Priceless Shelby Cobra sports cars brought together in southern France
Tens of millions of dollars worth of Shelby Cobras have taken to the track at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France in a historic first for the classic sports car and i was lucky enough to take part of this once-in-a-lifetime event. enjoy the video!
The Paul Ricard Circuit in southern France has been shaken by the thunder of dozens of classic Shelby Cobra sports cars, which have been brought together for the first event of its kind in Europe.
Legendary Shelby Cobra driver Allen Grant, who won numerous races in the 1960s and ‘70s, was at the circuit and said he was thrilled by what he saw.
“$50 million worth of cars that people can sit in and drive at this iconic race track, it’s just amazing,” he said.
Mr Grant worked for Shelby Cobra founder Carroll Shelby as a mechanic before becoming a racing driver.
He said the collection of cars on display stirred his emotions.
“My heart just almost skips a beat because it brings back these floods of memories of working on the cars and driving them and winning and taking the chequered flag and it’s just amazing.”
The event was organised by Swiss watchmaker Baume & Mercier and called ‘Shelby Only’, in partnership with Carroll Shelby International Inc.
Baume & Mercier wanted to bring Cobra collectors and guests together for a day of racing and activities, to relive they heyday of motorsport.
This goal was clearly achieved, with guests smiling widely after being taken for high-speed laps of the classic French circuit.
“The philosophy is to do something which has never been done in Europe before,” said Baume & Mercier CEO Alain Zimmerman.
He added: “It’s Shelby-only, the greatest meet of 29 Cobras, 427, GT40, GT350, it’s an amazing event.”
Mr Zimmerman said the event was designed to arouse the ‘spirit of competition’ central to his company’s approach to watchmaking.
One feature of the day was a ‘Le Mans start’, where drivers ran from the opposite side of the track to their cars before trying to race away as quickly as possible.
“Spirit of competition is all about car racing,” said French racing driver Ludovic Caron. “You have to get this spirit in your soul if you want to beat all the other cars.”
Baume & Mercier used the event to launch four new Capeland Shelby Cobra 1963 chronographs.
Each featured the name and racing numbers of legendary Shelby Cobra drivers: Dan Gurney, Ken Miles, Dave MacDonald and Allen Grant.
The Shelby Cobra is a timeless sports car first produced in 1962.
Originally featuring two doors and a roaring Ford V8 engine, the Cobra has been constructed in the United Kingdom and the United States.
The car was born when U.S. automotive designer Shelby asked British manufacturer AC Cars if they would build him a car to take a small-block V8 tuned for high performance.
Numerous variations followed, some featuring an increase in engine capacity.
Today Shelby Cobras are sought after by car enthusiasts, with many prepared to pay millions to obtain the object of their desire.
Carroll Shelby’s favourite race number was 98, and fittingly a striking blue Cobra displayed this number as it turned laps around Circuit Paul Ricard.