Jim Smart
June 1, 2002
Photos By: Jeff Ford

Orange County. Sounds like a nice place, doesn't it? Well, that depends on which Orange County you're thinking of. Orange County, California, is one of the most desirable places in California. The weather is pretty stellar most of the time. Drive a short distance to Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm. Richard Nixon retired here.

There's a lot of history in Orange County, Virginia, which is named for the Prince of Orange, who married Princess Anne, daughter of King George II, in 1734. President Zachary Taylor was born here and President James Madison also once lived here.

Orange County, Vermont, is a spot also rich in history right in the heart of the state. In fact, the locals are so serious about history that they have a genealogical Web site dedicated to families who have lived and died here. Your family roots could be right here on the east side of Vermont.

In south central Indiana you'll find Orange County and the community of French Lick. Orange County, Indiana, is a place you pass through on your way to Indianapolis if you're coming from Kentucky or Tennessee. The Orange County, Indiana, courthouse is a striking piece of architecture-very heartland America.

Orange County, Florida, home of Walt Disney World, flirts with the Atlantic Ocean a short distance away. Like Orange County, California, the weather here is pleasant most of the time. Those summer afternoon thunderstorms offer local residents and visitors the most spectacular lightning displays in the U.S. In fact, lightning strikes the ground here more often than anywhere else in the nation.

Believe it or not, New York state has an Orange County too. In fact, Orange County, New York, is one of the oldest counties in the United States, founded in the 1600s. Talk about old. Talk about rich in history. Like Orange County, Virginia, Orange County, New York, was named for the Prince of Orange, but apparently a different Prince of Orange, who married Mary, destined for the throne of England in 1689. They both ran the show a very long time ago.

And finally, there's Orange County, North Carolina, deemed the best place to live in the South by Money Magazine. It's also a great place to start a business. Orange County, North Carolina, is home to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is the first university in America, founded in 1789.

William Lamb has his own little rolling Orange County-this Competition Orange '69 Shelby GT500 SportsRoof. Call this blistering ride a county mounty because it rules the road wherever it goes. William's passion for Shelbys dates back to his youth when he owned a Competition Orange '69 GT500 like this one. When he learned about this one two years ago, which had been stored with a Shelby convertible since 1977, he approached the owner about selling. The owner was willing to sell both cars as a package deal. Because William couldn't afford both cars, he looked to his Shelby mentor, Dennis Crow, who bought the convertible.

When William brought this car home, it was knee-deep in dust and cobwebs. The odometer read just 13,000 miles. Everything was there, virtually undisturbed. Car Crafters in Mokena, Illinois, worked the body and did a splendid repaint. The rest of the car needed only minor restoration work. Today, William's GT500 is a textbook example of what he shared with his mother, June, during his youth. June passed away in March of 1999, the victim of an apparent brain aneurysm. But her sweet, loving memories remain for William. Ironically, this car's build date is June 10, his mother's birthday. Because William married his high school sweetheart, Leslie, 27 years ago, she remembers the original Comp Orange ride well.

William credits his good friend Dennis Crow, with his good fortune. "My good friend and mentor, Dennis Crow, has and will always be my rock. He is always there to answer my questions." Bernie Doty is another cherished friend who has been very helpful.

As you might imagine, William has been successful on the show circuit. There's nothing quite like the visual and spiritual impact of a classic Mustang like this one. The powerful 428 Cobra Jet engine with a close-ratio Top Loader and 3.50:1 Traction-Lok gears set the rubber ablaze with minimal effort. But demonstrations of speed aren't what this Shelby is about. It's about special memories shared with two loved ones long ago, sweet memories in a place called Orange County.