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Misha

Shelby Mustang: Total Perfomance Pony Car

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Shelby Mustang: The Total Performance Pony Car

Just finished a very informative and enjoyable read of Colin Comer's Shelby Mustang: The Total Performance Pony Car. He provides a very complete history from the beginning of the 1965 GT 350 to the upcoming 2020 Shelby GT500 with plentiful photos of most of Carroll Shelby's creations.  A good part of the discussion focuses on the various changes from year to year during the first period, '65 to the final '69 (unsold units at the end received new VINs for 1970 models) and the current run that began in 2006 with the Hertz Shelby 350-H rentals, commemorating the original 1966 model from fifty years ago! While concentrating on the street versions Comer does offer coverage of the track models especially the first generation GT 350R and later race efforts with SCCA, TransAm, and on the dragstrip. I would have liked more details and photos of the competition vehicles, yet that might easily be another volume of just over 200 pages. Comer also offers a glimpse of the difficulties Carroll Shelby faced with his dealings with Ford. His desire for producing Mustangs that would perform on the track and street became frustrated as Ford gradually took control by October 1966. "Very few buyers existed for street cars thinly disguised for street use, but plenty of buyers existed for street cars heavily disguised as race cars." (p. 124)

Sprinkled throughout the book are side bars with reprints of ads and magazine articles, testimonials from owners, and a description of Shelby memorabilia. The forward is by Lee Iacocca who developed a close friendship with Carroll when he came over to Ford from GM to shepherd the development of the original Mustang from a secretary's car into the GT 350. It was as a result of their friendship that Shelby developed special models for Chrysler during the intervening years between the original Shelbys and the current run.

I found this book to be well written and very informative, especially for model builders that will enable scale versions with greater detail and authenticity.  A very helpful detail Comer provides is to include the serial numbers of special models and one offs. Another fascinating detail is the story of the Shelby de Mexico developed by Eduardo Velazquez at the end of the 60s. He first bought a GT 350 to race in Mexico and progressed to manufacture Mexican Shelbys using the Ford plants there. "Since the only body style produced in Mexico was the notchback coupe, all Shelby de Mexico would use this body style... the biggest visual difference was the addition of fibreglass sail panels that extended back from the rear window area and into the rear quarter panels, giving a unique fastback look to the cars." (pp 196-7) Overall a great addition to any Shelby library!

The book is published by Motorbooks, retailing for 38.99 Cdn or 29.99 US, A wonderful bargain and an entertaining read that kept me turning pages for two days.
Cheers Misha

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Edited by Misha
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Great review, thanks for sharing! I have several books from Motorbooks and they're all very good, well worth the money if you're seriously interested in the subject matter. 

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Thanks Richard, another publisher of great auto books is Car Tech Inc. Have a few of them including Larry Davis's Gasser Wars: Drag Racing's Street Classes 1955-1968 and good bios of Don Nicholson, Tommy Ivo, amongst others.

Cheers Misha

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Maybe someone with a bigger library than I can answer a question.  I have Comer's "Shelby Mustang: Fifty Years" already.  Is there enough/new info to justify buying this one in addition to what I already have?  I already have 4 books fully dedicated to the Shelby Mustang and sections in another 5-6 books.  Can you have too much?

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