2010 Ford Mustang Shelbyfest
What Started Out As A Gathering Of Seven GT500 Owners Has Turned Into A Full-Fledged Shelbyfest
Kyle Caraway couldn't have realized what he was getting into when he purchased a '07 Shelby GT500 in the fall of 2006. Like so many who find themselves entangled in the Shelby mystique, Kyle began connecting with other Shelby owners, eventually striking up online friendships with six other GT500 owners in the St. Louis area. They decided to meet at a local park to take photos for what is now the Team Shelby website. In 2007, a second meeting, this time in Hermann, Missouri, attracted 26 Shelby owners, which was topped by 138 in 2008. Last year, 260 cars from 15 states converged on downtown Hermann for what had become known as Shelbyfest.
Now that we've been to Shelbyfest, we can understand the attraction. Of course, part of it is the gathering of Shelbys, Mustangs, and other Fords, which fill two downtown streets on Saturday. Another part of the attraction is the city of Hermann itself. A historic and picturesque German community located on the Missouri River about 90 minutes west of St. Louis, Hermann provides a unique setting for a car show with local pubs (try the Chicken Lips at Wings-A-Blazing!), wineries, ice cream shops, and antique stores. Don't look to stay in a Hilton or Holiday Inn; Hermann is a town of bed and breakfast inns, including the cozy Wine Valley Inn, which sits right in the middle of the Shelbyfest action. Speaking from experience, they make great biscuits and gravy.
Unfortunately, there was bad news on the weather front for the 2010 Shelbyfest. Storms were predicted all weekend, so the event failed to continue its record-breaking streak, with just over 200 cars on display. Thankfully, the rain stayed away until mid-day, so it was time to head to the restaurants and pubs anyway. We were impressed that so many attendees stayed for the entire day.
When I called my wife from the Wine Valley Inn to tell her about Hermann with its wineries and antique stores, she was quick to make an addition to my 2011 travel schedule: "You're going back next year-and bringing me." Guess we'll see you there on April 29-30, 2011.
Every so often, the deadlines, printer schedule, and planets align, allowing me to escape the office for a few extra days. That's what happened in April when I headed to Missouri for Shelbyfest. Seeing how I was in the area, I added a couple of days to the trip to visit Gateway Classic Mustang near St. Louis. And it didn't take much arm twisting to tack on a Kansas City side-trip when R&A Motorsport's Jeff and Julie Yergovich offered to loan me one of their '10 Dominator GT Mustangs. Supercharged Mustang or tin-can rental car? Not a difficult decision.
R&A was worth the visit. One of the top Mustang restoration facilities in the country, the shop had just completed a black with white interior '641/2 convertible -"Tuxedo," they called it-and sheetmetal magician Richard Jackson was performing extensive bodywork on a '67 Shelby convertible. As the only '67 Shelby convertible built, it was originally used by Shelby American as the prototype for the '68 Shelby convertible. Later, we headed for the Yergovich homestead, where Jeff and I, along with R&A's resident parts authority Mike Poston, retired to the "Garage Mahal," a backyard shop that's nearly as large as the Yergovich home. This is where Jeff often brings R&A restorations for peaceful final assembly and detailing. During my visit, the cars included a '68 Rainbow of Colors fastback, a just-completed '68 GT500KR, and pair of rare '67 Hi-Po fastbacks, both Nightmist Blue.
After driving the Dominator GT across Missouri, I stopped in for a visit with the gang at Gateway Classic. Specializing in restomods, including builds for Sammy Hagar and Steve McQueen's son, Chad, Jason and Lonnie Childress gave me the rundown on their new strut suspension system (see "Gateway to Modern Handling" on page 52), including the chance to drive Ed Schmidt's '67 GTA fastback, which is equipped with Gateway's front suspension and power rack-and-pinion steering. Watch for a feature on Ed's GTA in an upcoming issue.