The one and only GRAND PRIX Shelby G.T.350
© Wolfgang Kohrn - March 2003, updated 22.May 2010


James Garner in Grand Prix
Picture courtesy Prisma online

James Garner driving 6S611 into the paddock
Scene from the movie GRAND PRIX

James Garner alias Pete Aron in 6S611

Carroll Shelby, Dan Guerney, James Garner, Roy Ginther in Watkins Glen 1966
Picture courtesy FORD Media

James Bumgarner - known as James Garner - 
enjoyed his Shelby ride

Bernard Cahier, the famous Sports Car Graphic Illustrated editor back then, remembers GRAND PRIX quite well in a recent interview I had with him.

"I was working a lot with John (Frankenheimer) on this movie regarding the locations in France. We started with the race in Monaco in January 1966 for the movie and I was there to give ideas and recommendations. I was deeply involved as consultant and actor."
The movie was filmed at the original race tracks like Monaco, Spa, Clermont-Ferrand, Brands Hatch and Monza. Most of the well-known racers of that time were acting as themselves in this 3 hour movie. John Frankenheimer did not like to speed up racing scenes, so all scenes are for real. Except for the cars, in fact, Formula 3 cars were made to look like Formula 1 in most cases. James Garner drove all of his racing scenes by himself. The same cannot be told for Yves Montand. After a crash into the woods, he was afraid of higher speeds, so his car was pulled by a GT40 in the following scenes doing over 130mph. Still, Yves felt much safer with this setup than driving himself."

Further information on the plot can be obtained from the US Movie Database.

But what is more interesting for us is the Hertz Shelby that James drove in this movie. 

What happened to 6S611 after the movie?
Eddie Behr was a teammate of Robert Karisch racing Mustangs in the late 60ies and later also a Pantera through the 70ies. They bought the Grand Prix Shelby for 20.000 DM back then and drove it in Germany for a while. Here is a very rare picture of it during Eddies ownership.
"I found the Monaco track sticker under the dash, that has obviously fallen down some time. The car was also filmed at the Nuerburgring and then sold here in Germany to us."

Acc. to Eddie they sold it years later for 21.000 DM, it then went for 50.000DM to the Netherlands and from there back to the US for more. 
"Back at that time we had of course no clue of its later significance or value. At that time Shelbys were a rare sight, but not as spectacular for us guys who raced them anyway.

Another picture of Eddies photobox of the ex-Grand Prix Hertz Shelby
Eddie sitting on the ramp and his son Michael spinning the wheels. Michael runs a Mustang parts shop today and Eddie enjoys his famous black/gold Mustang II Cobra.

Acc. to Howard Pardee from SAAC SFM6S611 went back to the US around 1982 and has been shown on several occasions. It has not been really restored, but is a nice and interesting car on display at some SAAC events.

Bernard Cahier also touched another Shelby (5S114) story:
"I had met Steve McQueen before and we became friends through Peter Revson, who was one of my best friends and with who Steve finished a brilliant 2nd overall in Sebring with the Porsche 908. I went several occasions to Le Mans during the filming of the LE MANS." says Bernard Cahier and continues "I had a loaned 350 GT Shelby Mustang for several months. Eventually Shelby gave this car to de Tomaso... It was blue and white and it had a modified suspension. Also a 289 Cobra engine with over 360 h.p.. It was very light, very fast, very uncomfortable."

Well these facts rang another bell and Howard was quick to point out further facts on this special export Shelby. "The other Shelby mentioned by Bernard Cahier is SFM 5S114 and is a street car. It was shipped to the Ecurie Filipinetti in Geneva via boat fur use by Carroll Shelby in Europe. It is thought to be the car that was tested by the german magazine Auto, Motor und Sport in the 20/1965 issue. It is "now on display" means hanging from the ceiling in a restaurant/bar in Switzerland.*

The first mention of this car was an article in the LOS ANGELES TIMES newspaper in 1965 that said that Juan Fangio had tied the Modena track record with a GT350. This prompted ROAD & TRACK magazine to publish an investigational story 11/65. THE SHELBY AMERICAN #36 has an article with 3 photos (one of them a centerfold) of Fangio with this car. This article prompted Peter Brock to write an explanation in THE SHELBY AMERICAN #37 with yet another photo of Fangio with the car. It was then featured on the cover of THE SHELBY AMERICAN #45 back in 1984. The photo shows the car in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and was taken in May." (Howard Pardee)

*Well, it was actually not hanging from the ceiling, but standing on its own four tires in this bar next to another Shelby and some Shelby engines. Our friend Iso Schwager from the Swiss Mustang Club updated me on this fact. And after further research we found out... it has been sold recently in December 2002 to a family in the Tessin in Switzerland.

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