Automobilia Posts

Shelby American Collection Showcases Much More Than Cars

Shelby American Collection museum

Just a few of the GT-40, Mustang, and Cobra cars at the Shelby American Collection in Boulder

If you were to list all the automotive meccas in the United States, you wouldn’t immediately think of Boulder, Colorado. But it’s the home of the Shelby American Collection, a museum of anything and everything related to Shelby cars and the man behind them. The actual cars on display can vary from month to month, so frequent visits are worthwhile. Several cars are on loan from their owners, and the museum buys and occasionally sells items from their collection to keep things fresh.

The museum has been working with hobbyDB to create an online archive of these items (there are literally thousands of pieces, so it’s a long-term project). We’re also their partner via their official online store, selling limited edition posters, books, and other collectibles.

Besides the cars, there is a treasure trove of other pieces of great interest. There are models of various Shelby-related race cars… miniature GT-40s, Mustangs, and Cobras abound. But many other bits of memorabilia are on display as well.

Shelby America Collection AMT slot car Cobra

This 1/25 scale Cobra slot car kit is based on the non-motorized AMT model.

The marketing for street versions of the GT-40 was very much open to the public in those days. If you walked into a Ford dealer in the mid-60s, you might find a salesman wearing this button. They might have even let you take home a brochure with all the specs. As indicated by the sales literature, however, you weren’t likely to find the actual car for sale on the lot, but instead had to be measured for it (and probably put down a hefty deposit.)

We’re not sure what Carrol Shelby’s Pit Stop Deodorant smells like, but gasoline and burning rubber are probable ingredients. Either way, it was marketed as “A real man’s deodorant,” and who could argue with that?

Shelby American Collection pin hood badge doedorant

Shelby’s own brand of deodorant, a dealer button, and a badge from the first year Cobras.

Another fun piece in the collection is an LP record of the sounds of Le Mans. This recording featured the sounds of the crowd and the cars, as well as commentary from legendary participants including Bruce McLaren, Graham Hill and Mr. Shelby himself. For extra bonus points, this copy is signed by Dan Gurney.

There are some very rare parts on display including several complete engines, spare body panels, nameplates and badges.

Shelby American Collection press release record brochure

Press release announcing the Cobra racing team, the sounds of 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans race (in case you weren’t there in person), showroom brochure, and California Manufacturer plate.

The museum also includes pieces that most of the general public never would have seen, such as press release materials and company documents. There are also many volumes of racing programs, tickets and pit passes from events where these cars competed.

Shelby American Collection slot car AC Cobra

Here’s an Aurora AC slot car…

Shelby American Collection Tycopro slot car

… and a Tycopro Cobra slot car.

See that license plate above? Sure, California black plates are special, but this one is really exotic. It’s a special plate for automobile manufacturers, with “013” designating the Shelby garage. The museum reported shelled out around $30,000 for it. And you thought tags were expensive in your state!

If you’ve never had a chance to see the Shelby American Collection, it’s as good an excuse as any to plan a trip to Boulder. The collection is usually only open to the public on Saturdays, so plan accordingly! In the meantime, you can visit the ever-growing archives on hobbyDB.

Designer Notes: Heller Porsche 907

Lincoln Futura Philippe de LespinayPhilippe de Lespinay started with Heller, the French model kit company in the 1960s as a designer and project engineer. He also also worked for Cox, who are now known for their remote control and gas powered vehicles, but also created many kits over the years. More recently, he was the curator of the Los Angeles Slot Car Museum. And he’s on the hobbyDB Advisory Board, so yeah, he’s our kind of guy.

hobbyDB will be regularly sharing his insights on particular models he has worked on including production kits, never-produced projects, and his own custom builds. We hope you enjoy the journey through his career as well.

Read more about his history in the toy and model business here.


Heller Porsche 907

Heller Porsche 907 Daytona de Lespinay box art

After Porsche finished 1-2-3 at Daytona in 1966, the race was on to produce a model of this 1:24 scale kit. I made this drawing strictly from pictures provided by my friend, the journalist Gérard Crombac, and a single wheelbase measurement. The kit was really nice, simple and easy to put together.

Heller Porsche 907 Daytona de Lespinay technical drawing

I was always making sure that my “blown up” drawings would work, meaning that any part here could actually fit if all the parts were put together. Very few changes were made for the production kit.

Heller Porsche 907 Daytona de Lespinay assembly instructions

Like for other Heller kits of the time the box art was drawn by Paul Lengellé.

Leaving a 30,000 Item Collection Behind? Document it on hobbyDB first!

30000 model car collection

Dennis Erickson model car enthusiast. (Photo: Boyd Huppert, KARE)

Dennis Erickson’s friends knew he loved cars. Just exactly how much caught them by surprise when he died. Sure, they knew he had a Ford Model T, a 1959 Edsel station wagon, a 1966 Rambler, and a 1977 Pontiac Bonneville in the garage. But he also had a few model vehicles. Like over 30,000 of them, many of them larger scales like 1:18.

The Egan, MN resident had no family (more room for collectibles!), so he left the collection, which also included car brochures and other automobilia, to his church in his will. It’s a great gesture, although the excutor of the estate is scratching her head trying to figure out what’s what and how much everything is worth. “I’m still a bit overwhelmed,” said Lisa Lundstrom, the church’s chief financial officer. “It’s nuts!” The plan is to sell most of the collection, but without complete, detailed information from Erickson, that won’t be easy. “If I tried to sell it separately, the rest of my life would be Dennis’ life,” she laughs.

30000 car collection

Just a tiny part of Erickson’s collection. (Photo: Boyd Huppert, KARE)

This would be a good time to point out that hobbyDB is a great way to keep track of your collection… what models you have, what you paid for them, where you got them, even where they are stored if that’s an issue. And with our new price guide, it’s easier to get a handle on what an item is worth. Remember,even it’s not a 30,000 item collection, keeping track of it isn’t just for your own good. It may be for the sanity of your friends and loved ones after you’re gone.

You can read the full article with more photos on KARE11.com

Corrugated Car Captivates Collectors

1979 Lincoln Continental cardboard front
Detroit-born artist and teacher Shannon Goff was always fascinated by cars in general and her grandfather’s 1979 Lincoln Continental in particular. For years she had contemplated making a replica of it in some medium but the sheer size of the project was intimidating.

Did we mention it’s a full-sized replica? Finally, she decided on cardboard as a medium and jumped in full throttle. “I had considered making it the color of my grandfather’s, but in the end I decided white was perfect,” said Goff. “It’s forlorn and forgotten, a ghost rider of sorts. It’s about memory and loss and is ultimately a memorial to my grandfather and to the city of Detroit.”

1979 Lincoln Continental cardboard spare tire

Even without engine or undercarriage parts, the car is impressive in its attention to details such as keyholes and delicate bits of chrome trim. You can see more photos and read more about it on thisiscolossal.com

On a similar note, there is a full sized Mercedes-Benz 300SL made entirely out of wood on hobbyDB. If you know of any other similar full sized models, let us know in the comments!

1979 Lincoln Continental cardboard steering wheel

Mocking Up the Mach 5

This article first appeared online at diecastxmagazine.com

Speed Racer Mach 5

by Ron Ruelle

As diecast collectors, we seldom consider the amount of effort that goes into creating a miniature version of a real car, especially one with working features. Rolling wheels are a bare minimum, but when a vehicle also features opening doors and hood, working steering and even suspension, it’s really a miniature marvel of engineering that we often take for granted. But what if that car only existed as two-dimensional animation? How hard would it be to make a convincing 3-D replica? How about one with a lot of unique, imaginary working bits as well?

Let’s then take a moment to appreciate some of the models of the Mach 5 from the Speed Racer cartoon that have been released over the years. Until about 20 years ago, such replicas were few and far between—usually simple, small-scale plastic cars available mostly overseas. They were cute, but none of them fueled the imagination as much as they could have with functioning bits. After all, there are six buttons on the steering wheel of the Mach 5, fans know they all have a purpose! Thankfully, several later models addressed the gadgetry with different approaches.


JL Speed Racer Mark 5

In 2000, Johnny Lightning retooled and released their second series of Speed Racer vehicles, with an even better detailed Mach 5, this time featuring different snap-on accessories in different packages. So if you dared take them out of the package, you could pose the car with saw blades extended and resting up high on the auto-jacks. Heck, the hood even flipped open to reveal the engine. Not bad considering the size! There was also a very limited edition of the car in bronze as the Mach 4.

rare Speed Racer Mach 4 Johnny Lightining

Shortly after that, a company called ReSaurus got really ambitious and created a large scale Mach 5 along with 6-inch action figures of Speed and the gang. Assuming Speed is about 6 feet tall, this car would be roughly 1:12 scale. In truth, it looks a bit bulky when he stands next to it, but you forgive that when you see the features.

ReSaurus Speed Racer playset

The car came beautifully packaged with snap on gadgets visible: Auto jacks (with springs), saw blades, bullet-proof/water proof canopy, pop-up periscope, and homing pigeon (but no opening hatch for the bird to hide in). That’s five out of the six buttons represented, which is pretty impressive. (Alas, bullet-proof belted tires are just not available in any scale). The hood didn’t open, but the trunk lid did, which anyone who watched the show would appreciate… this car came with figures of Spritle and Chim Chim as well as a picnic basket, all of which could fit comfortably in the trunk.

But the most impressive Mach 5 has to be the 1:18 scale version from American Muscle. The overall intricacy of detail is better than the ReSaurus model, which to be fair, was designed as a toy instead of a display piece. But instead of separate snap-on gadgets, the folks at Ertl managed to hide these elements within the car when not in use.

Mach 5 open Ertl

The auto jacks retract into the chassis, as do the saw blades. The periscope pops up, and the homing pigeon tucks into a hatch on the hood. There is no canopy, but other features make up for it… it has an opening trunk (early releases came with a Chim Chim figure, but he won’t quite fit in there), opening doors, working steering, and an opening bonnet. The entire front end flips open to reveal a 12-cylinder engine with some wiring, and exhaust pipes that extend to the convincingly detailed chassis.  Just like the real car… oh, wait.

Considering that there was no real version of this car to model the technical details after, the creators of all of these did a fantastic job bringing the Mach 5 to life. Now if someone could just get working on an affordable 1:1 replica, we could complete our collections!

mach5lead1 copy