Of Ford GT’s and the “Gumball Rally” 427 Shelby Cobra…

While still under the cover of darkness, I made my way south on the 5 freeway towards Cars&Coffee / Irvine on Saturday morning March 3. As I neared Irvine, I noticed in my rear view mirror a pair of headlights closing quickly. And in a matter of seconds, a low slung, black Ford GT with white stripes and large white meatball with a black number 2 centered on its door was right next to me. As we continued south, the driver accelerated and pulled ahead by about 3 car lengths. Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, a California Highway Patrol cruiser with yellow lights flashing passed me and took up a position right behind the black Ford GT. And instead of pulling over, the Ford GT continued southbound with the CHP right on its bumper. While watching this event unfold in front of me, I heard a loud rumble, and looked over to see a bright yellow Ford GT  pull up beside me, also watching the events ahead. We continued south, running side by side, and watching the CHP and Black Ford GT running nose to tail for about a mile.  And then the strangest thing happened. The CHP cruiser pulled out, passing the black Ford GT, and sped away with its lights still flashing ( guess it was the Ford GT owners lucky day). The yellow Ford GT then picked up his pace, and with a single upshift, spit a pair of blue fireballs out of it dual exhaust, and began accelerating away from me. But I had already dropped down a gear, and accelerated to match his pace.  I tucked in behind him and we ran like this all the way to the freeway off-ramp, where I was once again treated to a light show of blue colored fireballs erupting from the exhaust with each downshift. By the time we arrived at the parking lot entrance to Cars&Coffee, I immediately knew what the featured make of car would be for the day. Both the black and yellow Ford GT’s were soon waived into the reserved parking lot, to join the cars already on display. After finding a parking space, and having consumed my breakfast, with camera in hand, it was time to head out and see what amazing cars Saturday morning had in store…

Black with white stripes #2 Ford GT_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12

Walking through the Ford display area, I encountered the Black Ford GT with white stripes and racing number that I had watched being stalked on the freeway earlier that morning by the CHP…

Black with white stripes #2 Ford GT_view of motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 Gulf color schemed #88 Ford GT_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12

The yellow fender showing in this image above, belongs to the fire-ball spitting GT 40 that I shadowed on my way to the show that morning…

Gulf color schemed #88 Ford GT_View of motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 Gulf color schemed #88 Ford GT_Top view of motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 Gulf color schemed #88 Ford GT_ view of motor through rear deck window_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 Gulf color schemed #88 Ford GT_ 3/4 rear view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 A second Gulf colored Ford GT_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 A second Gulf colored Ford GT_fender mounted mirror reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 A second Gulf colored Ford GT _w/Gurney Weslake motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 Red Ford GT with black center wheels_3/4 front view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 Red Ford GT with black center wheels_side view_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 Red Ford GT with black center wheels_engine compartment_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 Red Ford GT with black center wheels_detail of Gurney Weslake motor_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12 Red Ford GT with black center wheels_3/4 rear view with opened rear deck_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12

Intermingled with the Ford GT’s were other Ford powered vehicles, ranging from Shelby Cobras, Sunbeam Tigers and an assortment of Pantera’s.

One of the standouts from the Shelby Cobra’s gathered that morning was this Guardsman Blue, 1966 427 Shelby Cobra seen below. What made this car even more unique, was the role it played in the 1976 movie “The Gumball Rally”. For those of you that remember the film, yes, this is the actual Guardsman Blue, 427 Shelby Cobra featured throughout the movie.

1966 427 Shelby Cobra_Guardsman Blue_Gumball Rally movie car_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12

1966 427 Shelby Cobra_Guardsman Blue_Gumball Rally movie car_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12

1966 427 Shelby Cobra_Guardsman Blue_biography_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12

The current owner had even included a biography on the car as shown above, highlighting its history and involvement in “The Gumball Rally”…

1966 427 Shelby Cobra_Guardsman Blue_trunk reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12

1966/67 427 Shelby Cobra_Guardsman Blue_rear view & reflections_Cars&Coffee/Irvine_3/3/12

 Even the Cobra’s license plate was a clue to this cars identity for those in the know. Now all that was missing was a red Ferrari 365 Daytona Spyder and “Franco”…

(All photos by the author)

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