Been Reading Issue 11

Here’s a book that’s both glorious and rather sad at the same time. The title of the tome is Carroll Shelby – A Collection Of My Favourite Racing Photos, and what you can expect is exactly that. The author, Shelby’s family friend, Art Evans, has collected together an exceptional library of period photographs of the man himself and all his racing exploits.

There are a few early snaps from the family album and his wartime service, then his first steps into motor racing in 1952. From then on, each chapter is a year in his fascinating history, from the early Sports Car circuit, to Formula 1 and Le Mans, through his forced retirement from racing in 1960 to building Cobras and campaigning Ford’s GT40. Oddly, the Mustang GT350s raced in SCCA Trans Am barely get a mention. There’s equally little from his ‘retirement’ in 1968 until the tie-in with Chrysler in the Eighties and subsequent return to Mustangs in this century.

The bulk of the book is taken up with these superb photographs, with what amounts to large captions provided by Evans and additional notes and reminiscences from Shelby. It is an amazing read – that guy really did live the dream, and those photos are a glimpse into a world that we’ll never see the like of again. Racing a 1957 Ferrari 410S wearing a piss-pot helmet and striped dungarees, with not a sponsor’s logo to be seen? Absolutely.

What makes it sad is that Shelby died in the middle of putting this book together, with the result that it wasn’t published until some four years after his death. Still, at least those memories did get committed to paper, and even though Shelby is one of the best biographied figures in American automotive history, it’s always worth reading more. Carroll Shelby – A Collection Of My Favourite Racing Photos, by Art Evans and Carroll Shelby is published in hardback by CarTech with a RRP of £33.