PoFoMoCo's 1971 Shelby Europa build October 2022 (ETA Spring 2023)

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I'm in the process of turning my 1971 convertible into a correctly represented 1971 Shelby Europa convertible tribute. While my car will just be a representative tribute, I want it to be accurate and a historically correct version of the original 1971 Shelby convertibles. Yes, I am well aware this type of build is not for everyone, but when it is complete it will be a great looking US representative version for our 71-73 Mustang community.

As I began this project, I discussed this build with a couple of the members here on our board and I have extensively discussed the build with Wolfgang Kohrn. In addition to these conversations, I am actively discussing it with Dr. Harvima as well. Dr. Harvima is a member on our site with the only two authentic and original Shelby Europa convertibles. Here are some pics of the original convertibles. (@ Wolfgang Kohrn, 2014 2022)

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The cars have been featured in the May 2007 edition of Mustang Monthly (@MustangMontly,PrimeMedia,Kohrn,Harvima2007)

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Mr. Kohrn and Dr. Harvima have been very open and gracious to provide detail about the original cars. In return I have provided details and documentation about my convertible in good faith to insure they can document my car as a tribute only, never as a an original imported by Claude Dubois. Mr. Dubois was the official Shelby dealer in Belgium from 1969 thru 1972. As I can't begin to comprehend the difficulty documenting the original Europa mustangs, I am dedicated to ensure they are comfortable with what I am doing. I am also putting it here to help document my car is just a tribute.

Hopefully, my car can shine some light on the small but very special heritage of the Europa Shelby. And, selfishly, no matter how much I desire to own an original Europa convertible, I will only be able to re-create one. But, to the best of my ability to fabricate or find original represented aspects of the car, it will be accurate and believable.

Here is a sample of what I am working on now. Unfortunately some parts and pieces of the original Europa build details can't be replicated (as built) or the parts were only manufactured for the original run for Mr. Dubois. This is my version of the 351 fender bezel and badge. The fender badge is available as a reproduction and the chrome bezel is an original bezel for a 1967 Ford Fairlane GTA. While not 100% perfect, they are a good representation of the original.

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I am also working on fabricating mounting brackets for my original Cibie 35 Airport driving lights that will replace the amber driving lamps in my reproduction Mach 1 grille. Also, with the help and encouragement from AustinVert and 73MustangCoupe, I have fabricated a wiring harness for the driving lights. Here are my lights and basic wiring harness diagram.

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I will post some pics of the lamp brackets and mock-up of the lamps and grille together soon. Here's a pic of the original grille, Cibie lights, and Shelby Cobra emblem from Dr. Harvima's original medium brown metallic convertible. (@Kohrn,2014)

71 Shelby Europa grille.jpg

I will be adding a NASA hood, functional ram-air, 15x7 Shelby Cal 500 slotted mags and Shelby GT350 striping. The stripes will be a Scott Drake 1970 Shelby GT350 stripe kit from Summit, modified to replicate the Shelby Europa stripes. Lastly the biggest hurdle will be an accurate gas cap. This is truly another unicorn part, I will fabricate a close resemblance at best.

Here's a pic of Dr. Harvima's original medium brown metallic convertible with it's special Shelby Cobra gas cap. (@Kohrn,2014)

71 Shelby Europa gas cap.jpg

More to follow over the next 6-8 months.
 
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Here are the brackets that I fabricated to use with my Cibie lights and a simple mock-up to the grille. Hopefully by end of the weekend I will have the brackets installed, the lamps mounted, wiring harness laid out and the grille ready to install. It is a bit hard to see the brackets mocked to the grille, which is a win I believe!
 

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A very ambitious project. Best of luck. Chuck

c9zx, tpj71Mach, Sheriff41, bkdunha ~ Thanks gents. Yes sir, ambitious is a great way to describe it. My wife has another word she likes to use.... :ROFLMAO:

I'm very fortunate to have a great starting place as the car has already gone thru a complete restoration and is very nice as is. The underside looks as good as the topside, the suspension and drive line have been completely rebuilt and the interior is in great condition. There are a few things that need attention, like all of our cars but I don't have any "real" hurdles.

All of my issues will revolve around really simple visual changes and how the car is presented. No doubt, some parts and add-ons for this car will be nearly impossible to replicate, unlike my previously owned '66 GT350 convertible. I have some ideas for the gas cap, it wont be "right" but in the end it'll look nice. Even the stripes are doable, it'll just take some modifications of the SD kit to get the right pieces in place. All good problems to have, right?

Here are some shots of the underside of the car and the SFC's.
 

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Sheriff41

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Looks like you may be missing the hose on your axle housing vent. ;)
 
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I'm working on prepping parts for the Mach 1 grille upfit. I have media blasted the original two grille support pieces, the radiator support brackets as well as the radiator/hood latch bracket. When I made my plan to restore these brackets, my only goal was to make them presentable and to also protect them from weather and rust. I think they turned out pretty good. I was using some detailed pictures of the engine compartment, grille detail and brackets from StangLover (Thanks Geoff).

During the process I found some very interesting part numbers on all the brackets. Basically, a two (2) bracket support system with date codes stamped as 7 16 D2 and 7 17 D2. I have no clue about the history of the donor parts car other than it was pretty rusty (originally) big block car from Michigan. The bolts were rusted to the clip nuts and were very difficult to break loose. But, we got 'er done!
 

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Thanks everyone for the support and comments. It means allot coming from such a knowledgeable and respected group.

The grille supports mocked up well, its now ready for the final fitment into the car. When the time comes we will disassemble and add the latch to the brackets. My son is really excited about working on the car with me, he grew up in the garage alongside me, but always just watching. Now he has a new interest in actually working on the car so I am getting everything staged up so we can disassemble and reassemble everything as we go thru the car. The restoration in 2009 was top notch but there are things that need attention, but luckily all of the things we need to focus on will be within his scope of learning. I'm pretty excited he wants to work on the car, I feared the Mustang Mania had skipped a generation. I guess I could have done worse, passing on other qualities less endearing LOL :cool:
 

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I mocked up and pre-assembled my custom driving light brackets and Cibie lamps to the Mach 1 grille. Not bad for the initial fitment. I really like the look, I specifically found a set with the amber lenses covers. When the amber covers are installed it almost looks like a normal 71-72 Mach 1 grille.

Here are the pics. When we disassemble to fabricate the wiring harness and re-install everything we will try to shim out the brackets and the lamp assemblies to get them closer to the way I believe the originals are set up. But, they are pretty darn close!
 

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Sheriff41

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Nice work! Is that close to how the original ones mounted the driving lights?

On the hood latch hardware did you consider a skim coat to fill the rust damage? Don't get me wrong; it looks good freshened up, but you could smooth those out with a little fill and sand to appear as new.
 
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I finished the cast Shelby Cobra emblem for the gas cap. I did not fabricate the emblem, it was done in northern California, in the Folsom area. I added the blackout and buffed the emblem to give a little bit of contrast. I think its going to work out nicely. Here are the before and after pictures with a nice chrome S9MS emblem to compare too. Hope fully I'll have the gas cap ready soon, no sneak peeks of the cap, that's for another post!
 

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My all time favorite vehicle is our 1969 Shelby GT500
As stated by others in this thread, the Shelby Europa Tribute project is ambitious. And it also piqued my interest. When we did a deep restoration of our 73 Mach 1, I went "whole hog" with the various adornments once could have gotten "back in the day." The Mach 1 came to use with a NASA/NACA hood, and a front spoiler. But, with the restoration I decided to bump things up a bit. I kept the same blackout schema for the3 hood, stripes, and front spoiler. But, I added the rear spoiler wing, rear window louver slats, and a pair of Dzus hood hold-downs - all of which were either factory options or available as dealer add-ons. For the rear wing and reaar window slats, we used PPG Hot Rod Black Matte, as with the front spoiler and hood blackout schema. After going through all of that I am not inclined to re-trimthe Mach 1 as a Shelby europa Tribute vehicle, although it would be an otherwise perfect vehicle to do a tribute like that.

Our other 73 Mustang is a Convertible, and is as fairly plain looking vehicle with a flat hood. I did add a front spoiler to help give it some more "visual edge." And I added a stripe to the rear vertical part of the trunk lid, mostly to mask where new paint for the lower half of that surface, and the original paint on the top half of that surface meet. The idea was to simply cover where the old and new paint met, while also giving a little more style to the rear look of the vert. The original steel wheel and dog dish hubcaps were already replaced with Magnum 500 wheels by the prior owner. There is only one reason I would not do a Shelby Europa Tribute to the 73 vert. Well, maybe one main reason, and two sub-reasons. The main reason is the sides have a bumper strip installed (I believe from the factory as part of the Appearance Protection Group. The visual appeal of the black vinyl inserts that are installed on the front fenders and the door exteriors is, at best, controverwsial. I never liked the look of that kind of "protective strip, on cars no matter the model and style of car. And, given the various locations of a protruding object, such as another vehicle;s door edge when said door is swung open, may or may not be at the same vertical location as the protective strip, the effectiveness of such a stip was controversial, again - at best.

But, that is how our vet was built, for better or for worse. I am betting the Shelby europa had no such bumper strip, and adding the Shelby Europa style side stripes would look goofy while those vinyl strips were in place. I am not certain about how those bumper strips ability to blend in visually with the Shelby Europa side stripes, whether they were glued to the body panels, or if there is a physical mount screwed into the panels. Either way, removing the strips this long after they were initially installed will result in at least some residual visually evident impact of sun fading on the panels, where the location of the prior covered areas would not be nearly as faded (if at all). So, for that reason alone I will opt to leave well enough alone. As fun as doing a Shelby Europa would be, I am not willing to begin pulling apart the fender and door panels just to make visual room for the appropriate striping.

There are other things I would need to do also, to really get the flavor of a Shelby Europa, such as the various Shelby badging here and there, not the least of which is the fuel tank cap. Another is our vert is a 1973, not a 1971 model year. I feel I may not be able to locate, or even fabricate well enough, those detailed items to really do the job well. Otherwise I would be scribbling notes, looking for sources for the parts needed, and reaching out to PoFoMoCo for ever more information. But, now, I will just remain satisfied in having the awesome pony cars already in our little corral. I also do not like the idea of having to let folks know there is indeed a Shelby Europa, and while ours is not really a Europa, it is a tribute "tip of the hat" to a really cool model derivative theme. If, in the off chance, we ever need body work done to our vert's fenders and/or exterior door skin, I may opt to pursue the Europa angle. But, frankly, I hope we never have to do any such body work on any of our Pony cars. They are just too good to suffer damage.

Anyway, nice job. I hope to see more progress and completion photos as time goes on. Meanwhile, I will just eat my heart out in a joyfully envious way.
 

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Thank you GM, I appreciate the post. I love all of your cars and I am in 100% agreement and hope you never have to do any body work on any of your impressive cars. I have spent many hours going thru your pictures, posts and and YouTube videos trying to get as much general information on these cars as I can. They are a wealth of great information. While I've owned several 1971-73 mustangs, I've never spent the time gaining real knowledge as I am now. I have always been a 1965-69 guy and as you know, these cars are remarkably different and special.

I must admit, now that I am fully invested in this body style I'm in real trouble. My '73 Q Code Mach 1 is still in the family and has been in stored, since 2010, in a climate controlled shop in the Texas desert. It's not in the same condition as it was when I sold it to my nephew in 2003 as he drove it thru high school and college. Its had some bumps and bruises along the way and in spring of 2004, he and I replaced the passenger door and door glass from a good parts car after a parking lot mishap. I guess he missed the part of Drivers ED when they teach you not leave your door open in a parking lot while 100's of high school kids leave campus for lunch. Let's just say the door, door glass and hinges weren't repairable after the incident. Pretty soon after college, marriage and now 2 kids he parked it. He's not selling yet, but he's wavering under my relentless texts.
 
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