In the spring of 2005, I heard that the Shelby American Automobile Club's (SAAC) annual convention was being held at California Speedway in Fontana, CA. This event, known as SAAC-30, would be a great opportunity to watch the G.T. 350s, as well as other Shelby vehicles, in action. Over the years, I had not thought too much about our family G.T. 350 due to a busy work schedule, raising a family and working in ministry at our church. Prior to heading to SAAC-30, I decided to review the "Friends of the Club" page at the Nor Cal Shelby Club website to see if I could find someone to ask how one might go about a restoration project. I decided to contact Jeff Dunn at Golden West Shelby in Hayward, CA to discuss the restoration project. In addition, I contacted Jerry Lecatsas at ABC Mustang to discuss rebuilding the engine and transmission. My 12-year old son decided to accompany me on that July weekend trip to southern California. Right before we left, I decided to embark on a mini adventure of sorts; to wade through the stuff in the garage to where 6S289 had sat for almost 28 years so I could grab the glove box door. This was just in case I could have Carroll Shelby sign it. After spending three days at SAAC-30, walking around all of those cars and watching the track events, I started getting more serious about restoring 6S289. While at SAAC-30, Jeff and I talked more about the restoration project. Oh, yeah, Carroll Shelby did sign the glove box door (see photo to right).
During the second week of August 2005, we rolled 6S289 out of the garage and trailered it to Golden West to begin what turned out to be an 18-month project. As the project progressed, Jeff and his colleague, Chris Canadian, proved to me that I made the right decision in having them restore 6S289 by the amazing job they were doing. The project was a frame-off restoration except for the dash, radio and the all-important Shelby ID plate, which remained in place on the drivers-side inner front fender panel using the original rivets installed in October 1965.
During the project, many of the original components were refreshed/restored and were subsequently reused on the car. These items include the original drivetrain, Cragar wheels (all 5), seats/seatbelts, dash, Koni Shocks (rebuilt by Koni) and much more. The Blaupunkt Marine/AM/FM radio, which consists of two components, as well as the electric antenna were installed prior to the delivery from Shelby. These items no doubt were installed due to the request by Russ Goebel to have something other than the standard radio. Another non-standard item on 6S289 is the Toploader transmission. Russ and my dad confirmed that they had never had the transmission changed. Russ added that he now knows what Shelby meant when said that he had installed a "special shifter" in this car. As the restoration progressed, I found myself spending more time at Golden West, watching 6S289 transform into a thing of beauty.
The restoration was finally completed in February 2007. Soon after this, we had a reunion of sorts when Russ, his wife, my mom and Pete Lyons (www.petelyons.com) of AutoWeek converged on Golden West to celebrate the completion of 6S289's restoration. We have been enjoying 6S289 ever since.
All owners (except for my dad) of 6S289. R to L - Russ, Russ' wife, my mom and myself. Restoration team in rear. May, 2007 - soon after restoration.
Carroll Shelby shaking my son's hand right after signing 6S289's glove box door at SAAC-30.
Original Koni shocks rebuilt by Koni. Notice 7 65 (July '65) stamp on shock.
Original Blaupunkt M/AM/FM radio in dash and below ashtray. Original electric antenna switch below lighter.
One of the five original Cragar wheels, which were delivered on the car and remain on the car today.
Original engine with original Holley 715 CFM carb in place.
Click on photos to enlarge