When it comes to volumes of books published, Carroll Shelby isn’t exactly short of printers ink. The only problem – if it is a problem – is that the vast majority of those titles concern his work in the Sixties, the Cobra, the GT40s, the Mustangs and so on.
This book approaches it from the other end. Author, Chris Theodore, was lucky enough to work closely with Shelby, first at Chrysler during the Viper’s formative years, and later at Ford, when it was time to get that name and stylised snake back onto some really hot Mustangs. He also had a big hand in the Ford GT project, and, as the title of the book might suggest, the last Shelby Cobra, a concept codenamed Daisy…
This is a strange story, in as much as it’s part autobiography, part biography; however, it is an exceptionally enjoyable read. Having Shelby’s name on the cover isn’t just a clumsy name-drop to sell more books; these two guys really did work together, through almost 25 years of ups and downs, and during the under-chronicled later part of Shelby’s life. While Theodore was clearly a huge fan of Shelby’s work, as well as a contemporary colleague, this isn’t just about reflected glory or blowing sunshine up the late Mr Shelby’s bottom.
It’s genuinely about the inside scoop from the boardroom to the shop floor, and the process – often an uphill struggle – of convincing Ford brass of the value of expensive low-volume halo cars such as the GT.
It’s a fascinating and entertaining read, packed with beautiful photography throughout, and is perfect fireside reading for a long winter. Get it on your list to Santa, quick.
The Last Shelby Cobra – My Times With Carroll Shelby, by Chris Theodore, is published in hardback by Veloce with a RRP of £35.