Recently the Internet has become an explosion of controversy with regards to Carroll Shelby’s announcement that he will not be renewing SAACÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s licensing agreement to use his name in conjunction with the operation of the club and furthermore Shelby has demanded the handing over of all documents regarding the registry of all Shelby vehicles by SAAC. (Click here for letter from Shelby’s lawyers.) I am appalled by all the bad mouthing of Carroll Shelby especially by so many that have no personal relationship with him whatsoever. I have been reading hundreds of post many of which are slamming Carroll and talking smack about a subject they know very little about. Many of them are making comments about how Shelby will do anything for a buck and how he is no longer interested in the old Shelby’s and so on. Give me a break and get real! The truth is the majority of them sound like a bunch of high school kids getting ready to fight in the school parking lot. I will say I am impressed with a few members of SAAC who agree that Shelby obviously knows what’s best and has a bigger vested interest in preserving the integrity of all things Shelby.
Let me tell you what I do know… First of all Carroll Shelby has more money than he will ever need and furthermore many are under the false impression he made his fortune with the Cobra and GT350 and GT500’s. Nothing could be further from the truth. Carroll was wealthy long before he even considered talking to Ford. On the other hand, besides being one of the best drivers, (How many of you forgot he won at Le Man in a Aston Martin in 1959?) and also one of the most innovative car designers and builders of all time, many of which still hold records to this day, he is above all other things an entrepreneur. In other words what he does is create and there are very few men who have ever created as much as he has. It’s in his blood and it’s what he does. The bottom line is Shelby doesn’t need anyone to take care of his records and he sure as hell isn’t going to let them go to waste.
It’s important to remember that the SAAC has had access to Shelby’s personal records with his permission and blessings mind you and yet the SAAC has made a profit from this one sided relationship for many years. With over 6000 members they receive membership fees as well as sales from all sorts of products including the Shelby registry, national get together’s and lots more. The bottom line here is the SAAC has profited for years off of Shelby’s good name and friendship.
I have spoken personally to SAAC officials who have said things like, “Shelby doesn’t even know what he had. I know more about Shelby’s than Shelby will ever know.” And then there is all the other trash talk from SAAC members themselves who for some reason have forgotten how much Shelby has done for the automotive world as well as his heart fund and organ transplant organization. Knowing Carroll personally I suspect comments like these had something to do with letter from the lawyers. In our private talks he has always expressed his desire to help others and if people knew how much he has helped others they might think harder about what they are saying these days. Recently Shelby was asked why he paid out so little from his organ donor fund. Anyone with any brains or that had any idea of what other things he has been accomplishing in the recent years would know he was not the person in charge of that organization at that time. But you can rest assured he has already made some big changes to that situation.
The only thing Shelby has attempted to do is to attempt to stop a huge amount of free-loaders from making money using Shelby’s name. What the SAAC is doing to Shelby is no different than what the large number of “Knock-Off” companies making cheap imitation jeans, purses, perfumes, Rolex watches and more and making huge profits in the process is doing to those companies who are trying to protect their brand identity and profit.
The SAAC has always implied that they are the only group that can effectively protect future owners by allowing them access to their records (That legally belong to Shelby and are only on loan to the SAAC.) and helping prove authenticity. Does anyone really believe Shelby can’t do the same? And after bragging about how they have “protected” all of the “authentic” Shelby owners for so many years, how ironic is it that “for a membership fee” and a T-shirt, and an entry fee to the Mini Nat’s and car shows and on and on and on that now anyone who owns a Trans-Am, Tiger, Boss 302, Pantera, and even all Cobra and Shelby replicas are welcome to be members. When it’s all said and done it boils down to a group of people attempting to profit off Shelby’s name and Shelby has said enough is enough. Am I the only person hearing the cash register bells ringing here?