Been Reading Issue 12

You can hardly deny that anything built under the auspices of Mr C. Shelby has had more than its fair share of print over the years; by the same token, plenty of fans would say that you could never have too much. Anyway, here’s a new title with an interesting angle.

The title is The First Three Shelby Cobras, which should give the game away somewhat, and is the latest in a Porter Press series called Exceptional Cars. Yes, the author has elected to concentrate on the first three cars – CSX2000, CSX2001 and CSX2002 – to leave the Shelby stable. CSX2000 is, of course, the prototype, and the one to which the ‘multiple paint jobs’ story is attributed. The legend goes that the Cobra was much in demand for car shows, press tests etc, but as there was only one car built, Shelby just repainted it after every event to make it appear that there were many. Hogwash, apparently, as underneath its current hue there is only the Dean Moon-applied yellow.

Then there’s CSX2001, the first ‘production’ car, which naturally ended up on the track and saw more of Europe than America. Then there’s CSX2002, the race car that paved the way for Cobra dominance of sports car racing.

A good deal of the first half of the book is given over to the story of how a Texas chicken farmer and a British low-volume sports car builder came to team up to beat the world, but the majority is all about those first three cars. It’s well researched, fascinating, and easy to read. Plus, of course, it’s jammed with period photographs and modern studio shoots of the cars in question. The book is beautifully presented in hardback, and printed on lovely, top-quality paper (am I the only one with a paper fetish when it comes to books like this?).

It’s a stunner, so grab a copy now. The First Three Shelby Cobras – The Sports Car That Changed The Game, by Gordon Bruce, published by Porter Press International, RRP £30. See www.porterpress.co.uk for details and availability.