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All the rent-a-racers were built by Shelby American Inc. in Los Angeles but they were not all identical. Some had metal engine hoods and most, but not all, were painted black with gold racing stripes. Lifting the engine hood exposes the beefed-up engine with valve covers boldly proclaiming ‘Cobra powered by Ford.’

The original Ford engine number has been replaced by a metal plate stamped ‘SFM6S1927,’ the SFM identifying this car as a Shelby Ford Mustang. ‘It is a interesting car in that it has no power anything on it in order to increase the horsepower,’ Mr. Lamonds says.

At the bottom of the powerful engine is an eight-quart oil pan to help keep the circulating oil cool during extreme conditions. ‘I would never race my car,’ Mr. Lamonds says emphatically.

That doesn’t mean others didn’t during its rent-a-racer days.

Opening the tiny trunk lid shows that most of what little luggage space there is occupied by the original bias-ply spare tire. The second set of tires are the four tires on the ground and are mounted on 10-spoke 15-inch aluminum wheels. Regular Mustangs have a blind triangular shaped area to the rear of the glass in the doors. Shelby has replaced that with a triangular plexiglass window on both sides of the car.

By 2002 the all-original car was showing signs of aging, so Mr. Lamonds had his Shelby freshened up with an outstanding repaint and new rubber around the doors and windows. The rest of the car remains as it left the factory.

In 2003 Mr. Lamonds learned that Carroll Shelby himself was going to be in attendance at Virginia International Raceway in Danville. He fired up his freshly repainted black-and-gold Shelby and with a raucous racket blasting out of the exhaust pipes just forward of the rear wheels, he set off on the 250-mile trip to Danville.

On that trip he learned two things:

• ‘Don’t even think about listening to the radio.’

• ‘The car will continue to accelerate until you take your foot off the gas pedal.’

At Danville, Mr. Lamonds met Mr. Shelby and had the good fortune to have him autograph the glove compartment door.

Now that he has owned the car the same length of time as his brother-in-law, he notes that the odometer has registered 42,000 miles.

One thing hasn’t changed, he says, and that is the engine. ‘It doesn’t have a miss in it,’ he says.