Shelby Cobra Fifty Years

Shelby Cobra Fifty Years by Colin Comer

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Format: Hardback, 256 Pages
ISBN: 9780760340295
Publisher: Motorbooks
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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


Early in his career, Carroll Shelby's accomplishments as a race car driver included breaking land-speed records at Bonneville and winning Le Mans in 1959 with teammate Roy Salvadori. As a team manager, Carroll was part of the FIA World Grand Touring Championship as well as the Ford GT victories at Le Mans. When his health forced him to give up racing in 1960, Carroll turned his attention to design. The result is what is considered to be perhaps the greatest sports car and one of the fastest road cars ever constructed: the Shelby Cobra. Even today, Ford's premier Mustang carries the Shelby name and iconic snake logo.

Colin Comer, respected authority on collector cars, is editor-at-large for Sports Car Market and American Car Collector magazines and a contributing editor for Road & Track magazine. Colin also regularly appears in such diverse publications as the New York Times, Business Week, USA Today, among others. Comer is the author of the bestselling and critically acclaimed books Million-Dollar Muscle Cars, The Complete Book of Shelby Automobiles, and Shelby Cobra Fifty Years. When not writing about cars, Colin is an avid vintage racer and pilot. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with wife Cana, daughter Remington, and a herd of dogs. Official Website:

Format: Hardback, 256 Pages
ISBN: 9780760340295
Illustrations: 309 color & 119 b-w images
Size: 10 in x 12.25 in x 1.125 in / 254 mm x 311.15 mm x 28.575 mm
“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 
"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." - "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

September 20, 2012
Shelby Cobra: Fifty Years was named Esquire Magazine's Greatest Car Book of All Time in its October issue. Read More.
June 14, 2012
Books about cars and motorsports can be very specific, zeroing in on a single model, a single innovator or a single racecourse. And they can be very broad, covering the automobile industry and its influence on American life. Here, in time for Father's Day gift buying, is a selection of five recent titles selected by the New York Times that encompass just such a range. Read More.
May 11, 2012
Carroll Shelby, a leader in the development of performance automobiles, died May 11 in Dallas, Texas. He was 89. Read More.
April 27, 2012
Sam Smith of MSN Autos says Shelby Cobra Fifty Years "is the best car book I've read this year." He continues: "It's wonderfully assembled and passionately written, and it takes a refreshingly new angle on a much-discussed subject. Buy it." Read More.
January 19, 2012
Automobile Magazine calls Shelby Cobra Fifty Years "thought provoking, definitive, technical, personal, and stylish." Read More.