5 Best Interiors from Road America

Posted July 27, 2017

Story and Photos by Dean Larson

I’ve never claimed to be a photographer, but I definitely enjoy wielding a camera around every once in a while. And when I do, chances are I’ll come home with plenty of interior shots. Something about wooden steering wheels and crisp old gauges lends itself to awesome photos. I didn’t exactly set out to find the best interiors at Vintage Weekend, so there’s probably a lot of nice ones I missed, but we thought you might enjoy this short-list of the best interiors we photographed at the track.

No. 5 Superformance Cobra

This selection might surprise you, since we’re looking at a fairly standard Cobra, but bear with me for a minute. We’ve seen all types of Cobra interiors from great, to not so great. The seating position of the Cobra and limited dash space above the steering column necessitates a somewhat unconventional gauge layout. Even the real-deal, authentic Shelbys have a lot of variation between models and years, and some versions seem completely impractical.

The car we’re looking at here has a nice, well thought out dash layout with everything in accessible locations. The Smiths gauges are the most authentic option out there today for if you’re building a later Cobra and this one even has the iconic reverse-sweep speedometer. All the other details also seem to be in order like the AC pedals, gearshift and transmission tunnel.

Overall, Superformance did a great job putting together a mostly authentic and practical interior, definitely worth a mention at No. 5.

No. 4 Shelby G.T. 500

I’m a muscle car guy, no doubt, but I can’t say in good conscience that the muscle car era was an absolute high point for interiors. Most of these cars were about going as fast as possible, for as cheap as possible. But that’s not to say there aren’t some standouts from that time. This Shelby GT 500 caught our eye from a Texas mile away and we weren’t disappointed when we got a closer look. From the Goodyear treads, to the hubcaps and chrome work, this car was right. And that goes for the interior as well, which was done nicely, but not overdone. The dual-pod dash layout gives the Mustang a great feel and the Shelby version received some great stainless and full instrumentation. There’s definitely been some restoration work to make this interior show as nicely as it does, but kudos to the owner for keeping (what looks to be) the factory carpet.

The GT 500 might be a muscle car, but its interior is a cut above its peers, and definitely good enough for our fourth-place slot.

No. 3 Shelby Cobra CSX 2350

We’re going to keep it short on this one because you’ll be seeing this car again in the future, but this original Cobra was too good to leave off the list. CSX 2350 has an amazing history and has been touched by the likes of Bob Bondurant, Zora Arkus-Duntov and more. The car has been altered cosmetically and mechanically several times over the years making it totally unique and irreplaceable.

Looking at the interior, you might notice an interesting mix of FIA and street Cobra touches. The car actually started out as a street Cobra and was then modified for the track, hence the traditional roadster seat on the passenger side. We did not ask if the interior was original, but it’s obvious it has been in the car for some time. The early Stewart-Warner gauges are a nice contrast to the larger Smiths gauges on our fifth-place car and look to be unaltered. The FIA-style roll bar and single-sided windshield were obviously not standard features on the street Cobra and were added in at some point in its racing career. 

No. 2 1967 Ford Fairlane

Another Ford/Shelby product, we apologize, but it really seemed to be a Ford year. Hang on though, we’ve got something totally different coming in our No. 1 slot.

This ’67 Fairlane is an amazing recreation of the car raced by the successful Parnelli Jones. The owner claims that the car was just an average Fairlane before he transformed it into the Jones tribute car and it’s obvious the he spared no expense. But we’ll hold off on going any further into that story, we’re hoping to track down the owner for a potential feature.

If I had to describe this interior in one word, it would be crisp. Everything inside is clean, in beautiful condition and accurate. The small-diameter Stewart-Warner gauges fit the dash fill-plate perfectly and the partial-sweep tachometer is just right in a ’60s American car. The lack of sound deadeners and carpet and the use of sheet-metal door cards look just right for an old race car. The roll cage is beautifully integrated into the interior and the welds look very professional. It’s odd to imagine, but the highlight of this gnarly interior just might be the switchgear. The Holman Moody switch plate on the dash really took this car up a notch, in my opinion, along with the matching switches between the seats. Together, they’re just nice enough to catch your eye, but totally fitting for an old race car.

Again, we’re hoping to track down the owner of this machine, so let us know if you know something we don’t. 

No. 1 Ferrari 500 Superfast Spyder Americano

Looking at the interior of our No. 1 car, you’ll probably agree that this was never a fair fight. You’d assume by the badges that this car is the range-topping 500 Superfast spyder, but some internet digging reveals that to be not quite the case. There were no roadster/spyder verisons of the 500 Superfast built, and this car is actually a stunning custom project. The car was built solely using Ferrari parts including a 250 GTE chassis and a rare 4,963 cc Ferrari V12, all wrapped in custom Italian coachwork. That custom work extends to the inside, where you’ll find one of the most jaw-dropping interiors we’ve laid eyes on.

If you search the web, you’ll see that the interior here doesn’t match up with a stock 500 Superfast interior. It might be sacrilegious to say, but I’d take this interior over the standard Ferrari interior any day. The crinkle-coated dash houses full Italian instrumentation, including a matching lap-time recorder. The stainless and wood steering wheel couldn’t look better and a closer look reveals etching in the wheel spokes.

Internet chatter reveals that the owner of the car (a Wisconsin native) is around 6’ 4,” which might explain the custom seats and adjustable pedals. The seats are nothing like the Ferrari originals, but instead are an ideal-looking lightweight style.    

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