Jeff Ford
January 1, 2000

Mike Paremsky is a ball of energy. He never stops. When he works on something-anything-you get the sense that he will not be outdone by whatever it is. That's why this GT500 Shelby looks the way it does. It also helps that Mike owns Michael's Auto Body in Winter Haven, Florida. Mike took a daily driver and turned it into a show car with all the trimmings, and he had a good place to start, too. The GT500 is dressed out for action with the Shelbyized 428 4V, four-speed, power steering, power disc brakes, and a now-missing 3.00 rear gear. We say now-missing because Mike chucked it in favor of a 3.50 rear gear. The Shelby also came equipped with the fabled 10 spokes that Mike has dressed out with repop rubber. Inside, Mike sits in comfort in front of the air conditioning and the black Deluxe interior behind the optional tilt wheel. As nice as the car is, he says he still isn't finished. "I want to really detail the undercarriage and do the front suspension-coils and all-back to original," says Mike.

What's funny is that this Shelby was supposed to be a driver, something like the first Mustang Mike owned. What's really stunning is that Mike's first Mustang wasn't any more common than the present beast. In 1969, his first pony ride was a Tasca-prepped '68 1/2 428 Cobra Jet GT fastback that Mike bought used from Tasca Ford. The GT's first owner was Bob Tasca Jr., son of the East Providence, Rhode Island, performance king. "I didn't realize what I had," says Mike. "The car was just a really fast car back then." Mike remembers that he flogged the car fairly hard while racing, apparently terrorizing the locals. There was even an incident where he drove in the wrong direction in the Thayer Street Tunnel. "If we'd met a bus, I would have had to find Reverse pretty quickly," says Mike through his infectious grin.

Amazingly, outside of a 426 hemi-powered 'Cuda and a Pontiac Bonneville, he rarely lost a race. Wait a sec, a Bonneville? Yep. It seems that Mike used his black-on-black GT as a battering ram on the nose of a Pontiac. Both cars lost.

Short of finding that car again, he has settled on this Shelby. "I wanted one back in 1969, but they were $4,800-the GT was only $3,800." As we said before, Mike's goal was a nice driver, so out came the engine for a rebuild at Regional Performance Machine. Bob Little took care of all the details that went into making this car a fast, reliable performer. Mike also put his considerable talents to work smoothing the fiberglass and sheetmetal on the former California resident. After all this was completed, he applied an Acapulco Blue with white stripe Sikkens basecoat/clearcoat finish.

Clearly, the Shelby wasn't the first power Mike ever experienced, but it is certainly the second best thing to the first.