Jerry Heasley
April 6, 2013

Fadi Cherfane never intended to collect late-model Shelbys. His enthusiasm just carried him in that direction, with one car purchase leading to the next, and the next, and the next...

Having seen Cherfane at Shelby Bashes over the past several years, we became acquainted and he invited me to visit his collection during last year’s Team Shelby Northeast 50th Celebration. Sam Trout, Shelby American’s logistics coordinator, arrived the same day to deliver three more Shelby Mustangs to Fadi’s collection. After Sam pulled up at Cherfane’s home in the Shelby tractor/trailer rig, he laughed and told me, 'We call this place 'Shelby East.’"

I could understand the name. In preparation for photos, Cherfane had parked most of his Shelby collection on his front lawn and along the two-lane brick driveway, creating a scene that looked more like a Shelby club meeting. Instead, one man owned all these Shelbys. I counted 16 Mustangs, plus a 50th anniversary Cobra and a Super Snake pickup.

Some of the cars looked familiar, like the red GT 500 Super Snake that had served as a pace car for the NASCAR races, including the Shelby 427, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2009. Later, I checked my files and found a photo I snapped of the car on the track. There was Cherfane, standing beside this same "Official Pace Car" GT 500 Super Snake

I also noticed a silver ’08 GT 500KR lettered with race track decals. It had been a grand marshal car for the 2010 NASCAR races in Las Vegas, including the "Shelby American" on Sunday, February 28. Cherfane had shipped the silver GT 500KR to Las Vegas where Shelby American added the KR Upgrade with a bigger supercharger and brakes, plus cooling and interior updates. Cherfane was happy to go along with the track’s request to use the KR for grand marshal duties.

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Cherfane pointed to another Shelby in his collection, a Grabber Orange GT 500 Super Snake, CSM 08SS0002P. "This car was originally owned by former Shelby American President Amy Boylan," he told me. "It was the first 427 built (referring to the 427 NASCAR package in recognition of the Shelby NASCAR 427 race) and the car used in the movie Death Race 2000."

Enthusiasts may recall that the Shelby NASCAR race that year was 427 miles long, so Shelby American developed a commemorative "Shelby 427 Special Edition Package." Fadi added it to all of his GT 500 Super Snakes and KRs.

Cherfane opened the trunk and pulled out a copy of the 2008 Shelby Annual with this same Grabber Orange Shelby on the cover. Now I felt like I was looking at an old friend because I had taken that cover shot and also driven Amy’s Shelby around the road course on the grounds of Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Earlier this year, Shelby American called on Cherfane to bring the colorful Super Snake to a party in New York City during the introduction of David Yurman’s Revolution Shelby 1000 Limited Edition Watch. Team Shelby Northeast director John Keller attended with his Shelby GT350 and Jenni Shreeves from The Carroll Shelby Foundation brought a 50th Anniversary Cobra. When the party ended, Cherfane was more than happy to store the Cobra at his home. "Shelby East" was starting to make more sense.

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As Cherfane described each of the Shelbys parked in front of his house, I was encouraged to hear him say, "I’m not hiding them, I’m showing them. These are great vehicles. People need to see them."

Cherfane is a car person by hobby and by profession. Born in Lebanon in 1966, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1986 with the intention of attending school to become a medical doctor. His dream got sidetracked when he "took an interest in the car industry." Instead of attending medical school, he decided to major in automotive technology.

The Shelby world is the better for this decision.

Busy starting his own business, Cherfane did not discover Shelby Mustangs until 2007. He spent years developing his business, Elite Auto Service, a family-run shop in Pennsauken, New Jersey, that employs 18 technicians in a large and modern facility.

"We work on high-end vehicles," Cherfane explained. "Our specialty is foreign cars—Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Rolls Royce."

Cherfane might have been working on expensive foreign cars, but his personal interest, as an enthusiast and collector, started with older American musclecars. His first Mustang was a ’70 hardtop, a car that he restored.

The master technician and entrepreneur purchased his first Shelby Mustang, a new GT 500, in 2007 from his local dealer, Rice & Holman Ford in Mount Laurel. In 2008, he sent the car to Shelby American for installation of the Super Snake and 427 NASCAR Edition packages. Shelby American chose the car to become one of four pace cars for the Shelby 427 NASCAR race.

Enthused with the brand and the legacy of Carroll Shelby, Cherfane kept buying more Shelby Mustangs. At this writing, he is awaiting his order for an aluminum body 50th Anniversary Cobra, a 50th Anniversary GT 350 and Super Snake, and a Shelby 1000 S/C.

"I wouldn’t be so involved with the Mustang if it wasn’t for Shelby. I took a lot of interest in the Shelby name, which made the Mustang more unique and more exciting."

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