The Terlingua Racing Team was originally started in 1963 when a couple of Carroll Shelby’s friends, Bill Neale, an automotive artist, and David Witts, an attorney, convinced Shelby to buy a large ranch in Terlingua, Texas. Terlingua means “Three Tounges or Languages” based upon the early Indian Tribes from that area. The three tribes were the Kiowa,Appache and Commanche. The ranch was from that point on used as a kind of desert playground for Shelby and Friends to “Let their Hair Down”.
It was Bill Neale who came up with now famous logo of the black rabbit with it’s paw up in the air with the bright yellow crest, similar to both Ferrari and Porsche with those backgrounds. As Neale said, “big jack rabbits were one of the only things that could survive well out there naturally”. That rabbit has it’s paw up in a joke as to say “Please NO MORE peppers in the chili”. Also on the logo was a hot sun from the desert and the three feathers of the Indian tribes with the year 1860.According to an article in a Shelby Annual from 2006, the first decal/logos were printed up in 1964 and placed on the King Cobras prior to the Pacific Grand Prix in October at Laguna Seca Raceway. Ken Miles was the first to put a Terlingua Racing Team decal on a Mustang, when at the Green Valley Raceway in February of 1965, he won the race in the debut of the GT-350R.
In 1967, Carroll Shelby wanted the team to stand out from the other teams at the time and it was Neale again that came up with the Terlingua Paint scheme. He selected the bright yellow with a flat black hood and large racing stripe centered on the roof ,deck lid and front roll pan. When Shelby first saw the car prior to the Sebring 1967 race he called it “Gawd Awful Yellow” and it stuck for this now iconic team livery.
Jerry Titus had won a BP Championship in SCCA with a Ford Mustang GT-350R by Shelby and had also won the last race of the year in 1966 at Riverside in a Shelby Prepared “notchback” Mustang coupe to give Ford the series/manufacturer Championship also. Titus was then signed to drive the lead Mustang in the 1967 Trans Am Sedan Series with the Terlingua Racing Team for the “Shelby/Ford” entry. The Terlingua Team had the most wins in the 1967 Series and Mustang had the most points for a manufacturer as Ford won the second championship in a row for the new SCCA series.
In 2006, Shelby American brought back a version of the Terlingua Racing Team Mustang with a high performance V6 car and some very limited edition 1967 Mustang Coupes with the Yellow/Black scheme. They were met with mixed emotion and the market was really not very good at the time. Now again in 2017 for the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Championship, Shelby American is again releasing a limited run of Terlingua Mustangs with a very healthy V8 upgrade engine and many “Track Parts”. See our next post for that quick report.
TACH IT UP…………………..!!!
Terlingua Mustang in 1967 getting ready for battle.
The now famous logo. “HOLD THE PEPPERS !”……
Jerry drifting old #17.
The view of the #17 coupe that most people saw in 1967 except for maybe Mark Donohue in the Penske Camaro during later part of the season.