Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Autoblog has forwarded a report from the 67Mustangblog that the defunct Carroll Shelby licensee Unique Performance used as much as "13 gallons of Bondo," cheap Taiwan parts and unskilled prison labor on the up-to-$200,000 "continuation" Shelby Mustangs.

Texas-based Unique Performance closed last fall and Shelby revoked its license after a hailstorm of legal allegations, alleged unfilled orders and apparently scores of lost six-figure customer deposits.

One customer, who is reported to be a former Secret Service agent, is quoted as saying "You would never Bondo a car of this value, so that would be deceitful. That would be fraud . . . .”

Indeed, authorities in Texas are investigating multiple counts of fraud against Unique Performance's principals.

Unique Performance was best known for the "Eleanor" Shelby GT500 replica, copied from the Nicholas Cage remake of the film "Gone in Sixty Seconds."

67mustangblog reports that "Investigators say . . . inmates illegally removed the VINs from the Unique Performance cars."

If the reports prove true, who was looking out for Carroll Shelby? Who was monitoring the quality? And who will make all of the people who lost deposits whole?

The growing Unique Performance scandal is a black mark on both Carroll Shelby's legacy and on the perfomance tuner aftermarket.


Autoblog also has this interesting story about how Polish authorites are handling the "problem" of street racing.

[Note: as any NHRA member will tell you, the wild, often dangerous world of "street racing" is NOT drag racing. Real drag racing is safe, organized and conducted under controlled conditions]

Given the land use pressures on purpose-built American drag strips, the innovative Polish solution bears some study.

Just don't count on it happening.

American law enforcement and politicians prefer a one-size-fits-all, "speed kills" model of traffic enforcement. Unlike the earliest days of drag racing, most local law enforcement is wholly unwilling to find a safe, less structured "outlet" for high performance cars. Thus, except for a handful of "Beat-the-Heat" and closed course "open road" events, the vast majority of the U.S. has few safe, legal alternatives to clandestine street racing.

And that's short-sighted. Maybe American police can learn something from their Polish counterparts.

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