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Shelby Cobra Fifty Years [Hardcover]

Colin Comer , Carroll Shelby
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 22 2011

In the early 1960s Carroll Shelby, a Texas chicken farmer turned champion race driver, had the audacity to think he could start his own car manufacturing company. To further emphasize the gargantuan proportions of his vision, Shelby decided his company would manufacture nothing but ultra-high-performance sports cars, beginning with the landmark Cobra, introduced in 1962. To the amazement of everyone except Ol’ Shel’ himself, Shelby Automobiles succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest expectations, building cars that would provide the benchmarks for performance (benchmarks that stand to this day) and winning world championships in the process. Shelby Cobra Fifty Years is a complete history of Shelby’s Cobra sports cars. Beginning with a prologue about the events that led up to Shelby’s decision to build a high-performance sports car, the main portion of the book tells the history of the production Cobra street cars and race cars, ending with an epilogue about the continuation cars.

2011 International Automotive Media Bronze Award Winner

 


Frequently Bought Together

Shelby Cobra Fifty Years + The Complete Book of Shelby Automobiles: Cobras, Mustangs, and Super Snakes + Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography
Price For All Three: CDN$ 87.15

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Review

"THE GREATEST CAR BOOK OF ALL TIME. Colin Comer's Shelby Cobra: Fifty Years (Motorbooks, $40) is a milestone, an evocative love letter to the only American hot rod with a household name. Comer, a Shelby collector and racer, packs this gorgeous tome with illuminating no-fking-way interviews and miles-deep photography that tells the sweat-and-blood stories of the car's legend. Cobra mastermind Carrolll Shelby died in May, and his cars regularly trade hands for millions. Save having the man's ghost school you over drinks, it gets no better than this."-ESQUIRE
 
"I will cut to the chase and give you the Official Ringing Endorsement: That book is the best car book I've read this year. It's wonderfully assembled and passionately written, and it takes a refreshingly new angle on a much-discussed subject. Buy it. (Disclosure: I receive no financial benefit from sales of this book.) In addition to documenting the history and personalities behind one of America's most wonderful automobiles, it's just plain fun to flip through." - Autos.msn.com
 
"Anyone looking for abundant photos, and an easy read, will want “Shelby Cobra Fifty Years,” which focuses solely on the two-seat sports car. The prose is gee-whiz reverential. (In fact, the best reading is found in the sidebars: interviews with various Cobra collectors and profiles of people like Phil Remington and Pete Brock, indispensable figures in the creation of Shelby’s cars.) The eye candy matters here: abundant photos that capture the racing history and mechanical details. For a model builder like me, the book answers almost every question about what goes where and how it is supposed to look. If you’re lucky enough (and rich enough) to find a real Cobra to restore, you can get a good head start from Mr. Comer’s book."  - The New York Times
 
 "Several books have been written about Carroll Shelby, but if we had to narrow it down to just one, it would be Colin Comer's Shelby Cobra Fifty Years. Although Comer admits he was born too late to live through the early Shelby years, his passion for the Texan and his merry band of hot-rodders is reflected in this beautifully written book, which has many classic shots from Shelby's archives. And don't miss the interview with ace mechanic Phil Remington, who's still going strong in his 90s” - ROAD & TRACK


"Just when you thought you had read every book you needed to read about Cobras, along comes one more must-have tome. While this won’t be the last book written on these cars, it is probably the last one that needs to be written. It is that good. Colin Comer has proven, by this book, that he really does have an excellent handle on the Cobra. He brings to his writing a solid and well-grounded background gained by working on the cars, racing them, and maintaining a dealership where he regularly buys and sells them. This is the last Cobra book you will need...until Comer writes the next one: Shelby Cobra — One Hundred Years. It’s due out in 2062." - The Shelby American (Shelby American Automobile Club magazine), Fall 2011



“Imagine your favorite magazine—thought provoking, definitive, technical, personal, and stylish—was actually a coffee-table book. That’s how Colin Comer’s insightful new Shelby Cobra history reads— cozy, friendly, and fun, but weighty. A polymath racer, writer, dealer, and muscle car guru, Comer is too young to have been there in the day, but he’s met just about everyone who was, and his obsessive attention to detail, leavened by sturdy, witty prose, make this a volume we expect to reference for a long time.” - Automobile Magazine
 
"Author Colin Comer freely admits that he was captivated by the legend of the Shelby Cobra at a young age and remains so. As a Cobra owner, restorer and racer, he brings to his book insider knowledge, not only talking the talk but also walking the walk. It’s a read that will make you feel a part of the inner circle, even if you’ve only dreamed of owning a Cobra but never have. Comer does not miss the rich competition history and I especially enjoyed the chapter on “Costly Cobra Trinkets,” cover the promotional items that are so collectible today. Beautifully laid out with a plethora of nicely reproduced photos. Shelby Cobra Fifty Years is a masterful tribute to the marque." - Vintage Motorsport
 
"... this is the last Cobra book you will need...until Comer writes the next one."
Just when you thought you had read every book you needed to read about Cobras, along comes a must-have tome. While this won’t be the last book written on these cars, it is probably the last one that needs to be written. It is that good. Shelby Cobra Fifty Years is well researched, well written and it contains an excellent variety of photos—both historical as well as current—that provide an insightful look at the Cobra mystique. Every picture is intelligently captioned and almost all of them contain the cars’ serial number. We especially like that. This is the last Cobra book you will need...until Comer writes the next one.
- From the Shelby American Automobile Club's magazine, The Shelby American 

From the Inside Flap

There are some things in life that are beyond the abilities of a single person, such as starting a successful automobile manufacturing company and producing world-championship automobiles. Right. Try telling that to Carroll Shelby. When health issues cut his promising racing career short, he set out to do the impossible—start his own car company and build a sports car capable of beating the very best the world had to offer, including Ferrari. Especially Ferrari, in fact. Not only did Shelby and his modest Cobra succeed, but he and his supposedly antiquated little roadster absolutely rubbed Enzo Ferrari’s face in the asphalt, humiliating the mighty Italian so thoroughly that his eponymous company abandoned sports car racing altogether.
 
Shelby Cobra: Fifty Years tells the story of Carroll Shelby’s American-British hybrid sports car, celebrating its exploits on the track, on the street, and more recently, on the auction block. In so doing, it chronicles Shelby’s amazing accomplishments, as well as the invaluable contributions of Shelby’s brilliant team consisting of Phil Remington, Ken Miles, Peter Brock, and many more of the greatest automotive geniuses of all time. This book is an essential addition to the library of any Cobra fan, Shelby fan, racing fan, or anyone who just enjoys a great story.


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "BugSmasher" Aug. 16 2012
Format:Hardcover
Absolutely one of the best if not the BEST all round Cobra book out there & it can't be beat for the price. I have a very extensive collection of books dealing with Carroll Shelby & his team at Shelby America. I am also a member of the Shelby American Automobile Club & of course own the Shelby Registry's but Colin's book: " Shelby Cobra Fifty Years " is just a super mind blower! Everything about this book is just great & second to none. The book regularly comes out of the bookcase to renew the write/ups & the fabulous photos along with captions. If a person is ever going to buy or obtain just one book on Shelby AC Cobras I highly recommend this book ! Colin & his crew along with contributors have came up with a real winner. Any serious collector of Cobra books should have this book in their collection, it's a must have ! I have had this book since the spring of 2011 & it still comes out regularly as I mentioned above ! Like one of the reviewers noted another fine book if you can find it is Trevor Legate's Cobra The First Forty Years , a fine companion book to Colin's. In owning these two books you will get perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic & lots of great photos. FIVE STARS FOR BOTH !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Nov. 14 2011
By Stu
Format:Hardcover
This book is amazing. It's very informative and filled with lots of original pictures and facts about the history of the Cobra. If you have a passion for the Cobra than this is a must read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Yet Oct. 14 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Well the author has done it again. From Million Dollar Muscle Cars, to Complete History of Shelby and now Cobra 50 years: another steller work ! Witty, well written text,quality construction, reasonable price and excellent photography. Even the vintage B+W photos are well reproduced.

Speaking of the B+W pictures, I don't know where Mr.Comer digs these up, as again with his previous Shelby volume, virtually all of them are not in any of my several other Shelby / Cobra volumes and these incl from Shelby team photographer Dave Friedman's portfolio.

Overall, Cobra 50 years and his Complete Histroy of Shelby, are the best books I've come across, and yes, I did find cobra data that I hadn't come across before. Way to go Colin !!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Book On Cobras You'll Ever Need To Buy Oct. 7 2011
By Cobraman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I've read every Cobra book ever printed, since Carroll Shelby's first book, "The Cobra Story," in 1965. I own an original Cobra, so I'm not some young buck, full of testosterone, who has stars in his eyes and just arrived at the party. I have to say that this book is one of the very best--if not the best--book about the history of Cobras ever written. High praise, but everything about this book is spot-on. The photo quality is top shelf, and even though it is impossible to put a book on Cobras together without using some photos taken in the 1960s which have not already been used somewhere else, author Comer has chosen wisely and has provided intelligent and purposeful captions for them. The color shots which are much more current--most showing cars which have been restored--are nothing short of heart-stopping. The colors virtually drip off the page.

The Cobra story has been told and retold ad infinitum, to the point where there are very few surprises left when it is told one more time. But Comer mixes original history with current details and tidbits that makes reading about this subject both entertaining and interesting. And most importantly, he has his facts right.

The only criticism I have is that he did not include a picture of my Cobra in his book. But if he had, this review wouldn't have much validity.

If you want to buy the best book yet on Cobras, this is the one. And no--I am not related to Colin Comer. I am just telling it like it is.

Cobraman.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shelby Cobra Fifty Years Oct. 11 2011
By TEG - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've read Colin Comer's other books (Million Dollar Muscle Cars and The Complete Book of Shelby Automobiles) and now his newest book. These books are unlike anything else being published in the field of automotive writing/journalism. The Shelby books contain outstanding historical information combined with original photographs that I have never seen anywhere else. The amount of research that went into making these publications is extraordinary. The quality of the writing is superb as is the quality of the book itself. To say that these books, especially the Shelby books, are of the "coffee table" type is completely inaccurate. They are so much more meaningful than just a thick book with great photos. I would highly recommend the book(s) for racing enthusiasts, car collectors (and those of us that want to be!), Shelby and Ford fans, or just people that enjoy good writing and have an appreciation for something uniquely American.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THe comprehensive guide to The Shelby Cobra! LOVE IT! Oct. 7 2011
By Kati B - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have only thumbed through the photo filled pages, and read a few bits and bobs, but so far this book is blowing my mind! I love the bright shining photos, the most excellent stories told, and the smell of the pages filled with history of an era gone by. I strongly suggest you buy this wonderful book about a most amazing car, the people who designed it, built it, drove it and fixed it. You will get your money's worth, I promise you!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shelby Cobra 50 Years Dec 19 2011
By Greg Kolasa, SAAC Shelby Registrar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When I first picked up Colin Comer's new book, I admit I must have been half (more?) asleep because the title didn't make sense. 50 years? What was 50 years? Then I did the math (DUH!) and lo and behold, Shelby's Cobra truly is a half century old. It sure doesn't seem that long, but then again, it doesn't seem that long since I was a skinny kid...but it was. So now that the title made sense, I flipped thru the book and to say that it also makes sense is a huge understatement. Simply put, this is a great book! Now, I admit that as a SAAC Registrar, I'm a hard-core junkie for the original photos, and here, Colin doesn't disappoint. In fact, that's another understatement...there are a ton of those neat, black-and-white factory photos to keep even me from grumbling. Sure, there are a couple of the "obligatory" shots that we've all seen a hundred times before, but by and large, Colin has really pulled the stops out and produced a ton of unique, unpublished photos. I'm not sure who captions his images but whoever they are, they should keep at it: the captions are informative, factual and largely correct but on top of that (an added bonus), they are just enough "tongue-in-cheek" to keep them from being too boring.

What is refreshingly unusual about Comer's book is that it is technically correct; this seems to be a rarity nowadays. I believe I spotted only one small error and this may well be MY misunderstanding of the historical events, not his: the book claims that when Shelby American began putting the lower-cost 428 engines in Cobras as a cost-saving measure, it was the owners who complained. I had always thought it was actually Ford upper management who nixed the idea and demanded the 427 powerplants go back in, but I could be wrong. But this serves to illustrate the small scale of any potential goofs in-print.

Another really cool thing that Comer does is that he presents some neat "in-between" photos (photos of the cars in the early '70s and '80s, before they became restored museum pieces) that, like many of the original P.R. shots, have never been seen before. I'm not a huge fan of the "current day" stuff (it would have been nice if the book had focused on only the vintage and "in-between" stuff but I also admit that that's just my preference and it might have limited the book's appeal) but to be honest, a complete Cobra book should be up-to-date and Colin (along with the always-pleasing Dave Newhardt photography) delivers. In summation, whether you're an old Cobra junkie or just becoming hooked on the subject, this book is a "must have" for your collection.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars remarkable new book among many on this subject March 29 2012
By R. Wachtel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A fantastic book. No matter how many books i have on Cobras in my library, this is a must addition to it. It's an easy and enjoyable read with many facts i never knew before.
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