Diana L. Duffee
1968 Shelby GT500, Automatic w/Air
Growing up I had the influence of my brother, David, who is six years older than me. He was into Ford muscle cars and knew a bunch of local Shelby and Cobra owners and went to shows and meetings. Unfortunately for me, he did not drag me along but made me very aware of the cars. In 1976 I was looking to purchase my first car. I wanted a reliable car but did not need it to get to work every day since I walked to my job. Started looking at 1976 Mustang IIs and Bobcats (remember them?!?) when I ended up at Barber Ford in West Pittston, PA. I started talking with Barry Pizzano, salesman, and in discussing what I was looking for he realized he knew my brother, David and then told me he had a 1968 Shelby for sale personally and the car was at his house. We met up a few days later at his house and I WANTED that car. Leaving a $100.00 deposit it took me two weeks to find a way to secure a loan for $3,000.00 which I got thanks to the owner of the company I worked for at the time cosigning a loan at his bank. Got me car! Making $2.65 an hour at that job and $2.00 an hour at my waitress job my loan payments were $215.15 a month which was really crazy. I put almost every penny toward paying the loan off in a year to get my boss's name off my title. Finally ALL mine!
I joined the Shelby American Automobile Club a month after buying the car. I took it to a couple of shows and drove it to the Hershey Convention in 1977 for the car show day. Shortly thereafter I noticed I had very little oil pressure only to find out that the oil pump was messed up and now all my main bearings were destroyed. Having very little funds I let the car sit for over 4 years. I finally got the money together and had the motor rebuilt
and put the car back together in time to go to SAAC 7 at Great Gorge, NJ half in primer and half in the red paint I bought it in. In 1981 we finally got the car sorted out and painted. I have had the opportunity to put the car on race tracks, Pocono, Charlotte, Indianapolis Raceway Park, Mid-Ohio, Atlanta doing high speed events with the Shelby Club and did some drag racing with it also.
I met my husband, Dominic Ciliberto, through the Shelby Club having talked at various conventions until we both showed up single in 1991 in Charlotte. We exchanged information at the dinner and he waited two whole days to call me! He had a 1968 GT350, 1967 GT500 and a 1969 454 Corvette. Living 110 miles apart we dated long distance for 18 months until I lost my job. I moved to his location and once I got established and got a full time job we looked to move to have room for the cars to be all in one place. Our love affair with cars grew to 12 Shelbys that were all drivable, licensed and insured buying them by beating on doors and getting people to sell us their cars a reasonable prices. Over the past few years we have sold a few of the Shelbys and picked up other cars to make a more interesting collection. We have restored many of these cars some to concours specs doing most of the work ourselves. Dominic has done the last few cars himself with me not finding time to get out in the garage with him since I am always involved in other things like doing the books for his business after I get done working my full time job. Dominic has been a 1967 Concours judge for the Shelby Club for many years knowing the 1967 & 1968 Shelbys inside and out.
I was heavily involved with the North East PA region of the SCCA doing their newsletter, helping put on hill climb events, autocrossing and hill climbing a Honda CRXsi. I was also heavily involved with the First PA Mustang Club for over 10 years doing their newsletter, registration for their car show in August every year and getting sponsors. I am involved with the National Shelby Club and our local Lehigh Valley Shelby Club doing the car show portion of their events and getting sponsors. Come join the fun with us at our local club meetings, one of our outings and/or our North East Regional event.