• Nov 30, 2007
In the eyes of many automotive enthusiasts, Caroll Shelby is a legend with few peers. His breathed upon Mustangs are so coveted, they routinely sell at auction for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Shelby Cobras are truly special icons of the muscle car era, but when Caroll and Ford parted ways, he left the keys to the Shelby Mustang kingdom to the throngs of enthusiasts and car clubs across North America.
[Source: Mustang Evolution]

The 5,000 member-strong SAAC is a key Shelby club that has used its years of Shelby Mustang knowledge to help both members and non-members ascertain the validity of their 1:1 scale toys. Mr. Shelby had given the club the right to use his name and branding to carry out its duty, but as of January 31, 2008, he's declined to renew the license. Shelby isn't stopping there, either. According to the SAAC (and a letter they say they got from Shelby's legal team) Caroll is also going after all verification data collected by the club since 1996, and he wants to see the club's financial statements during that same span of time. After the lawyers delivered the news to the club, Caroll reportedly trademarked the SAAC name, giving the club little choice but to hire lawyers to fight the onslaught from the patriarch.

Right now we're only getting the SAAC's side of the story, and there seem to be conflicting reports on the net regarding the license cancellation. It's also unknown how much (if any) of the documentation in use by the SAAC was provided to the club by Shelby. The SAAC also profits from said information, which makes any relationship with Shelby all the cloudier. We also have to keep in mind that the agreement was signed through January 2008, and Shelby has every right to simply decline to renew the right to use the Shelby name and property. Regardless of who's at fault and who owns what property, we hope that the 5,000 Shelby-loving members of the SAAC are considered during this entire ordeal.


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  • 16 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I dunno here, I read the letter and it appears to be a standard boiler plate schpiel about Shelby is clearing the books and since this is an ongoing account, it needs to be closed and the "property" of Shebly can then be accounted. Nothing in the letter says a new agreement wouldn't be drafted, it merely says that this current one is not going to be renewed.

      As for Carrol being a "cheap loser", the man is marketing his image and his creations and under US law they are his to do with as he pleases. If he feels that an autographed photo of him is worth 20 bucks, fine because for every photo he signs, how many more are fakes?

      Yes it is always a sad day when the legal pit bulls are let loose but what we're not hearing is how this situation developed, the SAAC very well may just ignored him the first few times as the tone of the letter hints that this was not an out of the blue communication.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's in another blog, but the devil is in the details.
      http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770723007

      Shelby maybe a nice guy to most people, but stuff like this is why he parted with Ford way back--the original Shelby cars were a success, made him a legend and of course all that fame and fortune ended up with him breaking bonds with Ford. An almost 25yr deadzone of Shelby cars incurred until last year.

      History sure loves to repeat itself, and now does with the SAAC. In the end, I'm sure it the lawyers taking inventory of what SAAC has upto the license expiration, so they can track violations after 2008. Then again, lawyers can spin anything so this is a disadvantage to SAAC in their future growth opportunities. This happens a lot in the technology industry. I wouldn't be surprise if Shelby creates his "own" club, to compete with the SAAC for their members' dollars. It will likely be more expensive too (maybe a couple more track days though). Shelby's pretty business savvy to not pass up creating a club himself.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Did you read all the way down to the bottom, where the response from Caroll Shelby is included? Both the SAAC issue and what's going on with his charity are issues that have been reported on, yet still remain rather murky.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Thanks Jay for the link to the NEW club.

        Hmmm.. $49.95? It's a corporate franchise my friends. No more grassroots Shelby clubs!

        And I'm waiting to see >5% grants from his foundation...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Shelby has done nothing wrong. Business is business. He explains why his charities have not given a lot. He is tapping Wells Fargo to manage the funds. There was no "25 year" lull. He produced some great cars for Mopar that embarrassed Mustangs of all breeds on the track.

      The club is for everyone..not just Shelby Mustangs...and if SAAC didn't trademark their name then it is their own stupid fault.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can sympathize with Shelby, having had first hand experience with SAAC's notorious lack of accountability. Many years ago, I interviewed a mid-'60s GT350 race driver for the SAAC magazine. Along with an interview tape, the driver provided a large amount of original factory documentation on race car preperation that SAAC promised to return. Of course the documentation was never seen again, and the racer rightfully blamed me for its loss. These original papers would have great value today.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Shelby is always giving money away to his children's foundation. Those Shelby Series I (or II, whatever) were stupid expensive because most of the profits went to the foundation. I don't see this guy being that stingy. Maybe you were at a charity fundraiser delayedz??

      Let's wait to find out wtf Shelby's side of the story is...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Am I reading this correctly? They've been running this club for 33 years and never got around to having their name trademarked?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Data collected by the club is club property. Think I'll flush my Shelby Chilly Seasoning when I get home. Either that guy is just turning into an old bastard, or he's become senile enough to not have a clue what's going on inside his organization.
      • 7 Years Ago
      that kind of sucks, i had heard/read rumors he was a douche like that. money goes to your head, makes you greedier.
      that and having a girls name has gotta leave you with a piss poor attitude.(not fooling anyone adding the xtra L)
      • 7 Years Ago
      This just in - Special Edition "Official Shelby Club" Mustang to be auctioned off at Barrett Jackson! j/k
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