Auto show may be last local stop for '69 Shelby owned by Acme woman
One of the main attractions at the annual vintage auto show in Mt. Pleasant on Friday could be a car that's been parked in a garage for almost 40 years.
Elaine White of Acme has completed restoration of the 1969 Ford Shelby GT500 that her husband started before his death last year of pancreatic cancer.
“It's a labor of love … he couldn't finish it,” said White, who plans to show the car on Friday. It may be the only chance local car enthusiasts have to see it. White is mulling several offers, including one for $150,000 from a California collector.
White and her family decided to sell the car because a 1969 Ford Shelby GT500 with just over 8,000 miles on it sold in Centre Hall in April for $280,000.
Word spread quickly that there was another Shelby in Pennsylvania, and White's phone started ringing. In addition to the California offer, she received calls from potential buyers in Pittsburgh and Rolling Springs, Pa.
“That will be fantastic to have a car like that (to display),” said Rich Kujawa, 67, chairman of the car show that attracts visitors from Uniontown, Altoona and Johnstown.
Money from the sale of the car will go to her children, Shannon Fess of Mt. Pleasant and Cale White of Acme, Elaine White said.
The car they bought new 45 years ago in Tombsford, Va., for $5,100 sat for almost 40 years after serving as the family's primary vehicle. It has a little over 41,000 miles on it.
Robert White, a carpenter, “just fell in love” with the car shortly after the couple was married, but Elaine White worried how they would make the $103-a-month car payment.
“We had kids to raise, didn't have all that money,” she said.
As their family grew, they parked the Shelby in the garage in favor of more family-oriented transportation. Robert White was in the middle of a project he started about five years ago to bring it back to life when he died.
“Certain cars just grab you,” said Dave Mason, 62, of Greensburg, who is helping with the restoration. “The color just stands out ... (and) it has a unique sound.”
White's car has Carroll Shelby's signature across the glove compartment under the number 2911 — the last four digits of its vehicle identification number, a unique code used by the automotive industry to identify individual vehicles.
“When my husband found out that Carroll Shelby would sign the dashboard if you made a donation to his children's foundation, he took the dashboard out and shipped it to him,” she said.
That two Carroll Shelby cars would be found within 140 miles of each other might be unusual, but not that rare, experts said. Keeping track of cars such as these is difficult — they normally don't sit out in the driveway.
White's model and the one sold in Centre Hall are among 1,536 made in 1969.
“There's just no way of knowing ... it's pure coincidence,” said Mike Mueller, automotive writer and muscle car expert from Arlington, Texas.
“Unusual, yeah … improbable, not really,” said Floyd Garrett, an expert in 1960s and 1970s high-performance cars from Sevierville, Tenn.
White wants to find the car a home with someone who will appreciate it.
“My husband loved his car, and I want (the new owner) to love it, too,” said White, who was 14 when they met.
“He liked horsepower. I liked the ones with four legs and a tail,” she said.
Muscle cars, which reigned from 1960 to 1972 , remain popular among collectors. Mecum Auction Co. hosted a three-day sale in Harrisburg in July with about 1,000 cars crossing the auction block.
Ford asked racing legend Carroll Shelby in 1964 to turn its popular Mustang into a performance racer. Shelby and his company, Shelby American, rolled out the first Shelby Mustang on Jan. 27, 1965. The original Shelby GT500 was the first American car to leave the factory with a roll bar. White said her husband would be excited about the show.
“He truly loved the car. He would be thrilled,” she said.
Craig Smith is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5646 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Greensburg man charged with gun, drug violations
- Over the falls — Cucumber Falls that is — go 3 kayakers in Ohiopyle
- Scottdale man charged with raping child in 1990s
- Westmoreland County recorder of deeds seeking 2nd term
- Derry Area adds instructor for agriculture, horticulture
- Ligonier-based group sponsors rafting adventures to help ease veterans’ anxiety
- Hempfield man charged with giving gun to teen girl
- Southmoreland could get state subsidy boost
- Westmoreland County Drug Overdose Task Force gets $9K to buy heroin antidote
- Spirit Airlines puts Chicago on its flight path
- 11 Ligonier Township residents rescued by boat from floodwaters