LOS ANGELES — Plagued by lawsuits, an angry Carroll Shelby says he will cancel a licensing agreement with a company that has fallen far behind on customer orders for vintage Shelby Mustangs.
The 84-year-old sports car hero says the company, Unique Performance Inc., has taken millions of dollars in deposits for cars bearing his name. But some customers have been waiting for more than two years for their vehicles, and several have filed lawsuits.
At least 10 customers have sued Unique Performance. And Shelby Automobiles Inc. also has been named as a defendant in suits.
"We've been sued by numerous people," Carroll Shelby told Automotive News. "We cannot continue to accept excuses."
Shelby is engaged in a war of words with Douglas Hasty, Unique Performance's CEO, who says Shelby's operations are mostly to blame for the problem. Hasty says faulty engines supplied by Shelby Automobiles contributed to the production delays.
Since 2002, Unique Performance has partnered with Shelby to re-engineer and refurbish 1960s vintage Shelby Mustangs that range in price from just under $100,000 to more than $200,000.
Customers complain that Unique, headquartered near Dallas, has taken nearly $7 million in deposits but has a backlog of 50 to 60 orders going back to 2005. Hasty admits to the problems but points a finger at the Shelby camp.
"Production delays with the vintage vehicle lines stem back to problems with Shelby 427FE engines supplied by our vendor dating back to August 2005," Hasty wrote in an e-mail to Automotive News.