Strip area to get a new attraction: Famed Shelby American cars

Late-model Shelby Mustangs are lined up before a classic car parade on the Strip on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. The annual parade serves as a kick-off to the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auto auction at Mandalay Bay.

Carroll Shelby Dies at 89

Automotive legend Carroll Shelby poses in front of his Shelby Series 1 sports cars at his plant in Las Vegas, Friday, Oct. 27, 2000. The Texas-born Shelby is mass producing a new generation of roadsters not in Detroit, but in the desert outside Las Vegas. The $174,975 Shelby Series 1 sports cars are 21st-century clones of his 1965 Cobra. And unlike his earlier model, the Shelby Series 1 has creature comforts like roll-up windows and air conditioning. Launch slideshow »

Topless shows, machine-gun shooting and high-stakes gambling.

Those are just a few of the attractions Las Vegas offers around the Strip.

Starting this fall, you can add muscle cars to the mix.

Las Vegas-based Shelby American is consolidating its local operations into a 135,000-square-foot facility roughly two miles south of the Strip at 6405 Ensworth St., just west of Las Vegas Boulevard near Sunset Road.

Along with car production and modification, the facility will feature a Shelby museum and gift shop. It also will offer factory tours.

The new headquarters is slated to open by November. Shelby’s current base of operations, spread among five buildings near the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, will shut down by Dec. 1, company President John Luft said.

Putting everything under one roof will accelerate production, and the new location near the Strip and McCarran International Airport will better expose the company to Las Vegas' almost 40 million annual visitors, executives said.

Many of the properties the company looked at were buried in industrial parks. The warehouse on Ensworth is close to the resort corridor and fronts Interstate 15, offering good visibility.

“It was the perfect combination,” Luft said.

Founded in 1962 by Carroll Shelby, a race car driver and entrepreneur who died in May 2012, Shelby American touts itself as the only automobile manufacturer in Nevada. Each year it builds between 50 and 75 Shelby Cobras and modifies an additional 225 to 450 cars for aesthetics and performance.

For between $10,000 and $150,000, Shelby can beef up Ford Mustangs, Raptors, even Focuses. The company typically equips the vehicles with better wheels, brakes, suspension systems and exhausts.

Shelby American moved to Las Vegas in the mid-1990s from Southern California. It initially settled in a small warehouse on Valley View Boulevard, but after a few years, moved to a pair of buildings near the Speedway. The company later expanded to occupy three more buildings nearby.

For years, Shelby products were available only through the company’s dealer network; car enthusiasts couldn't buy directly from the company. But that changed six or seven years ago.

The planned relocation is an effort to bolster retail efforts.

Shelby’s current headquarters are about 15 miles northeast of the Strip. Only about 50 to 75 people visit each day, although the factory displays a vintage car collection and offers tours of the production floor. Even many locals are unaware of the facility.

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