Carroll Shelby‘s son Patrick and grandson Aaron made the winning $539,000 bid at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction in January to return Carroll’s first race car to the family home in Dallas, making the diminutive but singular 1949 MG TC the world’s most expensive MG for a long time to come.
Per the description on the Barrett-Jackson website:
The first car that Carroll Shelby drove in a road race. The car that started his racing career. In May of 1952, his good friend Ed Wilkins let Carroll Shelby drive this MG TC in a road race at Norman, Oklahoma. It was Shelby’s first sport car race. He won it, and the second race, too, easily outrunning the Jaguar XK120’s. That race and this car changed the course of his life as he went on to achieve immortality as creator of the Shelby Cobra and Mustang as well as other significant cars. This vintage race car was part of the famous Syd Silverman Collection for 20 years before being purchased by Ron Pratte. It’s well known throughout the MG vintage race car circuit. This historical MG was awarded the prestigious Collier Cup in 2005 at the all-MG vintage race in Watkins Glen, New York. It also sports the original 1250cc 4 cylinder engine that has been built up to 100+hp and is race-ready. This car nostalgically referred to and extensively talked about in numerous stories and articles including a recent interview with Carroll Shelby in the June 2008 issue of “Octane” magazine. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to own an important piece of automotive history.
Noted collector Ron Pratte bought the MG at Barrett-Jackson’s 2008 Las Vegas auction. He paid a then-record $313,500 for the MG, which Shelby had autographed on the inner door panel just before the sale to verify its authenticity.
“We were excited to hear the MG was going to be available as part of the sale of the Ron Pratte Collection,” said grandson Aaron Shelby. “My father and I reached out to (Barrett-Jackson President) Steve Davis to see if we could bid on the car quietly. We were concerned that people might not want to bid against Carroll’s family. That would not have been fair to Barrett-Jackson and Ron Pratte. So we asked that none of the other bidders would know that our family was bidding for the MG.”
As the MG crossed the block, Aaron was sitting in another star of the Pratte Collection, Carroll Shelby’s personal 1969 GT500, in the staging area. “I had a very unique perspective of the bidding on the MG” Aaron stated. “My father was bidding by telephone from home in Texas, while I sat in my grandfather’s personal Shelby GT500 watching the crowd’s reaction to the bidding. It was an exciting moment when I realized that we had won and that my grandfather’s first race car was coming back home to Dallas.”
As Aaron stepped out of the GT500 on the block, Davis announced the MG purchase by the Shelby family. The crowd roared its approval, knowing the car had found its way back home.