Barbara Cottos, a Sahuarita resident and secretary of the Santa Cruz Valley Car Nuts, treasures her iconic red 1969 Shelby GT500 Mustang, a family heirloom since its debut. Instead of entertaining offers to sell, Cottos takes pride in the rich history and sentimental value attached to her beloved car.
A Family Legacy
Cottos inherited the Shelby from her brother, Ed Bigby, who purchased it brand new in 1969. Having learned to drive a stick shift on this classic beauty, Cottos developed a deep affection for its style, color, and performance. Her passion for cars, instilled by her brother, became a lifelong commitment.
Car Care Expertise
Under Ed’s guidance, Cottos mastered the basics of car care, emphasizing the importance of regular maintenance and understanding the intricacies of the transmission. Through the years, meticulous care has kept the Shelby in prime condition, with a significant engine rebuild in 2011 by the Blue Opal Racing Team in Denver.
The restoration went beyond a mere engine rebuild. Clay Marsh, a friend, contributed to the on-frame restomod, introducing modern enhancements like an electronic starter and fuel injection. The meticulous attention to detail ensured the car’s longevity, and it now boasts an impressive 5,500 horsepower at 3,400 RPMs.
Community and Club Involvement
Moving to Sahuarita in 2016, Cottos quickly integrated into the car enthusiast community, joining the Santa Cruz Valley Car Nuts. She appreciates the positive attitude, engaging activities, and camaraderie among members. The club’s passion for cars is evident in their runs, fundraisers, and shared love for automobiles.
Showstopper on Wheels
The Shelby, adorned with a vibrant red paint job that has endured for 32 years, never fails to captivate onlookers. Whether at local shows or community events, the car attracts attention and elicits fond memories from admirers, especially among the older generation.
The Joy of Showcasing at Car Events
Preparing for car shows involves a thorough cleaning regimen to ensure the Shelby looks its best. Cottos takes pride in presenting the car in its prime, showcasing its timeless appeal. The anticipation of participating in the 29th Annual Sahuarita Classics Car Show, organized in collaboration with the Town of Sahuarita, adds to the excitement.
Diverse Car Culture
Cottos eagerly looks forward to the car show, where enthusiasts gather to share their unique perspectives on car aesthetics. With over 500 vehicles showcased last year, the event provides a platform for appreciating diverse ideas, from maintaining original appearances to customizing with unique paint jobs and added components.
As a testament to the Shelby’s reliability and significance in her life, Cottos affirms that her cherished car is here to stay. Beyond being a mode of transportation, the Shelby represents a connection to family, a passion for cars, and a symbol of enduring memories.
In Conclusion: A Timeless Companion
Barbara Cottos’ 1969 Shelby GT500 Mustang stands not just as a classic car but as a timeless companion that has weathered the years with grace. Its enduring allure, combined with Cottos’ unwavering affection, highlights the profound impact a well-maintained and cherished vehicle can have on one’s life and community.