Shelby McLaren Ford Falcon AU Shell Helix #17
Shelby McLaren has cheered with the Tifosi at Monza, partied with those fine Alabama folks at Talladega and slept under the stars with thousands in the deserts by Dakar. He has seen a lifetime of passionate supporters but he believes that absolutely no where compares to the rivalry and passion of the motorsport fans in Australia. There is only one significant question in Australia, ‘Ford or Holden?’, and the answer to that question can mean everything!
Shelby was in New Hampshire in 1966 and attending a round of the US Trans-Am series and the winner of the day was a young Canadian, Allan Moffat. It was an invitation from Moffat that took Shelby to Australia in 1970 to a race track near Bathurst, 120 Miles west of Sydney. Unfortunately the 302 Boss Mustang of Moffat retired but a driver that did catch the eye of Shelby at that event was in his first running, his name was Dick Johnson. The Holden LC Torana GTR of Johnson failed to start the race but his driving style was exciting to watch and Shelby would go on to follow Dick Johnson for another four decades in Motorsport.
Shelby had been with the DJR Team many times and anticipated a glorious weekend of sunshine and motorsport in Queensland in 2001 for the Queensland 500 but it wasn’t to be. Heavy rain ended the race early. By far, the most enduring ray of sunshine on the day was the success of the new #17 Shell Helix DJR AU Falcon raced for the first time by Steven Johnson and Paul Radisich. The car won the event on its debut performance and although it would never achieve any significant success on the track it would remain a favourite for Ford fans across Australia and would achieve a lasting legacy in the history of the sport as an icon of the DJR era.
The only release of this #17 Shell AU Falcon as a slot car has been from Scalextric in 2003. Having attempted to re-create the Australian Touring Cars previously with the Brock/Johnson Xr3i’s, the Mondeos, and the Rover, it was time to make a serious attempt at producing the kind of accurate and detailed model of V8 Supercars that would launch Scalextric even further into the Australian market. It was a success and for the last 20 years or so Scalextric have been releasing the Falcons and Commodores from the Australian V8 Supercar series. The cars have become a very collectable model not only in Australia, but the world over. Without doubt however, the most collectible V8 Supercar has become the car we have showcased today, the most desired, most sought-after and most revered of them all, catalogue number 2520 listed as the Ford Falcon AU Shell #17. What’s your memories of this car?