Power Profile: Dave Eber’s Shelby Heritage Runs Deeper Than Most

Unless your last name is Shelby, there are probably few people who can say they were raised closer to the marquee than Dave Eber. “I grew up around Shelby Mustangs and Cobras as my father was one of the original founders of the Shelby American Automobile Club. As long as I can remember there was always something cool around.” Do tell…

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Purchased while still in college, Dave Eber’s Paxton supercharged ’66 GT350 likely gave incoming freshman reason to call home at night.

“There were always several Cobras around the house in various states of repair,” recalls Dave. “At that time they were fairly worthless and I remember my younger brother and I using old worn out factory competition Cobras as our jungle gym.” A fate few would even dare to imagine today.

“We also had a dark blue 289 street Cobra that we would go everywhere in,” Dave said who currently resides in North Carolina. “At the time we lived in New York, and I remember the four of us would pile into it and take it to Massachusetts to see my grandparents. I would sit on my mother’s lap and my brother would sit on the transmission tunnel between the seats. It was great as long as it didn’t rain because he didn’t have a top for that one.”

Dave was snake bitten.

Having practically been born with Shelby in his veins, there was no doubt Eber would add his name to the title of one of Shelby's early creations.

Eber’s formative years were spent in Westchester County New York before heading off to college in Rhode Island where he purchased his first ’66 GT350. “From there I moved to Dearborn, Michigan to be part of the SAAC Mustang program.”

At the conclusion of the program, a move to Raleigh, North Carolina followed where Dave again found himself surrounded by vintage muscle working for PROVA International specializing in “selling vintage ’50s and ’60s Ferraris as well as Cobras (including two of the six Daytona Coupes), GT40s, etc.”

Dave’s first car was a used ’84 Mustang GT Turbo. “It was red/black with T-tops and a manual transmission,” recalls Eber. “It looked just like a GT but instead of the 5.0L it had an anemic 2.3L turbo.

“I think my father Ken was trying to protect me from myself because he knew what would have happened if I had a 5.0L as my first car. He did however have a lapse in judgement because after having several problems with the car over the next year or so he finally got me an ’86 5.0L Mustang GT.”

A procession of new brakes and tires would follow soon after.

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1 of 3 factory supercharged SAAC Mustangs, Eber’s blown #001 originally dyno’d at 503 hp and 526 lbs-ft of torque.

Back to the Future

Fast forward to the early ’90s and Dave found himself at the forefront of another Shelby evolution. Father Ken and fellow Shelby American Auto Club founder Rick Kopec set out to build the next generation GT 350. With Shelby’s approval, the SAAC car company was launched.

With cooperation from Ford’s Power products group the company hand-built a limited run of these special cars known as the SAAC MK 1. Unlike a Fox-body GT, the MK1 bared little resemblance to its production counterpart.

All white with blue stripes hatchbacks and were only available to current SAAC members. Being the son of one of the founders put Dave in an enviable position, the owner of serial number 001!

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Membership has its privileges, and when your family…well, we’ll just let this picture do the talking.

“There were three supercharged SAAC Mustangs made,” said Eber. “Each fitted with Eibach stock racing springs, yellow Koni racing front struts, 160 mph police-certified speedometer and aluminum driveshaft. None of which was available on the production run.”

Additionally, Eber’s 001 supercharged car had its stock 302 removed and built with a race prepared SVO 4-bolt main block bored to 325 cid.

Digital fuel injection kept the juices flowing while aluminum ported and polished TFS heads were part of a potent combo that included Carillo rods and JE pistons. Meanwhile, Lincoln MK VII rear upper control arms kept the car firmly planted on the ground.

How special is this car? Total SAAC Mustang production, with Eber's being the only build of its kind, totaled 62 units including MKI, MKII & Snake models.

“Originally the car was built with 3-inch side exhaust,” Eber laughed. No doubt, this put all comers on notice that this wasn’t your standard Mustang. For Eber, it’s not so much about the rarity of his cars as it is the memories they hold.

“My advice to people getting into classic cars is buy the car you really want rather then the one you think will appreciate the most or the one your friends think you should buy.”

jpemerson.com

With it’s one of a kind status and limited production run, the SAAC Mustang is destined to join its early Shelby collectible heritage.

“Whatever the reason may be,” said Dave, “you don’t have to justify it. These are the cars I wanted back then and I still enjoy them today.” Whether a short drive or Eber’s favorite cruise spot, the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, these cars were meant to be driven.

Just the way ole’ Shel and dad intended.

About the author

JP Emerson

My affliction with vintage iron is matched only by my knowledge of classic Rock ’N Roll. Although a heavy lean to all things Ford blue, I have a sharp appreciation for all makes and models, especially those that gulp gas and drop oil to mark their territory. Having provided work for multiple magazines, manufacturers, SEMA, and a top secret list of celebrity and auto insiders, I understand the bond between cars and owners.
Read My Articles

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