Unless your last name is Shelby, there are probably few people who can say they were raised closer to the marquee than Dave Eber. “I grew up around Shelby Mustangs and Cobras as my father was one of the original founders of the Shelby American Automobile Club. As long as I can remember there was always something cool around.” Do tell…
“There were always several Cobras around the house in various states of repair,” recalls Dave. “At that time they were fairly worthless and I remember my younger brother and I using old worn out factory competition Cobras as our jungle gym.” A fate few would even dare to imagine today.
“We also had a dark blue 289 street Cobra that we would go everywhere in,” Dave said who currently resides in North Carolina. “At the time we lived in New York, and I remember the four of us would pile into it and take it to Massachusetts to see my grandparents. I would sit on my mother’s lap and my brother would sit on the transmission tunnel between the seats. It was great as long as it didn’t rain because he didn’t have a top for that one.”
Dave was snake bitten.
Eber’s formative years were spent in Westchester County New York before heading off to college in Rhode Island where he purchased his first ’66 GT350. “From there I moved to Dearborn, Michigan to be part of the SAAC Mustang program.”
At the conclusion of the program, a move to Raleigh, North Carolina followed where Dave again found himself surrounded by vintage muscle working for PROVA International specializing in “selling vintage ’50s and ’60s Ferraris as well as Cobras (including two of the six Daytona Coupes), GT40s, etc.”
Dave’s first car was a used ’84 Mustang GT Turbo. “It was red/black with T-tops and a manual transmission,” recalls Eber. “It looked just like a GT but instead of the 5.0L it had an anemic 2.3L turbo.
“I think my father Ken was trying to protect me from myself because he knew what would have happened if I had a 5.0L as my first car. He did however have a lapse in judgement because after having several problems with the car over the next year or so he finally got me an ’86 5.0L Mustang GT.”
A procession of new brakes and tires would follow soon after.
Back to the Future
Fast forward to the early ’90s and Dave found himself at the forefront of another Shelby evolution. Father Ken and fellow Shelby American Auto Club founder Rick Kopec set out to build the next generation GT 350. With Shelby’s approval, the SAAC car company was launched.
With cooperation from Ford’s Power products group the company hand-built a limited run of these special cars known as the SAAC MK 1. Unlike a Fox-body GT, the MK1 bared little resemblance to its production counterpart.
All white with blue stripes hatchbacks and were only available to current SAAC members. Being the son of one of the founders put Dave in an enviable position, the owner of serial number 001!
“There were three supercharged SAAC Mustangs made,” said Eber. “Each fitted with Eibach stock racing springs, yellow Koni racing front struts, 160 mph police-certified speedometer and aluminum driveshaft. None of which was available on the production run.”
Additionally, Eber’s 001 supercharged car had its stock 302 removed and built with a race prepared SVO 4-bolt main block bored to 325 cid.
Digital fuel injection kept the juices flowing while aluminum ported and polished TFS heads were part of a potent combo that included Carillo rods and JE pistons. Meanwhile, Lincoln MK VII rear upper control arms kept the car firmly planted on the ground.
“Originally the car was built with 3-inch side exhaust,” Eber laughed. No doubt, this put all comers on notice that this wasn’t your standard Mustang. For Eber, it’s not so much about the rarity of his cars as it is the memories they hold.
“My advice to people getting into classic cars is buy the car you really want rather then the one you think will appreciate the most or the one your friends think you should buy.”
“Whatever the reason may be,” said Dave, “you don’t have to justify it. These are the cars I wanted back then and I still enjoy them today.” Whether a short drive or Eber’s favorite cruise spot, the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, these cars were meant to be driven.
Just the way ole’ Shel and dad intended.