By Ken Walker

Photos by Doug Pawlak of Cafe Photo and Ken Walker

There’s another sleepy town down around San Antone (besides the Doobie Brothers’ China Grove) that comes alive in the early spring of each year with the invasion of the Texas Cobra Club Spring Meet. Dozens of Cobras, GT40s and Daytona Coupes hailing from all over our great nation converge on San Marcos, Texas, for this annual event. From its humble beginning back in 2000, with about 15 or so Cobras gathering in Austin for a lunch outing, the TCC Spring Meet has become one the premier gatherings of folks wanting to pay homage to Carroll Shelby and his legacy of racing machines.

For 18 glorious years the Austin Chapter of the Texas Cobra Club has hosted this annual event. It has grown in notoriety and leaves its mark on the Texas Hill Country every year. To quote their website, “We cruise the Hill Country, get track time at Harris Hill Raceway, and sit around in the hotel lobby telling lies about outrunning cops and how many coeds flashed us wanting a ride.”

Fittingly, this event has always been called a meet — not a car show. That’s because cars are rarely sitting still at the TCC Spring Meet. There are thousands upon thousands of miles of winding Texas Hill Country roads to explore and cruise. Roads like the Devil’s Backbone, Twisted Sisters, and Three Sisters are just a few of the exotically named byways. Even though Willie and Waylon were not on hand, many attendees went to Lukenbach, Texas, for a cool beverage. Other stops along the way were Fredericksburg, Boerne, Lockhart, Dripping Springs, Gruene and Wimberley, just to name a few.

In the past, most attendees have arrived on Thursday for an extended weekend, when most of the activities get started, but this year more than 40 cars showed up a day early to get a jump on things. (After all, what Cobra fans aren’t enthusiastic about their rides and hanging out with fellow owners?) Harris Hill Raceway opened its doors on Thursday afternoon for the TCC Spring Meet with an open race event and the opportunity for a parade photo shoot. About 20 cars participated in the track day event.

Also trying to add something new to the Spring Meet, on Thursday evening just about sundown, a mock drive-in theater was set up and showed the always popular The Gumball Rally on the silver screen. The Friday night activities included a Texas Style Hamburger Cookout and Tailgate Party.

For the past seven years, Tito’s Handmade Vodka has been a major sponsor of the event and this year was no different. Tito’s even supplies a couple of carnival games, and all proceeds from the games and the dinner went to club charities. The silent auction and raffle during the banquet on Saturday evening raised over $3,500 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. At the banquet, James Yale from Radical Roadster of Texas was named the 2017 TCC president.

For many, this was their first encounter with the Texas Cobra Club. About a quarter of all those attending are first-timers. However, the event is not just for Texas Cobra Club members. In fact, there were cars and drivers from 13 different states. Of the 135 or so cars at the event, over a third were from outside of Texas.  

For the past several years, the Ohio Cobra Club has brought its raffle car to the event to sell tickets and to promote the London Cobra Show. This year, the Ohio Club was represented by about a dozen cars. The Texas Cobra Club proudly supports the OCC in donating to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

This year there were no major issues with the cars or the drivers. Everyone made it back to the hotel each night safely with nothing more than a little sunburn and sore cheeks from smiling and laughing so much.

“From my perspective, it was the best one yet,” enthused attendee John Shelton. “I would go back tomorrow if I could, but if we did it more often, it would be less meaningful. If we did it bigger, it would be less personal. And if we did it somewhere else, well, it wouldn’t be Texas!”