Carroll Shelby’s First Race Car to be Auctioned Oct. 15-18

August 22, 2008 by  

1949 MG TC driven by Carroll Shelby

A historic 1949 MG TC, the first race car ever driven by legendary racer and manufacturer Carroll Shelby, will be sold at No Reserve during the inaugural Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event in Las Vegas Oct. 15-18, 2008. A portion of the proceeds from the sale will benefit one of Mr. Shelby’s charities. Shelby piloted the MG (Lot #819) to a surprise victory in a road race in Norman, Okla., in 1952, a win that set the stage for his prolific career. Hailed as “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Events,” the Las Vegas auction will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center and feature hundreds of desirable collector vehicles and lavish lifestyle events, while SPEED cameras capture live, high-definition coverage.

“We’ve sold some special cars during our 37-year history, but this MG ranks among the most significant vehicles to ever cross the Barrett-Jackson auction block,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “In 2007, we sold the ultra-rare 427 Shelby Cobra Super Snake, followed by Carroll’s personal ‘69 GT500 convertible this year in Scottsdale. Now, we’re offering collectors a chance to nab the race car that started it all for the legend over half a century ago, while also benefitting one of his charities. Carroll is an American icon both behind the wheel and under the hood – an inspiration to enthusiasts of all ages.”

Shelby also fired up the MG TC for the day’s second race in Norman, driving it to another victory against the much higher-profile Jaguar XK120s. The back-to-back victories led to one of the most storied careers in motorsports, which pinnacled in 1956 and 1957 when Shelby was consecutively named Sports Car Illustrated’s “Driver of the Year.” He went on to build the legendary Shelby Cobra and Shelby Mustang, along with a slew of other vehicles that have become performance icons.

“My good friend in Dallas, Ed Wilkins, owned the car and let me drive it in the race,” noted Carroll Shelby. “Because it was early in my career, I still had a lot to learn but knew how to go fast. This MG changed my life, because from that point forward, I knew that I wanted to be involved with racing and sport cars.”

The dark green MG TC sports the original 1250cc, 4-cylinder engine with a 4-speed transmission that has since been tuned up to 100-plus horsepower and is race-ready. The new owner will also receive the SCCA Log Book, as well as the original fenders, bonnet and mechanical parts that were stripped from the car for competition. For over 20 years, the MG has been part of the famous Syd Silverman Collection and is well known on the MG vintage race car circuit.

“In addition to the amazing story, this MG is in pristine condition and it’s track-ready,” added Davis. “It would be quite a thrill to drive this beautiful sports car in a vintage race, knowing that Carroll crossed his first finish line behind the same wheel. It’s truly a collector’s dream and will serve as the cornerstone of our inaugural Las Vegas event.”

Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Barrett-Jackson specializes in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners, astute collectors and automotive enthusiasts around the world. The company produces the “World’s Greatest Collector Car Events” in Scottsdale, Palm Beach, Fla. and Las Vegas. For more information about Barrett-Jackson, visit or call (480) 421-6694.

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