I have been a raving fan of Mustangs and Shelbys from the day the Mustang was first unveiled. At that time I was living in Woodland Hills, CA. My father was a physician in the military, and had just been sent to Vietnam as a Battalion Surgeon for the 1st Cavalry. Luckily, but some stroke of good fortune, he came back alive - but he was a changed person. For the first time in his life he began to look a our politicians with an ever greater sense of concern. Many of them were fools, but now they were acting in a foolish way that was causing us to drain our nation of precious blood from young citizens for a country whose citizens were not willing to fight for their own freedom.
Living in SoCal, in a suburb of Los Angeles we saw Mustangs EVERYWHERE. And once in a while we would see a Shelby (68 and earlier). The only 1969 - 1970 Shelby I saw "in the wild," was when I was 19. It was a 1969 White GT500 with blue stripes in 1973 or so, on Ventura Blvd, Encino, CA. It was absolutely drop dead gorgeous. I knew at that moment that somehow, someday, I was going to have one of those beautiful cars. But, at the time they were still incredibly costly, and obviously very rare. In high school I had a Candyapple Red 1969 Mustang HardTop/Coupe, and in early college I had a 1969 Mustang Mach 1. That was as close as I would get to a Shelby for a very long time, but it was plenty good enough for me at the time.
It took me over 45 years, but I finally found a 1969 GT500 with factory air and in my preferred color of Candyapple Red. I flew a Shelby Expert from Florida to Ottawa, Canada, to inspect and validate it as being a real Shelby, and in a condition that was represented by the seller. I got a glowing report back, after which I arranged for the purchase funds to be staged for a wire transfer, and Lynda (wife) and I drove up to see the Shelby. Longer story cut short, we purchased it, happily, and never ground the seller on the fair price he set for it. We have not one regret
Over the next few years we also acquired a 1973 Mach 1, a 1973 Mustang Convertible, a 1997 Honda Del Sol SI, and finally a 2020 Shelby GT500. Our stables are full, there is no extra room in the corral for any more pony/muscle/sports cars (shame, as I would LOVE to have a 1971 Boss 351). We have what I feel is an ideal mix of four really nice pony cars.
I started off my post-high school years studying Auto Repair at a local college, earning an A.S. in Auto Repair Technology. From there I went into the Army where I learned to work on all kinds of tactical vehicles. Following my 3 year enlistment I want back to school (night school) under the G.I. Bill while working full time at a Ford dealership, specializing in Automatic Transmission repair, then later in Tune-up, Performance and System Diagnosis, Electrical and Electronic system, Noise-Harshness-Vibration, Emission Control Systems, Electronic Ignition, Electronic (Computer) Engine Control, and TurboCharging system.
A few years later i was hired by the Automobile Club Of Southern California (ACSC, AAA) as a Corporate Liaison, representing Club Members who had their vehicles repaired at any number of repair facilities under contract with our Garage Approval Program. By the time I left ACSC I had 72 repair facilities, to include dealerships, in the Riverside and San Bernardino counties, that I was responsible for supervising in the Garage Approval Program.
I then fell into the computer industry, working as a Marketing Manager for a company that specialized in providing computer solutions to automobile dealerships. It was the perfect place for me to be where I could use the skills and knowledge I had in auto repair and dealership operations to help provide useful applications for dealerships. But after 5 years, while preparing for yet another merger, I was set free.
I took my severance package and used it to fund the creation of my own consultancy where I created specialized programs that helped the dealerships automatically retrieve raw data from their in-house computer system, then translated the raw data into information for spreadsheets and databases with analytical and marketing capabilities not seen or heard of until I got into that sector. And after nearly 30 years I was forced into medical retirement due to the impact of several life saving surgeries after a bout with brain cancer back in 2018.
I now spend my time in quiet retirement tinkering with, working on, driving, and showing our collection of pony/muscle/sports cars during Car Season (we live in Snow Country, Western Upstate NY, Rochester area). During Winter Hibernation I spend a lot of time looking over the various posts by fellow enthusiasts, seeking to help diagnose or repair problems on First Generation Mustangs. I continue to help others during Car Season also, but to a lesser degree due to the involvement we have with our own cars.
Lynda (wife) is a Mustang/Shelby Chick, and even lets me order car parts in her name! She is often with me when I am working on our old cars, and helps me create video recording on how to diagnose and repair these older Mustangs and Shelbys. I am usually involved with any number of Facebook Mustang and Shelby Groups, 7173Mustangs.com, and have a channel on YouTube.com (Gilbert Hale).