You are visting the best 1968 Shelby webpage !!!











This research was done with assistance of Bill Kolb Jr., SAAC Registrar-Vincent Liska and Phil Murphy.


7/4/13

Gotham Ford was the number one Shelby dealer between 1965 and 1970. Larsen Ford in New York was number two overall. Both of these dealerships had one thing in common. He was salesman Bill Kolb, Junior. Kolb was without a doubt, the best Ford salesman. He was also a personal friend of Carroll Shelby.


Bill Kolb started selling Fords in 1961. He was only 20 years old. All of the other salesmen at the dealership were over forty. His youthful enthusiasm gave him the competitive edge. Larsen Ford would remain number two in overall sales mainly as a residual of Kolb's efforts before 1967.





Kolb didn't just sell cars, he raced them. This Econoline pickup was a wheel stander sponsored by Larsen Ford in White Plains, New York. It was Ford's response to the "Little Red" Dodge wheel standing truck. Kolb also raced a Ford Thunderbolt for a time. This most certainly helped him understand his product. He was called "Mr. Ford".




Larsen Ford withdrew it's sponsorship after Kolb had a horrific crash. The truck flipped eight times and came to rest directly in front of a crowd of people. Kolb did have a similar truck for one year while he was at Gotham Ford. He did not professionally race any Shelbys.




Gotham Ford was previously called Manhattan Ford. The dealership was actually owned by Ford Motor Company. It was considered an embarrassment by many in the company. In 1966, after seeing the success that Bill Kolb, was having at Larsen Ford, Ford asked him to relocate to New York City. The dealership name was changed to Gotham Ford. Gotham Ford actually had several locations, but the 61st Street address in Manhattan is were most of the Shelby action took place.




These are original pictures of CSX 2367. This original Cobra was sold new at Gotham.




Dave also sent a long a picture of the car today.







All of Ford's great cars were available in the "Big Apple". Here a street version of the GT40 pulls into Gotham. Gotham had a lot of sucessful clients. Kolb sold some people new cars every year.












1967 # 2725 is an original Gotham Ford car. Paul sent me this awesome picture of the car. Gotham sold 108 Shelbys during the 1967 model year.









1968 # 311 helped me figure out the mystery of "early style" front valences. After finding several, it was obviously more than a coincidence. This car has the chopped fiberglass front, lower valence. Bill provided me with a Gotham decal, which I applied to the decklid.







This brand new, white GT500 was sent to the New York Auto Show in April of 1968. It has been identified as serial number 732.







This advertisement is from 1968. The dealership had dozens of cars on display. Gotham would sell 162 cars during the 1968 model year. Most of these were sold by Kolb.







1968 # 2184 came from the dealership. It's a lime green GT350 with the original hubcaps!






I specifically asked Kolb if he remembered the "GT500K". He said he could not recall it. So far, no one has discovered a Gotham cars that has any special badges or stripes. It's probably unlikely they will, since the 1968s are already pretty flashy.




In 1968 Shelby organized a nationwide, Summer Sales Contest. It was held in conjunction with the new release of the GT500 KR. It wasn't really a contest. Kolb won the grand prize trip to Jamaica with ease. He almost doubled the sales of the next best salesman. Second place finishers were sent to the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Winners aslo received a visit from a Playboy centerfold to help promote the new cars. There will be addtional pictures of the Playboy visit to Gotham in the upcoming Shelby World Registry. It's hard to imagine 29 GT500 KRs in one place. If you throw in a few bunnies - it's a sensory overload.







Gotham did use this black decal on many Shelbys and other Fords they sold. Phil did an excellent job finding this on the internet.







In 1969, Gotham sold 157 cars. To put this into perspective, Northwestern Ford was number two. They sold 83 cars.







Bill sent along this photograph of # 1584. The orange color is a real attention getter.




In 1969 Ford sent Kolb a special "Ivory" painted 1969 Shelby convertible. The car has been identified as serial number 9F03R480656. Kolb used this car at the April 1969 New York Auto Show. Interestingly, Kolb sold packages of Carroll Shelby's Chili Mix to recoup his expenses for the show. The interior of the car was filled with bags of Chili that were sold during the event!


Kolb has great memories of Shelby. He says he was a great guy with a great sense of humor. In 1969, the two attended the Super Bowl together. They also frequented many of the Trans Am races together.






Gotham Ford closed in 1969. The original Gotham Ford building has been replaced by a new high rise apartment building. But, the buildings across the street look very much the same as they did in the late 1960s. Kolb has an apartment a short distance away, but also lives in Arizona. He is 72 years and still selling cars. He is still one of the most sucessful car dealers in the country. He has been sucessful by treating his customers right and a lot of hard work.


A very special "thank you" to Mr. Kolb for helping with this story.