Inside Las Vegas' Shelby American Car Museum

Ever wondered what the original AC Cobra looks like? Or better yet, are you curious about the car's first promotional campaign in the 1960s? A trip to the Shelby American Museum in Las Vegas will provide the answers to your performance car curiosity.

"You hear some of the stories," said Gary Patterson, Vice President of Shelby American Inc. "They painted (the Cobra) a different color every time a new magazine came in to give the illusion that more than one car existed."

These are the types of things you'll learn when you take a tour of the Shelby American Museum, a living tribute to legendary racecar driver Carroll Shelby'’s impact to the automotive world on and off of the speedway. Shelby is known for his partnership with the Ford Motor Company that created Shelby American Autos in 1962 after a heart ailment forced him into retirement from driving.

"He hung up his helmet after the 1960 season and thought, you know, if I can't race them, maybe I can build them," said Patterson.

Along with the original Cobra, you'll also find the 50th anniversary edition of the same car, two vintage blue and white 1965 GT350s Mustangs and current models like the 2012 GT350 and 2010 Shelby GT500. Simply put, it's a car enthusiasts dream come true.

"You get everybody in here," said Patterson. "From the guy who remembers it in high school and it was something he could never own, to the guy that owned one back then, sold it to raise a family, or maybe he's still got it."

Visitors are also treated to a tour of the manufacturing plant behind the museum. Depending on the year of your Ford Mustang, it could be eligible for a Shelby upgrade if you bring it down to the company's Las Vegas headquarters.

"If you got a Mustang GT, certainly if it's red, white or blue, we can make it a GT 350. If you have a 2007 GT500, we can turn that Cobra into a Super Snake," says Patterson.

Whether it's a tour of the museum or a behind-the-scenes look at how Shelby’s cars are made, Patterson says the tour is an important part of American automotive history.

“Caroll Shelby is all about America, (it’s) in our name,” said Patterson, referring to the company’s title Shelby American. “The Cobra today is the most copied car in the world, so if imitation is the greatest form of flattery, I think we’ve got a winner.”

Pete Griffin is part of the Junior Reporter program at Fox News. Get more information on the program here.