it on the straights.  Consequencely, I had many pictures of this Porsche’s butt.  At the end of the drive, Dave Olimpi, the organizer, tells me that the Porsche owner grew up near my home town in Pennsylvania.  I sent him a nice email with all the pictures of him passing us.  Then I sent a separate email telling the Cobra story and included some of my images from that photo shoot.  John Rothenberger emails me back “that was my dad”!

So some 30 plus years later after that ride in the 427, I meet Rick’s son and we’ve enjoyed a warm friendship ever since.

Thanks Ken for a wonderful revisit, in a couple of great cars, down memory lane!


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