Shelby de Mexico

TGR Staff

Although the first production Shelby de Mexico's weren't built until 1967, this car (a 1965 coupe prepared by Lew Spencer and Carroll Shelby's High-Performance Motors) can technically be considered to be the first Shelby de Mexico. This car was driven to a class win at the Mexico Toluca Road Race by driver Juan Emilio Proal.

Eduardo Velazquez Chavez was a Brazilian that worked in the law offices of one of the best-known lawyers in Mexico City. After five years in practice, Velazquez became involved in the successful litigation of an extremely controversial and long-running corporate dispute. With the proceeds of the sizable commission he earned, Eduardo looked around for a business enterprise of some type to invest in. He ran into a couple of friends who owned a sunroof conversion company which specialized in converting Mexican Valiants for Chrysler de Mexico. 

Unfortunately, the projected 500 units destined for conversion fell way too short due to poor sales, and the company found themselves financially taxed and sitting on a huge inventory. In 1964, Eduardo purchased half interest, hung up his business suit and proceeded to turn things around. At the time the Volkswagen "Bug" was the most popular car in Mexico. Velazquez contacted Californian Joe Vittone, owner of European Motor Products Incorporated (EMPI), and arranged for the exclusive distributorship of EMPI parts in all of Mexico. Simultaneously, the company also approached another big name in the automotive aftermarket, Shelby American. The company started selling Cobra parts in 1965. 

Velazquez initially dealt with Timothy H. Foraker, the Parts Manager of Shelby American at the Time. Since the Mustang had just been introduced in the States the year before and it was then being assembled in Mexico City, Cobra High-Performance parts sales went well. Eduardo decided to become more involved with the Cobra end of the business and purchased a red 1965 Ford Mustang GT coupe with the intention of using it for racing and sales promotion of Cobra parts and sunroofs. This first car, driven by Juan Emilio Proal, won the Mexican Toluca Road Races in 1966. He sent the car up to Lew Spencer's High-Performance Motors in Los Angele where the car was equipped with practically every part Shelby produced. Simultaneously, Velazquez also applied for the exclusive distributorship of Cobra parts in all of Mexico.

Velazquez went on in subsequent years to build the Shelby de Mexico.