A Tale of Two ‘Shelby’ Continentals

Aaron Shelby has two Lincoln Continentals a half-century apart in his home garage.

He purchased a 2017 Continental a little over a year ago and he bought a 1967 model at a recent Bonhams auction.  He says he loves both cars but has a sentimental connection to the older model.  That’s because the car was owned ever since it was brand new by Shelby’s grandfather, the legendary Carroll Shelby.

“I’m still trying to track down some of the details but I believe Ford gave it to him as a marketing vehicle.  I’ve got a copy of the registration tag that says, ‘Ford Motor Company Shelby’s Lincoln’ on it,” said Shelby, the eldest of the automotive icon’s six grandchildren.  “I thought it was something neat to have and to continue in the family.”

The ’67 Continental was one of two dozen vehicles from Carroll Shelby’s personal collection put up for auction by his estate.  Shelby says he believes it held an important place in his grandfather’s heart.

“He had so many vehicles over his lifetime that he bought and sold, and he didn’t seem to have much emotional attachment to any of them.  But for some reason, this car stayed in his ownership from day one,” said Shelby.  “It had to be something special that went back to his relationship with Ford I would guess.”

The light blue Continental has only 61,000 miles on it, so it wasn’t driven much over the last 50 years.  Shelby says he plans to change that.

“I’m going to drive it. That’s for sure,” he said.  “I’m not going to do any cross-country road trips, but my wife and kids are already excited about getting out and running around in it.”

Shelby says the car is in good shape.

“It runs well,” he said.  “There are a few small electrical things that need to get fixed but overall it’s been well maintained and it runs really nicely.”

Shelby says he had to take measurements to make sure the vehicle would fit in his garage.

“In today’s world it is a long car.  It’s 18.5 feet long,” he said.  “It fits in my garage but just barely.”

When asked what he thought his grandfather would say about him buying the car, Shelby says he can imagine two potential responses.   

“In one scenario I think he would just say what the heck are you buying an old car for,” chuckled Shelby, recollecting his grandfather’s sense of humor.  “At the end of the day I think he would be pretty happy about it because he didn’t keep a whole lot of things throughout his life.  He was always of the mantra that what’s new is better.  So I think he would be pleased to see this vehicle stay within the family.”

Shelby says he’s received a lot of compliments from his friends about both Continentals.

“The one thing people say is that they both look fantastic,” he said.  “The new car is so well designed and the ’67 is just as striking.”

Shelby says he was impressed with the 2017 Continental when he first saw it.  

“I’m a banker by trade here in Dallas and I take clients out quite a bit so I wanted to have a car that’s comfortable,” he said.  “So I special ordered one and it came in early last year.  It’s been great.”

In addition to his work as a banker, Shelby serves on the board of Carroll Shelby International and often attends car shows and other events as a representative of the brand.

“It’s one of the most fun things that I do. It’s great to be able to tell Carroll’s story,” he said.  “The part I have the most fun with is really listening to other people’s stories about when they met Carroll.  I knew him as a grandfather but I didn’t know him as well from a car enthusiast perspective when I was growing up.”

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