1971/1972 Shelby Europa History
© Wolfgang Kohrn - February 2001, last updated on September 5th, 2014
Some of this information is based on the SAAC World Registry information (permission for use confirmed 2/7/01), and Claude Dubois himself,
additional information is from the NORSK Mustang Club, the Ford Mustang Owners Club of Finland ry and the Swedish Shelby Registry, As of 2013 we did a thorough research with Rick Kopec and Kevin Marti to dig around the VINs known and order numbers. The result was quite surprising, we corrected a few issues, but major updating here will still take place.
Co-authours and Shelby Europa owners: Edwin van Beurden (NL) , Rauno Harvima (FIN), Rune Boholm (SE)
Picture courtesy Arild Gronnevik/NORSK Mustang Club
Claude Dubois has been the official Shelby dealer in Belgium from 1966 through to 1972. Initially his sales area was limited to Belgium, but later extended to Europe (1967-1969). Another important european Shelby dealer was Performance Cars. Ltd. from George Filippinetti in Geneve/Switzerland.
Claude Dubois sold about 120 - 125 Shelbys and Cobras to european 'snake maniacs'. When Claude received the bad news in 1970 that Shelby was not going to send any further G.T.350/500 to him, he proposed a special Shelby Europa licenced Mustang conversion to him.
Carroll agreed and the first one was completed in January 1971 and shown at the Brussels Motor Show. Actually all cars that went to Claude Dubois, were not send from Shelby American, but were ordered via Bob Ford, a dealership in Detroit, Michigan from Ford Motor Company. Not all were shipped via Bob Ford, some of the later cars went directly from the Ford factory to a shipping agency called Sopac Transport to Port Newark. research from Kevin Marti (www.martiautoworks.com). Special Shelby parts were actually delivered from Shelby American.
Carroll Shelby joined the Brussels presentation and he had a good hot Chili with Claude together in the evening. It has not been reported, wether they had a portion of Belgium's famous Pommes frites as well, but it is very likely that they were available that same evening.
The Shelby Europa was offered as a fastback (sportsroof) and convertible, both powered by a 351. Acc. to french and dutch sales literature they were offered in a G.T.500 version as well.
One at least had a 351 race engine with a 780cfm Holley carb and 360HP, another one a 429 with a Drag Pack option and closely 400HP.
The cars were not allowed to be re-imported to the US due to the then stronger safety and exhaust emissions regulations. Due to the high fuel prices, the demand for a Shelby Europe was not really big, only scandinavians did not care as for most muscle cars in that period. Less than 10 Shelby Europe were built and sold in 1971 and 1972. 6 are currently accounted for and on file at the SAAC. After some thoroug research in 2013 we had to sort out 2 1972 models. One turned out to be a special 460 Ford internal project, the other VIN issue vs. documentation has not been re-confirmed with the owner after several contact attempts.
There were 3 in the Netherlands, however the third dutch Shelby Europe of C.V. Bastiaanse has been stolen
in 1987 and never appeared again. Watch out for a red one. One of the
other one not yet found is the white 429 equipped Shelby Europa.
Some more information
about Claude Dubois.
Picture courtesy Eric Ambrosino
Claude was a very famous race driver back then. He was not a very rich man, so he thought becoming a race driver would allow him to drive and race expensive cars at least. Starting in 1955 he was actively racing until 1967. He piloted amongst many
other cars a D-type Jaguar, a
Lister-Jaguar, Porsche 550RS and some Ferraris. He won his first race in
Spa/Belgium on his own Triumph TR-2. After this race he was nominated into the Belgium national race
team. In 1964 he drove a Sunbeam in the Le Mans factory team. In 1966 Claude intended to start with a Ford GT, but was kindly advised that there was no place for him - from Ford.