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Peter Brock's review of Shelby American by author Preston Lerner.
I have been an admirer of Preston Lerner's writing for years. When he contacted me for information on my time at Shelby's, telling me he was writing a book on the topic, I was thrilled. This description of the book written by Preston will give you a flavor of his writing skills:
By incorporating the recollections of dozens of lesser-known crewmen, Shelby American goes behind the scenes to tell long untold and misunderstood stories―the cheat embedded in the turbine Indy car, the oiling woes that sunk the tunnel-port Trans-Am Mustang, even details about the build of the first Cobra in Dean Moon's cramped garage in Santa Fe Springs.
The book also delves into the personalities and hijinks that made Shelby American such a vibrant place to work, whether they were transforming humdrum Mustangs into race-ready GT350s or fighting shop wars with cherry bombs and M-80s.
Always standing above it all was Shelby himself. Dynamic, charismatic, mercurial, mercenary, and a little bit dangerous, he had to fight Ford bean counters as fiercely as he dueled with Enzo Ferrari. But for a few magical years, Shelby managed to beat both of them at their own games.
As one of the team who lived the Shelby era it’s always great to read an account by an outsider who made a serious effort to contact as many members of the team as possible and record their impressions of what was really going on. Shelby was famous for having a number of secret internal projects which weren’t always shared with all who worked there. Some were outrageous attempts to beat the system or rules of motorsport with characters who were as devious as the Texan himself. Preston Lerner’s new book on the Shelby era focuses most on the post ’64 era but it makes fascinating reading, even for someone who was there, as it connects the dots on some long-held secrets. I especially enjoyed his clear coverage of what really happened at Le Mans in 1966.