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Shelby Cobra Fifty Years Hardcover – October 22, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Motorbooks; First edition (October 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0760340293
  • ISBN-13: 978-0760340295
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 1.1 x 12.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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



"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." - Autos.msn.com
 
"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


“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 

From the Inside Flap

There are some things in life that are beyond the abilities of a single person, such as starting a successful automobile manufacturing company and producing world-championship automobiles. Right. Try telling that to Carroll Shelby. When health issues cut his promising racing career short, he set out to do the impossible—start his own car company and build a sports car capable of beating the very best the world had to offer, including Ferrari. Especially Ferrari, in fact. Not only did Shelby and his modest Cobra succeed, but he and his supposedly antiquated little roadster absolutely rubbed Enzo Ferrari’s face in the asphalt, humiliating the mighty Italian so thoroughly that his eponymous company abandoned sports car racing altogether.
 
Shelby Cobra: Fifty Years tells the story of Carroll Shelby’s American-British hybrid sports car, celebrating its exploits on the track, on the street, and more recently, on the auction block. In so doing, it chronicles Shelby’s amazing accomplishments, as well as the invaluable contributions of Shelby’s brilliant team consisting of Phil Remington, Ken Miles, Peter Brock, and many more of the greatest automotive geniuses of all time. This book is an essential addition to the library of any Cobra fan, Shelby fan, racing fan, or anyone who just enjoys a great story.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 55 customer reviews
Very good reading and plenty of pics.
Michael W. Rhanor
This has to be one of the best books ever written about the Shelby AC Cobra.
Norman F. Newcity
All I can say is I was shocked at how good this book is.
sixtiesmuscle

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Cobraman on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've read every Cobra book ever printed, since Carroll Shelby's first book, "The Cobra Story," in 1965. I own an original Cobra, so I'm not some young buck, full of testosterone, who has stars in his eyes and just arrived at the party. I have to say that this book is one of the very best--if not the best--book about the history of Cobras ever written. High praise, but everything about this book is spot-on. The photo quality is top shelf, and even though it is impossible to put a book on Cobras together without using some photos taken in the 1960s which have not already been used somewhere else, author Comer has chosen wisely and has provided intelligent and purposeful captions for them. The color shots which are much more current--most showing cars which have been restored--are nothing short of heart-stopping. The colors virtually drip off the page.

The Cobra story has been told and retold ad infinitum, to the point where there are very few surprises left when it is told one more time. But Comer mixes original history with current details and tidbits that makes reading about this subject both entertaining and interesting. And most importantly, he has his facts right.

The only criticism I have is that he did not include a picture of my Cobra in his book. But if he had, this review wouldn't have much validity.

If you want to buy the best book yet on Cobras, this is the one. And no--I am not related to Colin Comer. I am just telling it like it is.

Cobraman.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By TEG on October 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read Colin Comer's other books (Million Dollar Muscle Cars and The Complete Book of Shelby Automobiles) and now his newest book. These books are unlike anything else being published in the field of automotive writing/journalism. The Shelby books contain outstanding historical information combined with original photographs that I have never seen anywhere else. The amount of research that went into making these publications is extraordinary. The quality of the writing is superb as is the quality of the book itself. To say that these books, especially the Shelby books, are of the "coffee table" type is completely inaccurate. They are so much more meaningful than just a thick book with great photos. I would highly recommend the book(s) for racing enthusiasts, car collectors (and those of us that want to be!), Shelby and Ford fans, or just people that enjoy good writing and have an appreciation for something uniquely American.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Greg Kolasa, SAAC Shelby Registrar on December 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When I first picked up Colin Comer's new book, I admit I must have been half (more?) asleep because the title didn't make sense. 50 years? What was 50 years? Then I did the math (DUH!) and lo and behold, Shelby's Cobra truly is a half century old. It sure doesn't seem that long, but then again, it doesn't seem that long since I was a skinny kid...but it was. So now that the title made sense, I flipped thru the book and to say that it also makes sense is a huge understatement. Simply put, this is a great book! Now, I admit that as a SAAC Registrar, I'm a hard-core junkie for the original photos, and here, Colin doesn't disappoint. In fact, that's another understatement...there are a ton of those neat, black-and-white factory photos to keep even me from grumbling. Sure, there are a couple of the "obligatory" shots that we've all seen a hundred times before, but by and large, Colin has really pulled the stops out and produced a ton of unique, unpublished photos. I'm not sure who captions his images but whoever they are, they should keep at it: the captions are informative, factual and largely correct but on top of that (an added bonus), they are just enough "tongue-in-cheek" to keep them from being too boring.

What is refreshingly unusual about Comer's book is that it is technically correct; this seems to be a rarity nowadays. I believe I spotted only one small error and this may well be MY misunderstanding of the historical events, not his: the book claims that when Shelby American began putting the lower-cost 428 engines in Cobras as a cost-saving measure, it was the owners who complained. I had always thought it was actually Ford upper management who nixed the idea and demanded the 427 powerplants go back in, but I could be wrong.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kati B on October 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have only thumbed through the photo filled pages, and read a few bits and bobs, but so far this book is blowing my mind! I love the bright shining photos, the most excellent stories told, and the smell of the pages filled with history of an era gone by. I strongly suggest you buy this wonderful book about a most amazing car, the people who designed it, built it, drove it and fixed it. You will get your money's worth, I promise you!
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not much of a book reader, and have seen all the other great Shelby books out there which seem more like different versions of the same thing... after all, there is just so much you can write about regarding the same limited topic. This book is NOT about specifications, nuts, bolts and which control knobs came on what car. This is about the *real* story behind the legendary men, and this legendary machine!

HOWEVER, this latest book, SHELBY COBRA: 50 YEARS, is really a fresh new look at a 50 year old subject. Colin has somehow managed to pull all the great stories out of the past, and propell them into the future with a modern twist. The more 'humanistic' side of the legend and the people that made it happen is really interesting, and great to see it captured before all those stories were either lost, or reinvented into something else.

In addition to that, the last chapter covering the transistion into the next generation of this story, the replicas, also seems to have maybe set the stage for perhaps Colin's next book... and perhaps titled, "SHELBY COBRA: THE NEXT 50 YEARS" ????? hmmmm. Can't wait!

But back to this book... all I know is for any book, with a hard cover, and 256 pages with outstanding photography reproductions, is that I am simply amazed to see it for only $26 at Amazon. I was expecting a 50 or 60 page paperback book with some rehashed trivia. This price just can't last for long, not in this economy.

I also can't beleive Colin's going to make me read my first book in many years, cover to cover. And, like I always do, I started at the back of this one first... and low and behold, I see my own Cobra as the last closing page and a half.

Very nicely done, Colin.
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More About the Author

Born along with the advent of low-lead fuel and low compression engines from Detroit in 1971, Colin Comer readily admits his love of cars began well before he could walk, let alone drive. While many are content to simply read about or admire the machines they are passionate about from afar, Colin is not one to be satisfied unless he is up to his elbows in grease or finding the limits of an old car's performance capabilities. This unique blend of firsthand experience and incredible knowledge literally jumps off of the written page with such ferocity that you can almost smell the tire smoke and straight-weight motor oil. Colin's writing and thoughts on the collector car world are regularly featured in publications such as the New York Times, Business Week, USA Today, and others along with frequent television appearances and seminars. Colin is a Contributing Editor to Road & Track Magazine, as well as Sports Car Market Magazine, and is also Editor-at-Large for American Car Collector Magazine. Colin's tastes in vintage cars are quite eclectic, but his true passion are the cars of Shelby American, as evidenced by his own collection that is knee-deep in original Cobras and Shelby Mustangs. When not maintaining or writing about cars, Colin enjoys racing a wide variety of cars and flying airplanes. Colin, his wife Cana and daughter Remington reside in River Hills, Wisconsin along with a two boxers that they swear would be able to drive away like Far Side cartoon dogs if they could just figure out how to work the pedals...
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