Last year this time I was invited as a quest of the North Bay Cobra Club to visit Bill DenBeste’s collection located just north of Santa Rosa in the North Bay. The journey took us two plus hours from SF’s Golden Gate Bridge. The members gathered for breakfast on a brisk Saturday morning all bundled in leather coats, gloves, skull hats and goggles to make the journey 3 plus hours north to visit an amazing collection of vehicles. http://www.denbestemotorsports.com/files/gallery.html
I on the other hand was in my comfortable, climate controlled 2001 996 Twin Turbo wearing shorts and long sleeve shirt…minus the jacket, gloves and lastly the hat. I was more or less considered the outsider or snob of the group…the wives considered me the most sensible one of the bunch and preferred taking turns driving with me if I hadn’t already someone riding shotgun.
Once we arrived on location we had an amazing time viewing the original Shelby certified vehicles along with his unique collection of other vehicles ranging from a 21 window VW bus to NASCAR sponsored and owned vehicles. The true reason was to see his operation as a certified Shelby Motors dealer and partnership with Roush Industries who is the main supplier of the powertrain that is shoe horned into these nostalgic retro rockets. One begins to scratch their head and wonder how this humble man has been able to gather enough “disposable” income to invest in every car crazy man’s dream of owning a climate controlled warehouse with every vehicle he has ever wanted in every color or trim level. The key word here of the day is “disposable”. He continues to make a rather nice living on getting rid of your trash or unwanted material to afford his guilty pleasures. http://www.denbeste.com/manufacturing/files/mfg_tanks.html
As a result, he has made a pretty comfortable living doing so. He recently was awarded a nice contract by the State of California as a service provider of his containers to work on the Devil Slide Tunnel Project on US-1 just south of Pacifica. http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist4/dslide/
At least well enough to continue to purchase vehicles for his private collection; as well as, own his own private wine label. As the story goes…according to Bill DenBeste, invited Carroll Shelby to view the largest collection of original Shelby’s in the North America… When he then decided over lunch to serve a limited run of bottled red wine to his quest sporting a label of Shelby himself and one of his cars on it. Knowing this could be a good thing or a very dangerous unauthorized and problematic law suit waiting to happen at a snap of an old racing legends finger. Luckily, Shelby like the first, second and third glass of wine and agreed to allow Bill to use his name and image on a very limited run of red and white wines that come with unique box and certificate of authentication. http://www.denbestevineyards.com/shelby.html
Attached are some images form last years event and links embedded in this article for your viewing pleasure…