Under The Hood 4

Paxson 1Paxson 2

Tom Paxson
1967 GT500 & 2006 Ford GT

Like most " Car guys " my fascination with the cars started when I was a young kid. My earliest Shelby memory took place when I was about 7 or 8 years old. While riding in my parents car on 15th street in Allentown I noticed a car ahead of us. It looked sort of like a Mustang to me but it said what I thought at the time was SHELLY across the back. What's a Shelly I remember thinking. Funny how that little memory has stuck with me all these years.

Around 1975 I became friends with a kid who had a 69 Mach 1 with a 390 and an automatic. His dad had bought it new at Bethlehem Ford. I would get picked up every morning for high school in it. Then in 1978 I was able to save up enough money ($750 ) from working at the bowling alley to buy my very own 1968 Mustang GT fastback. It was Gulfstream Aqua and had a 390 & automatic. My friend and I raced each other ALL the time! We both drove our cars to SAAC 4 in Downingtown in1979. That's where I saw my very first 427 Cobra driving down Route100. Wow, was that something awesome for me to see. I remember that convention was during the second gas crisis in the U.S. and you could only buy gas every other day according to the last number of your license plate, even or odd . The night before we left I filled up the tank with as much as I could possibly cram in there. The next day I found, since I had parked on a hill and it was a really hot day, all that extra gas was now leaking out of the pop open gas cap on to the street behind the car. Remember I was only driving from Allentown to Downingtown, which seems crazy to worry about but If I didn't have enough gas to make it back home I could not get any gas since it was not my day to buy any! That Mustang turned out to be the first of the 34 Mustangs I have owned since.

In 1982 my friend and I were excited about going to SAAC 7 and running the open track at Pocono. I still had my 68 now with a 427 / 4spd with 2-4bbl with headers and my friend, now with a 70 Boss 302, and leaving from Allentown, pretty much raced each other most of the way to the track. When the next edition of the Shelby American Marque came out after the convention, one of the pictures was of the pit lane and my car was one of them in the picture!

In 1983 I found an original paint 70 Boss 302, a Grabber Blue 4.30 car. I cleaned up the engine compartment and put some fat new 50 series Radial TAs tires on it. About a year later I listed that car for sale in the Morning Call. A few guys came to look at it. One of those guys turned out to be our very own Gary Miller! Gary as you may have read elsewhere on here ended up finding and buying his 68 Shelby instead of buying my Boss. He still owns that car today. I sold my Boss to Lynn Keck, son of famous Cobra racer Hal Keck.

My first Shelby inspired car was a 66 Sunbeam Tiger Mk 1A. It was listed for sale in " Super Ford " magazine up in Binghamton, NY. I drove up there with my Dad in his 71 Olds and since the Tiger was not running we used a rented tow bar and a universal clamp on "bumper mounted" tow hitch, we flat towed that car all the way back to Allentown! After buying and selling more Mustangs over the next 10 years or so which also now included some late model Mustangs, in 1995 I bought an ERA Cobra to build. It was also around this time that I got a letter in the mail from a Dan Reiter, informing me that a regional club of the SAAC was being formed and I, of course, joined right away and have been an active member ever since. Through the Club I have met many great people, Dan R, Dan K, Dominic & Diana, Dan & Anna, Brett & Bobbi, Bill P, Bill C., Jay Talbot and Gary Miller (for the second time really ) just to name a few.

In 1999 I was able to find my first real Shelby, a 67 GT500, #2678 and over the course of the next 3 years I was able to restore it back to its former greatness. I even managed find the cars original owner who came to see the car at its first show at the First Pa. Mustang Club's Coopersburg car show in 2002. There was also an article about #2678 in issue 71 of the Shelby American. The next few years found me winning the popular vote at SAAC 34 and loaning it to the America on Wheels museum in Allentown for their muscle car display. In 2010 I traded it for the 06 Ford GT I have and enjoy today.