Hey, Dad, Is That a Shelby GT500!?

September 13th, 2011

1967 Ford Mustang GT500

My son is a car kid. He’s obsessed with anything that has four wheels, two doors and a big engine, and well on his way to becoming a bona fide “car guy” in about 10 years.

He sketches better cars at 9 years old than I’ve ever been able to. He’s convinced that he’s going to grow up and design cars for Ferrari someday. Naturally, I encourage that dream the same way I did when he decided he wanted to be a Seattle Seahawks quarterback. For his ninth birthday he wanted a Ferrari cake, which my wife made, from scratch, into a delightfully delicious and near-perfect Prancing Horse confection.

One of his favorite hobbies is looking through the used car listings and searching for elusive supercars.

When we visited my in-laws’ house last week, he’s the one who noticed the Porsche 911 Carrera S parked next door, and spent the next 10 minutes circling it and breathlessly repeating the word “Wow.” He’s also spotted a red Tesla Roadster from a good 50 yards away and screamed “Lotus!” when a bright orange Elise went by in the opposite direction on a rural highway.

My kid knows his cars. Which is why I was so surprised when he came home yesterday, casually asked a car question, and then slumped his little shoulders when I told him the answer.

“Dad,” he said, out of the blue, “A Shelby isn’t a Mustang, right?”

“Well, yeah, it is, kiddo. You mean like a Shelby GT500?”

He nodded.

“Yup, that’s a Mustang.”

“Darn,” he said, looking towards the ground.

“Oh man, did you lose a bet, Bud?”

“Maybe. So a 1969 Shelby GT500 is a Mustang?”

“Oh yeah. That’s the ultimate Mustang.”

“Hmmm,” he said, looking toward the front door. “Good thing I didn’t bet any money.”

What he did bet was a Hot Wheels model of said ’69 GT500, which is now proudly owned by the boy living next door.

I guess my little “future car guy” still has a lot to learn. Oh well, when he’s all grown up and living in Maranello, it’ll be fun to remind him of the day he misidentified the Mustang.

Do you remember what car started your obsession? Mine was the Toyota Pickup driven by Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future.

-tgriffith

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Porsche 911
Used Lotus Elise
Used Ford Mustang
Used Ford Shelby GT500
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  1. Phil
    September 15th, 2011 at 19:24 | #1

    1973 Porsche RS. Thanks dad for all those magazines all over the basement. Thank god you told my mom they’d be useful one day even when they were 10+ years old!

  2. Jim Redd
    September 14th, 2011 at 12:35 | #2

    That’s a cool story, tgriffith. And Randy, I envy your teenage years! Hollerin, your story reminded me of mine. My first convertible ride wasn’t even a cool car… an old LeBaron maybe. But the sensation of the open top and wind completely changed my view of what cars could be. I’ve loved ‘em ever since.

  3. Randy
    September 14th, 2011 at 08:04 | #3

    I started working part time at the local gas station when I was 13. The owner was a Ford factory-sponsored drag racers with a stretched Mustang with a 427 DOC aluminum fuelie under the hood. It ran in the 9’s. How many kids that age get to work on a motor like that? He had a good business building custom headers so by the time I was 16 I was helping to form and weld these systems. When Ford homolugated the GT40 in the mid-60’s he was able to buy one and he took me down with him to pick it up. They adjusted the pedals and steering wheel to fit him (seat tubs were built into the chassis so controls had to be fitted to the driver) and we trailered it back. Hanging out with all the racers and working on their cars was great fun, and I got to play with everything from nice Z28’s to SS454 Chevelles, 427 vettes, Shelby GT’s, GTO’s and even some Austin Healeys and MG’s.

  4. September 13th, 2011 at 13:23 | #4

    I have vivid memories of two car rides that left me impressed and wanting lots more in a car than the old Bug my parents had when I was growing up. The first was a top-down ride as a toddler in my uncle’s VW Karmann Ghia, during which I sprawled face-up on the back “seat,” watching the skyline and the underside of a bunch of highway bridges zoom by. The other was a ride when I was a little older in a co-worker of my Dad’s BMW 2002, during which I clung to the passenger seat and the armrest as he threw the car into a long series of fast, tight turns on a very picturesque windy road, thinking that was a *way* cooler way to travel than the slow-but-steady city driving my parents generally did. I remember my feelings about how those cars and that kind of driving felt a lot better than the cars themselves, but they did leave lasting impressions.

  5. jukka heljo
    September 13th, 2011 at 12:15 | #5

    I think it was a 1965 Volvo PV 544, then 1969 Dodge Dart and the list goes on.

  6. Donnovan O.
    September 13th, 2011 at 10:49 | #6

    Mine was the Thunderbird Super coupé and Spirit R/T !

    That turbo sound is amazing…

  1. September 27th, 2011 at 05:02 | #1