During my recent business trip I found a flyer of the Shelby American Inc. Factory in Las Vegas. I didn’t even know that they are in Las Vegas and I couldn’t because they just moved there end of 2013 and had the Grand Opening in April 2014. So lucky to have discovered this treasure for me, because I am a big car fan.
As a little kid, I had a built it yourself plastic model of an original Shelby Cobra and years later the Mustang versions appeared in several movies and TV shows like Knight Rider (2008) and Need for Speed.
I set off to discover this place. From the outside, it doesn’t look too special but once you go inside you will see the gift shop to your left and to your right you have all the cars. Some are historic, prototypes and current models just finished production. The first car you will walk by to your right is Cobra #1 also known with the serial number CSX-2000. Everything on the car is original except the paint job and it got polished rims. But you will see the torn apart leather seats and other signs of aging. This was Carroll Shelby’s personal Cobra and it’s now well worth over 26. Mio USD.
The amazing part is, that you get, unlike other car manufacturers, a free factory tour. The tour lasts about 1,5 hours and starts from Monday – Friday at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm as well on Saturday at 10:30 am. The hours for the Heritage Center and retail are currently: Monday through Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 6 pm and on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
At the tour, you get a deep look into Carroll Shelby’s history and how Shelby American came to live. At the end of the tour, you will walk out to a walkway at the factory. There you can see the employees working on cars and if you are lucky you will see one driving by in front of you and hear the engine sound. There are no robots in this plant. Everything is hand-made which is astounding nowadays.
Jim was the host of the group I was with and he is an amazing tour guide. He presents a lot of the facts from his personal experience within the company and is always open if you have any questions. Along the walkway is a wall where you are more than welcome to sign your name on it. You will also find out what the number 350 in GT350 means. I don’t want to tell you all the secrets now. Go there and enjoy the amazing tour.
There is a donation box near the entrance where you can donate to a children’s help found of the Carroll Shelby Foundation. The foundation helps children who need a new heart.
The museum and factory are located just one block at the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. You can combine your trip there and visit the “Welcome to Las Vegas Sign”.
For more photos visit my flickr-album.