Shelby Revs Its Engines

Automaker aims to beef up brand identity with new location

shelbyweb.jpgShelby American, the Las Vegas company that made its name dialing Mustangs up to “insane supercar” levels, will soon be more accessible to the city’s 40 million tourists, some of whom—just guessing—might be interested in insane supercars.

By the end of November, Nevada’s only automaker is leaving the Las Vegas Motor Speedway to set up shop on Ensworth Street, nestled between the 15 and 215. That’s just blocks from McCarran International Airport and the Strip.

The company has been headquartered at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with its operation divided between five buildings. But Shelby’s lease there is expiring, and the company was looking to get itself under one roof and closer to the tourist motherlode. The idea is to start positioning Shelby as a brand identity, akin to Harley-Davidson, with all the parts, products, apparel and logo-encrusted merch that entails.

The new 135,000-square-foot facility will feature a 5,000-square-foot gift shop (up from a measly 900 square feet) in hopes of ginning sales of branded merchandise. Plans also call for a shuttle to pick up tourists at various casinos and bring them through the facility for daily tours, which includes a peek at the production process, but better yet, a close-up look at Carroll Shelby’s metallic blue 1962 Shelby Cobra 289, the first ride he built.

“I’m embarrassed to say that we’ve been on the Las Vegas best-kept secrets list for a long time,” Shelby American President John Luft says. “My goal is to get off that list.”


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