"As research progressed, I realized
that the best stories involved not only the cars but
also the people who designed, built, and drove them.
So, knowing that other books had covered the "nuts-and-bolts"
and race records, I decided to focus on those people,
and not all of them were well known. For example, Tommy
Hitchcock III bought a race 289 Cobra days before the
1964 Sebring race and became one of the first to race
a Cobra in Europe, in the Targa Florio and at the Nürburgring.
After he sold the car, it was left out in the snow until
two car buddies from New England bought, drove, and
preserved it until the late 1990s. Meanwhile, Hitchcock
had gotten involved with Timothy Leary and become a
recluse. Today the car is stripped to bare aluminum,
awaiting restoration, yet its colorful history earns
it 'feature' status in my book.
Meanwhile, David Bull signed up a first-rate
automotive photographer. Boyd Jaynes and an assistant
drove from their Los Angeles base to Boulder, built
a temporary studio inside the museum and spent six 12-hour
days shooting 30 cars. So that they shot the right details,
I had listed the unusual features of each car. Shortly
afterward, the bookseller Tom Warth and I drove his
289 Cobra from Minneapolis to Austin, Texas and on the
Texas 1000 tour. To me it was an experience in what
it's like to live with a Cobra!
Working alone in my home office, I completed the text
in early 2008, and after design and production, the
book was printed in time for launch in August at the
Monterey Historics. Reading the reviews was extremely
rewarding, and the book was a finalist for the 2008
Dean Bachelor Award.
For me it's important to leave something behind
a trail for future enthusiasts and historians to follow.
The Mercedes-Benz magazine was one way to accomplish
that, and this Shelby book is another."
The 10-year old Collection's 30 cars range from an A.C.
Ace-Bristol, through about 20 historic 289 and 427 Cobras,
four GT40s, and two prototype GT350s, forming a fine
cross-section of pre-1968 Shelby history. Besides several
street Cobras, it houses significant racers: the first
Cobra race car (which was also the third one built);
the first race-winning Cobra; the original Dragon Snake
drag-racer; Ken Miles' personal race Cobra; one of the
six Daytona Coupes, the oldest surviving GT40, and a
Mk. IV driven at Le Mans by Mario Andretti. Two other
unusual exhibits are the Ferrari 410 Sport that Carroll
Shelby drove to a 1956 SCCA national championship and
the 1963 Ford Falcon Sedan Delivery bought by designer
Peter Brock and used by Shelby American as a "go-fer"