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Claude Dubois - Shelby Europa

This page is dedicated to the Shelby Europa, a unique set of 9 cars that Claude sold in 1971. These are among the rarest Shelbys in existence.

Special thanks to Rauno Harvima from Finland who is the proud owner of the only 2 Shelby Europa convertibles ever produced. Rauno and Wolfgang Kohrn co-authorized an updated 6-page Shelby Europa chapter for the 2014 SAAC Shelby World Registry Vol III upon request by SAAC’s Rick Kopec who gave his help of getting Claude’s production data and Ford Mustang production data by Kevin Marti and of cross-checking between these data to verify actual Shelby Europa production. Rauno kindly provided me with the pictures of his 2 convertibles he also helped with this page and made sure all these facts are correct !.

Special thanks to Wolfgang Kohrn, the webmaster of ponysite.de where a ton of information can be found. He allowed me to use this info and the pictures from his website.

In 2018 I found some interesting info via facebook. Franky Vlaeminck posted some pictures of the Shelby Europa his dad had owned, but regretably sold. Together with Marc Noordink we created an article for the Dutch club magazine, period pictures included.

If you have any info or pictures about Shelby Europa cars, please send me a mail !

 

1971

As we all know Carroll Shelby did not produce Shelbys in the USA after 1967, and 1968 models were produced by Ford in Mustang production line. Also 1969 Shelbys were designed and made by Ford. Carroll felt there was no more need as Ford had enough of it's own competitors to the Shelby's (read: the Boss cars), and the last Shelby's were more boulevard cruisers then race cars (like the original 65 GT350). Carroll canceled the license agreement with Ford and the unsold 1969 Shelbys were changed to 1970 models by minor changes (addition of front spoiler and black stripes on the hood, and updated emission regulatory systems, and changing the 69-data plate to 70-Data plate under control of FBI that destroyed the 69-data plates). This left Claude Dubois without any cars to sell in Belgium/Europe. So he created, with the approval of Shelby, his own Shelby: the Shelby Europa that was presented for the public in the Brussels Motor Show in January 1971 with Carroll Shelby himself attending. Based on the big 1971 models, Claude created 9 cars (2 convertibles and 7 fastbacks) both GT350 and GT500. All Shelby Europas based on 1971 Mustang, none on 1972 Mustang as previously was believed. Claude Dubois bought all his cars through Bob Ford, a Detroit Ford dealer with DSO code of 48. However, the two first Shelby Europas were made in 1970, so their DSO code is 33. Both convertibles and one fastback were GT500 models with 351HO engines, and one was GT500 with 429SCJ. For practical business, Claude officially registered the 1971 Shelby Europas as 1969 Shelbys and 351HO GT500 cars as GT350 models. It should be mentioned that Claude used the term Fastback as Ford used the term Sportsroof.

The whereabouts of 6 cars are presently known. Two convertibles are in Finland, two fastbacks in Sweden and two fastbacks in the Netherlands. The third Dutch fastback was stolen in 1987, and sofar not yet found. The whereabouts of one fastback originally sold to Switzerland and the white GT500 fastback with 429SCJ are not known.

Exterior

Unique Shelby Europa stripes were applied, Shelby lettering on the decklid, a Shelby gascap,  Cobra emblems on the rear fenders and on C-pillars in fastbacks and special 15x7” Shelby Cal 500 aluminum wheels (built in California). Also a ”CS SHELBY 351/429 EQUIPPED” emblem was installed on the front fenders behind the front wheels. A front Boss 351 front spoiler was included and also a rear one on the fastbacks. The front trim was chromed and the original yellow grille lights were replaced with clear Cibie fog lights. Tires were Avon VR70x15”, comparable today’s 205/70-15”.

Inside

Nothing really special here, apparently there was a special Italian ”Personal”-steering wheel and the speedometer was in miles, but cars that went to Sweden, Swedish laws required upgrading to kilometers, showing 220kp/h.

Mechanically

More to report here ! The GT350 engines were 351cid Cleveland 4V (M code). Apparently one is an H code (a 351C 2V) but it might be a misspel when ordering. The engines had a Shelby aluminum  intake giving it 35 extra HP. The GT500 was either a 351HO with Shelby intake and an HO camshaft (adding another 40HP) or a 429ci with 410HP. All the engines had oil coolers and the Ram-Air hood. All cars got the heavy duty suspension, special stabilizer bars and Koni shock absorbers. The rear end was a Traction Lock with 3.25:1 for manual cars and 3.00:1 for automatics. Power steering and tinted windows were standard. Automatic gearbox was optional.

 

The convertibles

The very first Shelby Europa built, is the goldenbrown convertible you see here (1F03M154425). The last one is a GT500 fastback with 351 HO owned by Edwin van Beurden (1F02M221647). This car is a restoration project.

The goldenbrown convertible was originally sold in Belgium to a customer named Beys. The car went to Norway in the early eighties. Rolf Fredrikson owned it, followed by Sverre Johan Sandåker. Now Rauno owns it since 2004.

The grabber green convertible (1F03M202545) was also sold in Belgium to a customer called Sutter (Autostrade Motors). The car came to Finland in 1983 from Sweden, where it was registered on April 23, 1976. The Finnish owners have been: Arto Sandberg (bought the car as ”cobraized Mustang” on April 3rd, 1980 from a car dealer in Södertälje named ”50-Tals Specialisten” and later realized it’s real nature), Pauli Ala-Kortesmaa, Ville Rajala, and since 2001 Rauno Harvima. In 1980 many parts were changed or ripped off: original engine, wheels, numerous moldings (rocker panel, wheel openings, hood's window side), rear end, body side stripes, seat belts. The top has been changed to a white top in 1982 and again in 1990ies.  The rear end is now a 2.75:1 without lock function. Currently the wheels are original 15x7" Shelby Cal 500 wheels. Also the missing original used aluminium intake, used original aluminium valve covers and also NOS rocker panel moldings and some other moldings were found from eBay auctions and installed.

The exterior color is now a slightly darker Ford Forest Green Metallic. The original body stripes and hood double painting were likely black with black top and the original grabber green metallic exterior color (code Z).

VIN decoding thanks to the Kevin Marti report (www.martiauto.com)

1.     VIN: 1F03M202545

2.     Body: 76D = Mustang Convertible

3.     Ext Color: Z = Grabber Green Metallic, Ford #5002-A

4.     Int Color (Trim): CA = Black Knitted Vinyl Bucket Seats

5.     Axle: R = 3.25 : 1 Traction-Lok

6.     Trans: U = C-6 Automatic Transmission

7.     DSO: 48 = Detroit, Michigan

8.     Scheduled Production Date: 10E = May 10, 1971

Original US-dealer from where the car was delivered to Claude Dubois:  Bob Ford Inc, Detroit, Michigan. Obviously referring to the original invoice this car never went to Bob Ford, but was delivered ex-factory directly to a shipping company called SOPAC Transport in Port Newark. It is assumed that the other Shelby Europas of this batch are delivered the same way. The earlier cars all went first to Bob Ford. It seems transport charges were the reason. The DSO of 48 still indicates that it was a Bob Ford order and initially assigned to his district. 

Options as when ordered and came out from the production line:

1.     Black power Top with Glass Backlite

2.     C-6 Select Shift Cruise-o-Matic

3.     Traction-Lok differential

4.     E78-14 Belted Tires (with 14x6" steel rims)

5.     Convenience Group

6.     Power Steering

7.     Power Front Disc Brakes

8.     Ram Air Hood Option

9.     Full Console

10. Decor Group

11. Power Side Windows

12. Competition Suspension

13. Tachometer and Full Instrumentation Group (Oil, Ampere, Temp)

Here you clearly see the unique striping, the front Boss 351 spoiler and the chrome finish.

The grille has a Shelby Cobra emblem and the Cibie fog lights
The original 15x7” Shelby Cal 500 aluminum wheels.
The unique Shelby gas cap and the SHELBY lettering on the trunklid.
Shelby emblem on the rear wing.
While the above pictures from Rauno's care are really nice, the below pictures are from the seventies, offering a unique view on how these cars looked like back in the days. The story of this car goes like this: the car was ordered by a guy in Mechelen. But he missed the necessary funds to purchase the car when it was delivered, so Mr Armand Vlaeminck was called (a serieus lover of US cars as he already owned a 68 Mustang). He has the money and buys the special Shelby. Later on the gentleman from Mechelen tries to buy the car from Armand, but he Armand refuses. What Franky (Armands son, and owner of these pictures) remembers from the car is that the electricity overheated. A garage mechanic in Aalst replaces the electricity and the problem is solved. He did comment on the car's performance: a serieus driver is needed to control this car ! Near the end of the seventies Armand sells the Shelby Europa, some people kept passing by and once the offer cannot be refused, the Shelby Europa is gone, something Armand has regretted afterwards.