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Auto Blog Book Garage: Fifty Years of Shelby Cobra

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ZTSG 21/02/2022 Truck 137
Now it looks like many years ago, I know a beautiful girl who likes Ford Mustang, especially Shelby. We often walk back and forth, thinking about our favorite Mustang models. Sometimes we would send t...

Now it looks like many years ago, I know a beautiful girl who likes Ford Mustang, especially Shelby. We often walk back and forth, thinking about our favorite Mustang models. Sometimes we would send text messages back and forth during the day, trying to stop each other with Mustang trivia.

She always got the best of me, although I will never admit it.

Fond Memories & Big Dreams


Shelby Cobra Fifty Years Gallery

Fond Memories & Big Dreams

When we launched Book Garage last year with Motorbooks, I wanted the books we feature to bring back fond memories for those who flipped through the pages. Cars are like that, you know. They have an ability to bring our most cherished times to the forefront, and certinately, a Shelby Mustang is no exception.

In the early 1960s, Carroll Shelby was a Texas chicken farmer attending to his daily chores. At first glance, it may not seem like automobiles of any kind were in his future, yet Shelby had a vision; a vision for building cars befitting of only the highest performance crowns. Impossible as it seemed, the landmark Cobra arrived in 1962, establishing a benchmark that holds to this day.

Shelby Cobra Fifty Years is the story of how grand dreams become grand realities, from the prologue about the events that led up to Shelby’s decision to build high performance cars, to the history of the Cobra street and race cars, to the epilogue about the continuation of the Shelby namesake.

If only I had this book during those texting trivia wars with her so long ago. I might have actually won.


Colin Comer, respected authority on collector cars, is Editor-at-Large for Sports Car Market and American Car Collector. He is a Contributing Editor for Road & Track and regularly appears in the New York Times, Business Week, USA Today, and many other respected publications. Comer is also the author of Shelby Mustang Fifty Years. When not writing about cars, he is an avid vintage racer and pilot.

Shelby Cobra Fifty Years is available through Amazon and Motorbooks.

Shelby Cobra Fifty Years Gallery

Brent Mills is the driving force behind ClubCobra.com, thepreeminent web forum for Cobra guys, and this is his Kirkham 427 Cobra. Am I the only guy (author Colin Comer) who hears Thoroughgood singing“Bad to the Bone” when I look at this picture? Photo: Brent Mills.

Colonel Gene Fisher isshown here at full chat in CSX2009 at Marlboro Speedway in 1967. Fisher won the NE Region SCCA B/Production Championship titlein both 1967 and 1968 in this car, even beating a lap record previously set by Mark Donohue at Marlboro. Photo: Peter Luongo.

A Shelby PR shot showing a Street 289 Cobra next to a Comp289 Cobra, likely to illustrate the differences in the two models.

This is my (author Colin Comer) old Cobra, CSX2327, pictured hiding out under a freeway overpass when I took it to Milwaukee’s lakefront to do a little fishing. Actually, going fishing was just an excuse to take an early morning drive. CSX2327 is now owned by Jeff and Anne Boston, who I doubt have ever needed an excuse to drive it.

Preservation rather than restoration is a big movement thesedays. Unrestored cars like CSX2289 are sought after by people who would prefer to drive, rather than wax, their cars. It isn’t for everybody, but sometimes restorative efforts do more harm than good. Photo: Pawel Litwinski, courtesy of Gooding and Company.

The wild purple paint pales in comparison to its quarter-mile abilities but still makes a statement. Ed Hedrick, who purchased CSX2093 in 1966, continued to drag race it successfully. Hedrick won the NHRA World Championship in this car. Maybe it is so fast because it is trying to get out from under that paint? Photo: Sam Murtaugh.

Yours truly (author Colin Comer), with trusty co-pilot Cana and the ever-faithfulCSX2230, at the start of the 2010 Copperstate 1,000-mile rally inArizona. Small-block Cobras make nearly ideal rally cars. They are tough as nails, fast, comfortable, and a roll of duct tape, a rock, and a pair of pliers can fix almost anything that goes wrong. Photo: Will Brewster.

You say you like your rallies to be Cobra-only? Well, then you’d have loved the 2009 Cobra Battleground 1,000-mile event. Fifteen originalCobras joined in, quite a sight considering one rarely sees even one onthe road. On the left, from front to back: CSX3288, CSX2306, CSX2497, CSX3232, CSX2316, COX6111, and CSX2060. Front to back on the right side are CSX2401, CSX2321, CSX2571, CSX3102, CSX2490, CSX2419, andCSX2095. Centered in the rear is CSX2310.

The visual effect of the graffiti wall is almost equivalent to the image that flashes in your mind when you step on the accelerator in Cobra. This is Bill Cook's Central State Cobra, finished in a very traditional guard blue and Wimbledon white Le Mans stripes. Photo: Bill Cook.