Book It: Shelby American – 60 Years of High Performance


If you’re seeking a gift for a person who resides in the overlapping part of a Venn Diagram which includes gearheads and voracious readers, this book about the history of Shelby American might be a good selection. And, hey – if that person is yourself, there ain’t nothing wrong with buying it for your own bookshelf.

Set for publishing early next year, the officially-licensed 224-page hardcover book will include about 250 photos of the man himself and his cars. Authors Colin Comer and Rick Kopec bill themselves as “leading Shelby historians”, which gives the tome a bit of credence compared to the myriad of extremely unofficial books floating around about Shelby – some of which seem to have simply hit ‘right-click, save-as’ for much of their imagery. 

Not this one. The book kicks off by chronicling some of the brand’s early triumphs, then follows Shelby history from a small shop in Venice, California, to its eventual sprawling digs at LAX. In the mix are newly developed road cars, a race team, and turning wrenches on winning machines campaigned by privateer racers. Characters like Peter Brock and engineer Phil Remington are all part of the story, as are a roster of top drivers that included Ken Miles, Bob Bondurant, Dan Gurney, Mario Andretti, and a passel more.

Carroll Shelby also lent his speed freak talents to Dodge, of course, a part of his career that is not often covered in these types of coffee table books. After all, hairy-chested Mustangs make for better eye candy to the casual observer than a bunch of boxy hatchbacks with Simca roots. Fortunately, this title follows the Shelby story through Carroll’s post-Ford relationship with Dodge, including his roles in the giant-killing Shelby Charger and Omni GLH (“Goes Like Hell”). They also touch on the GLH-S and a slew of other Shelby-ized machines including his role in the birth and development of the menacing Dodge Viper. 

As an aside, alert readers will recall the upcoming Dodge Hornet crossover is likely to offer a GLH performance package through its Direct Connection go-fast parts arm. While it’s technically a concept at the moment, you can bet that Dodge didn’t go through all the trouble of showcasing the car and trademarking the trim for nothing.

Six decades of anything successful is worth celebrating – especially when that something involves fast race cars and gearhead speed. Doing so with the publication of rare period imagery and modern color photography is a dandy way to mark 60 years. 


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