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East Texas Shelby Cobra Tour to Bring Automotive Wildlife to Legend's Hometown

DALLAS, July 11 -- East Texas will shake under the roar of a horde of Shelby Mustangs, Cobras and various vintage high-performance Ford- powered cars during the Shelby Cobra Association of Texas' rally from October 18-20, 2002. Named the "Texas 289," the event will honor Carroll Shelby, the East Texan who became a celebrated racecar driver and one of the most influential automobile manufacturers in the world, with a tour beginning in Dallas, a parade, a car show and other festivities.

"We invite automotive enthusiasts to join us for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said S.C.A.T. President Mark Winkelman. "We'll take a scenic tour of Carroll Shelby's home grounds on great East Texas roads and sample fantastic Texas barbeque on his famous ranch. It'll be a full day of fun in vintage Ford and Shelby cars. Due to limited space, only the first 75 vehicles can be accepted. As Shelby has so many friends and fans, we expect Texas 289 registration to sell out quickly."

Born in Leesburg, Texas, Carroll Shelby is an American legend. He was one of the United States' most prolific racecar drivers, enjoying success in virtually every sports car and formula series in the world. In 1959, he won the famous 24-hours of Le Mans and was named Sports Car Illustrated's "Driver of the Year." Shelby was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1992.

After a heart ailment cut short his racing career, he founded "Shelby American" in 1962. There, he created the renowned Cobra sports car, one of the most significant cars of the last 50 years. He is still making automotive history with the Shelby Series 1 sports car and new Cobras.

"The Cobra launched Shelby into international stardom and earned him the right to sit next to automotive icons such as Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet and Walter Chrysler," stated Shelby's longtime friend, automotive fine artist Bill Neale. "His vision of the automobile changed the industry by rewriting the rules for sports cars. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Cobra and 25th anniversary of the S.C.A.T. Texas Nationals, which seems like an appropriate time to honor the ole' rascal in his hometown. Thanks to the efforts of Carroll's son Mike Shelby, we'll be able to do that this October."

The weekend will start on Friday night, October 18, with a social hour at the host hotel, Hampton Inn and Suites in Garland, Texas. The next morning, a caravan of cars will take a scenic cruise from Dallas to Carroll Shelby's hometown of Pittsburg, Texas, for a parade, car show and ceremony honoring the legendary driver and sports car manufacturer. The Texas 289 will then drive to Carroll Shelby's private ranch for food and festivities.

The caravan will return to Dallas by a different route on Saturday afternoon in time for relaxation and preparation for the Texas Nationals car show on Sunday. This show, which is open to Shelbys and Ford-powered vehicles, will be held at the host hotel.

Cobras, Shelby Mustangs, Panteras, Sunbeam Tigers and Mustangs are expected to take part in the event. All vehicles must have been manufactured prior to 1975 and be Ford-powered.

"Carroll Shelby is probably the only person to have worked at a visible level with all three of the American automobile manufacturers," noted Neale. "His charisma, vision and ability to know the best person for the job have made him into a master organizer and team leader able to produce results. I can't think of a better tribute to Shelby than to drive the cars he built through the hilly East Texas countryside that inspired him to become a racing legend."

Registration is now open. Additional information is available at , by e-mailing or by calling Susan Morris at (972) 289-4336.