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  1. #1
    Supporting Vendor JonB ~ PartsRack's Avatar
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    S S S S H E L B Y Viper Trivia

    Ssssshelby viper trivia.....

    Shelby Viper and other SSSSNAKE TRIVIA:

    August 17, 1995. Monterrey CA. Monterrey Historics Week.

    17-Mile "AutoWeek Rolling Concourse" # 1, 250 cars limit

    PS: Also Viper Owners Invitational # 2. I was the new-born VCA Secty back then, doing this as a 'self-appointed' club responsibility.

    Official Debut of Fitzgerald M/S 1996 Shelby Viper Pace Car, White/Blue, with Carroll himself aboard as Grand Marshall ! HOW???


    I had the privilege of arranging this Pace Car event for Autoweek and Dan Fitzgerald. Dan promised to get me CS himself -IF- I could get Leon Mandel [RIP] of AutoWeek to make the CS Viper the Official Pace Car of this 250-car, first-ever event. Leon was eager, and said not only would he make Viper the Official Pace Car (OPC) but would invite Carroll Shelby to be Grand Marshall! There was NO widespread Email back then, all agreements were phone and fax, and within a few days we had an agreement.

    At this point, I began asking known VOI-2 attendees on the Car and Driver forum, if they would like to participate on a "Group Pace Car" event with Shelby, and I got about 30 takers, all EAGER to participate. Great? NOT QUITE!!

    Dodge Marketing had scheduled the first-ever Vendor Night at a VOI, and vendors had paid to meet Owners. That same evening! And now, I was 'siphoning off' 25 owners and their guests for a parade just 4 hours before the Vendor Reception. "Bad JonB!"

    So I added a "requirement" that my 25 Pace Cars could only attend if they PROMISED /GUARANTEED to attend the Vendor Reception! That was easy, we all planned to attend anyway, and Dodge was happy. Dodge even videotaped our convoy to the parade start, and we received a Calif Hiway Patrol police escort the last half of the way. {They actually intercepted me/us and took over! Front and behind....It looked pre-planned, but was a fortunate miracle! We were under a mandatory escort! }

    AutoWeek had reserved VIP Parking for the 25 Vipers. Dale Naffsingfer and Dan Wodolowski were in Dale's R/T with a BIG US Flag, and a BIG DODGE Flag, which we mounted behind the seats against the 'roll bar.' Looked Gorgeous!

    AutoWeek staff took me to meet Carroll Shelby at the elevated podium, from where I read the "PARADE RULES" to the 250 participants. {I was acting as a Race Steward!) Then, I had the honor and privilege of introducing Carroll Shelby!!! My heart was pounding, my mouth dry.

    I told the small crowd about how Carroll was the 1991 Indy Pace Car driver in the first Viper, just 9 months after his heart transplant. Leon Mandel offered up that he had an infamous ride in that pace car, when CS was faking chest pains that he needed his Nitro Pills on the rides at 100mph!! [Shelby pulled that prank on Lee Iacocca too.....Lee told me himself.]

    So I handed a Viper hat to CS, and he thanked Leon and Dan Fitz, and me (!) and handed the mike back. I was 'inspired" to pull out my drivers license held it up, and implored the crowd: "Do This For Carroll.... become an Organ Donor! If it was not for a donor, Carroll would not be here.!"Carroll snagged the mike back and said "You Got THAT right!" The crowd applauded, and several held up their 'donor licenses' and declared their donor status.

    Then we took to the cars, and the 96 White/Blue Shelby, with Carrol as passenger, led the parade. I think Dan Fitz drove...I was next, 91 pace car livery on my 93. Dale and Dan were next, and then the next 22 or so Vipers going 2 x 2 for 17 MILES! about 10 MPH tops....

    25 Vipers pacing the 250!! Awesome for a Pace Car Guy...

    Tens of Thousands of spectators on the route. Most had never SEEN a Viper at all, except in print! A Bazillion photos were taken, and owners hands were cramping giving the Snake Salute for 2 hours! (Which Carroll was VERY amused about!) It was a wonderful event, which AW kept doing for many more years. They were very grateful to the Viper Club.

    Dale's "Flag Viper" ended up on the COVER of the Monterrey Herald Sunday edition! Large Photo!! Bob Lutz was ecstatic! He said 'Chrysler is paying millions for sponsorship here and even so, there is NO Way I could have gotten the front page of the Herald in Historics Week ... how did you DO that Brobst ?!??' I replied "Ron from Dodge Marketing helped me do it!""

    Now RON was the guy who had scolded me!!! Ron was standing right there and I shook his hand while telling Lutz that Ron had helped make it all happen!!! {Friend for life???}

    Lutz autographed a Herald, along with Shelby.... I have it here on Doris' desk !

    Other highlights?

    --- Indy Speedway chair Tony George dropped by for dinner, to announce the 1996 GTS would be the Indy Pace Car !! I happened to have my WA licence plate PACECAR with me, and he and Shelby autographed the back.

    --- The GTS-R Debuted !! #5, Neil Hannemann driving in, and also a parade lap at Laguna Seca next day. {M.Liang got a ride!}

    ---- The 1996 GTS Vouchers were distributed to VOI attendees, and club presidents got em 1 day early. 6 of us FedExed our vouchers that very day to get early cars! I ended up with first retail GTS delivered !!! 6-8-96.

    -----Fitzgerald Motors had ONE C/S spoiler there, taking orders for more. He handed me the spoiler for helping arrange the event. I flipped it over and had Carroll sign it on the underside! His sig was 24"+ across in that classic swoopy hand he was known for!

    I went straight to Wallgreens, across from hotel. I bought a small cordless drill with bits; Masking Tape; Tape Measure; Duct Tape. I went to the parking lot and began measuring my snake. Measure-Measure-Measure.....

    A few owners collected as I began the task, and by the time I started drilling my viper there was probably 50 people watching in interested horror! {No cell cameras then}

    It took me about 20 total minutes to mount the #001 CS Spoiler on my car!


    Anyway, thats all I remember for now. Hope you like this drivel.........

    Later On I might be persuaded tell you how I got Carroll away from the Cobra Club at Luke AFB in 2002, and over to the Viper Owners tent for an hour visit !!
    Last edited by JonB ~ PartsRack; 03-14-2019 at 03:55 PM.
    Jon "JonB" Brobst ~~~~:<~ JonB@PartsRack.com


  2. #2
    Regional Membership Director
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    GREAT STORY, JonB....keep them coming !!
    I don't send or receive "PM's" since I prefer DIRECT communication.

  3. #3
    Enthusiast TA Two Oh's Avatar
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    Wonderful info. Thank you for sharing it with us, John
    2015 TA 2.0 Venom Black. 2001 Sapphire Blue Roadster SOLD, 1994 Viper Black Roadster SOLD

  4. #4
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    viperr's Avatar
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    It is great to see some stories from the very first years of the Viper. Many people don't know about all of the behind the events.
    2014 GTS Adrenaline Red, track pack, 18 speaker sound system
    Traded In:1999 Black RT-10- Car has over 109,000 miles. 9 years and 50,000 miles of great Viper ownership

  5. #5
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    Another great story Jon! Many years later still kicking myself for not attending VOI2.

    Ron

  6. #6
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    That's a great story, but as a newbie I have to ask "what's the Viper salute?", i.e., what does it look like?

  7. #7
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    Kind of like a peace sign (index and second finger extended) except fingers bent to look like viper fangs from the front.

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  9. #9
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    Great story Jon, thanks for sharing! Please keep them coming!

  10. #10
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    I also used to stop in Fitzgeralds back in the 90"s. Believe at one time he was the biggest Viper dealer in the country. I still have a box of their CS Viper brochures. The Red & Gold GTS in your pics is still owned by the original owner.

  11. #11
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    Thanks JonB. Great story. Keep them coming. J TNT Great photos. Too cool!

  12. #12
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    Thanks for sharing Jon, you've got a great memory!

    What ended up happening to the Fitzgerald dealership? Clearly they were heavily involved in the beginning in terms of sales.
    -2008 Venom Red ACR Hardcore

  13. #13
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    As I recall, Dan Fitzgerald retired in the early 2000's.
    I don't send or receive "PM's" since I prefer DIRECT communication.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-Indy View Post
    As I recall, Dan Fitzgerald retired in the early 2000's.
    I think you're right Steve .
    White Mamba ,

  15. #15
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    Anyone have a photo of the Monterrey Herald cover Jon is referring to?

  16. #16
    Enthusiast Vipermann's Avatar
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    Great story. I've always wondered what a '65 Cobra would have looked like if Shelby had kept modernizing it until today (or until 2009). My version of Shelby + Viper...

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  17. #17
    Supporting Vendor JonB ~ PartsRack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by str5010 View Post
    Thanks for sharing Jon, you've got a great memory!

    What ended up happening to the Fitzgerald dealership? Clearly they were heavily involved in the beginning in terms of sales.

    Dan is still dabbling in Vipers, I spoke to him last week after I wrote this !!
    Jon "JonB" Brobst ~~~~:<~ JonB@PartsRack.com



 

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