RIP Mr. Shelby!!!!!!!!!! Historic Shelby Cobra Building at 1042 Princeton Drive in Marina del Rey has been Sold! Marina del Rey Real Estate – MDR Condos
The former Marina del Rey office and production facility for Shelby American in the 1960s has been sold!
The building at 1042 Princeton Drive in Marina Del Rey, California (it was Venice address during Shelby’s occupation) was the first permanent location for Shelby American. Carroll Shelby moved his operations to the location in June 1962 to ramp up production of his new Cobra.
Eventually, the Shelby American race shop, complete with dyno and engine assembly rooms, was located at 1042 Princeton Drive. Offices were located on the second floor.
Halfway down Princeton on the left, wedged between some condos, were a couple of two-story brick buildings. Carroll’s old facility still exists and, save an add-on to the front entrance, looks much as it did in 1963. There is a hand-painted “1040 Princeton” sign on the building that was originally done by famed southern California pinstriper Von Dutch, who then was just another journeyman craftsman looking to pay the bills. If you listen closely when all was quiet, you may he hear the ghostly bellow of 289 V8s being run flat-out on the bench.
There is good reason for the historic pull at the location. When the sports car “stigma” had worn off, Shelby and crew unknowingly created a magical environment in which to work. People from around the world gravitated there, one mechanic, John Morton from Illinois not being as long as some others. He had long dreamt of racing, and for him and others, days at Shelby American often stretched well into the night.
“I would come in after dinner,” Morton said, “when the rest – those employees that were of any value – came back to work. They had something going on they had to get finished, so I would just come back and watch them. It was either that or go to a movie or something. And I would rather be [at the shop].”
Carroll easily recalled Morton returning to the shop. “He would come back,” Shelby laughed, “and we would find him in the shop sitting in a Cobra before he ever drove one, going ‘Vrrrrrmmm, vrrrrrmmm!’ shifting gears.”
Shelby American operated out of the facility until March 1965 when production of the 427 Cobra and ’65 GT350 Mustang forced a moved to larger facilities at the Los Angeles airport.
The 1042 Princeton Drive building, along with two other adjacent office buildings, sold for $10.7 million. Patton Investments negotiated the transaction of the 34,000-square-foot industrial/office property. The buyer has plans to reposition and remodel.
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