Carroll Shelby’s 95th birthday celebrated at Petersen Automotive Museum Cruise In

photos by Kirk Gerbracht; double click on any photo to see full screen

Carroll Hall Shelby was born January 11, 1923, and passed away May 10, 2012, meaning that were he still alive today, he’d have recently turned 95. Los Angeles’ world famous Petersen Automotive Museum, with certain of its monthly breakfast cruise-ins, chooses to celebrate birthdays rather than memorials, and did so January 27, 2018, in honor of Carroll’s 95th.
These huge events fill the Petersen’s rooftop parking structure to capacity, in this case with hundreds of Mustangs (nearly all of them Shelbys) plus a plethora of Cobras.

LA Region SAAC members gather on the rooftop to celebrate everything Shelby

It was a joint event sponsored by the museum, Shelby American, the Shelby American Automobile Club of Los Angeles, and a few Shelby dealers. Bagels and coffee stood in for birthday cake this particular day, with the weather and the turnout both being spectacular.

Legends, Heroes, and Friends: from left, Robert E. Petersen, Carroll Shelby and serious car guy, actor, and sports car racer Tim Allen

Three owners from new for this GT350: Carroll Shelby, Robert E. Petersen, and now the Petersen Automotive Museum

Shelby and the Museum’s Founder and namesake, publishing magnate, the late Robert E. Petersen, were friends for 50 years. Mr. Petersen’s magazines (including HOT ROD, Motor Trend, Sports Car Graphic, and CAR CRAFT to name only a few) often featured many of Carroll’s racing and carbuilding exploits, and Mr. Petersen over time owned at least a pair of Shelby Mustangs. Interestingly, the Museum’s permanent collection includes one of those cars, a ’69 GT350 coupe that’s only had two owners: Carroll Shelby and Robert E. Petersen.

Lynn “Mr. Cobra” Park was on hand with several of his cars, as were many other local Shelby owners and collectors – tribute and CSX continuation Cobras proved just as welcome as originals built back in the day. There was also one each Shelby Series I and a Sunbeam Tiger on hand, but curiously none of the cars Shelby produced in partnership with Chrysler – no Shelby Dodges or Omnis. But there were several Ford GTs to further wow the crowd.
Carroll’s 100th birthday is only five years away, so we wonder what the Petersen Automotive Museum will come up with to celebrate that. It’s hard to tell, but we know we’ll be there.

Stay up to date on all the happenings at The Petersen at

Oh please don’t leave, lots more photos below…

Silver over red is an always elegantly perfect color combo for an early Cobra (or most anything else for that matter!)

Uber desirable, even among Shelby Mustangs, is the 1966 GT350H

Barnfindy looking ’70 Mach I was very original, complete, and nicely optioned. Drive or restore as you wish.

IMHO one of the best Mustangs ever whipped up by Steve Saleen is the Saleen Parnelli Jones Edition Boss 302 of 2005

Double. Yum

Always toys on hand for kids of all ages

Yes, this is my own 2008 Shelby GT convertible, but it was nice they gave me such great parking for bringing it

Only one Shelby Series 1 on hand this day; a car which Carroll was ultimately very proud of

Among my very favorite early small-block Cobras is the 289 “FIA” racing model

This made me a little weepy, and not in good ways

Rock around the Big-Block Clock

Got carbs?

Grabber Blue is never wrong on a Boss, Mach or late model Mustang

Talk about a Vroom with a View

Some Snakepit

New Ford GT, courtesy Galpin Auto Sports, drew and appreciative crowd

The new Petersen Automotive Museum is without question among the world’s greatest car museums. Photo by David Zaitz