Sunday, May 06, 2007

Something old... Something new

I have said it before but keeping up with today's technology is really something. I remember as a young boy what was considered high tech as opposed to today's high tech and all I can saw is Wow! It's amazing how far technology has brought about so much horsepower in such few years. And it's even more amazing when you realize that back in the 60's if you wanted horsepower you just built a bigger motor. Nowadays it's clear to see the bigger is better mentality is all but history. Instead of finding heavy boat anchor big blocks many high performance engines are of a far smaller caliber many of which have far more horsepower than was to be found in the big blocks of yesteryear.

The horsepower department is not the only area that has succumbed to the advances of technology. Everything from stopping power, tire quality, suspension and anything else imaginable have been improved upon. But then we must also take into consideration the time old tradition of respect for the works that got the ball rolling. It was those very same big blocks that tore up the tracks that got everyone's adrenaline flowing and in turn got some folks asking questions like, "Hmm, what can I do to make this thing just a little faster than the other guy?" And don't forget records. Records are the icing on the cake. They are how the score is kept and what good is horsepower if it doesn't serve a purpose or make a statement? A few years ago a friend of mine asked Carroll Shelby if the Viper would ever be as famous as it's predecessors like the GT350, GT500 and the AC Cobras. His reply was, "Absolutely not. The Viper is one hell of a car and one I am proud to have been part of but it will never make a statement like the Shelby's from the 60's have. Back then there was a sanctioned race being run almost every weekend where the bragging rights between Ford, GM and the rest were being put to the test. This was war and as the records show the Shelby's made the statement and took those bragging rights many of which still stand to this day. Since there are not the numbers of races that there used to be, the Viper will never make such a statement or deserve such honors. The Viper is just a hot rod, it's just that simple." Having owned a Viper GTS coupe at the time Carroll said that I must say it was a little hard to swollow. That is until it sunk in as to who just said it and who am I to argue?

Since I am one of the few original owners of a rare Shelby GT500 I respect the tradition that accompanies the name and am more than proud to look back at my personal involvement with the Shelby heritage and history. At the same time I can't think of a car that has been more exciting than the GT350 that I am presently building. While the majority of this car is built on the exact same foundation as was the case back in the 60's, much of it is finding little items here and there that bring out the real beast using today's technology. Old school meets new school if you will. I have a suspicion that guys like myself share many of the same dreams and visions that Carroll Shelby did. When I close my eyes not only can I hear my little white GT350 screaming at 7000 RPM but I can see the road from the driver's seat as the windy, twisty mountain roads of Mexico go flashing by in a blur. I can't help but know that Carroll is smiling with all the satisfaction that any one man can ever have.

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