Vintage Cobras Strike Hearts of 200 Fans


by Olivia Smith, Valley Sun Intern

The driveway of a La Cañada resident held special interest for some 200 members of the Shelby American Auto Club who took part in a day-long bus tour June 30 that stopped here to view a private collection of vintage Cobras.

The aluminum bodies, chassis and undercarriage of 1,000 of the sports cars were built in Great Britain beginning in 1962, then were shipped to California where the engines and transmissions were added, according to La Cañadan Lynn Park, whose 10 Cobras - and five others - were featured on last week’s tour. The Cobra was the concept of the legendary Carroll Shelby, now 82, the driving force behind the racing vehicles.

Club members from around the world admired Park’s collection, which began with his first purchase in 1963. He has been racing Cobras for the past 25 years. “I think of them more as an accumulation rather than a collector’s item,” Park said. “I always love having people over to look at them.”

One couple admiring the local display, Jim and Debbie Vogel, drove cross-country from Pennsylvania for the tour. “We have two Shelby Mustangs at home from ’65 and ‘67,” Debbie Vogel said. Her husband volunteered that Carroll Shelby has signed both of their cars. “I’ve loved cars my entire life and now I can share my passion with my wife,” Jim Vogel said.

Australians Gary Treloar, Steve Jackman, and Rob Williams flew to the Southland from Sydney for this special bus tour. “We drive not only Cobras, but Mustangs as well back home,” they said. “We have belonged to the Shelby Club for the past ten years; however, this is the first time we’ve had the pleasure to travel here.”

La Cañada Flintridge resident Anthony Boosalis, the owner of a blue 427 Cobra valued at $700,000, said he’s loved the cars his entire life. “I decided to buy one before I die and Lynn found the perfect one for me.” The competition racing car has 500 horsepower and weighs 2,300 pounds. “I enjoy taking it for rides to Bob’s Big Boy,” Boosalis said.

Park was clearly enjoying sharing the cars with the visitors. To friends and neighbors dropping by during the tour to take a look at the cars themselves, he said, “The garage is always open.”