Did the literary world really need another book on Shelby American and its cars, a topic that’s been dealt with endlessly in the past? The short answer is that when it comes to telling a compelling story in the process, the answer is “yes.” One of the more respected automotive authors out there, Preston Lerner, has taken on the subject in fine fashion with a highly literate and compelling take on the iconoclasts who collectively made up Shelby American, starting with its founder. Shelby American makes it clear that a lot of people in the Shelby orbit with freethinkers who didn’t exactly fit with the prototypes for auto executives at the time.
At 326 pages, there’s more than enough heft to the highly personal narrative to keep even knowledgeable Shelby enthusiasts engaged in the story. One element that sets this story considerably apart from the shelves full of Cobra books out there is that Lerner directly engaged the help of our friend Dave Friedman, the original Shelby American company photographer and one of the last of the firm’s surviving employees, whose irreplaceable photos dot the text throughout. For a Shelby fan, or someone just learning about the firm’s glorious history, this is a more-than-worthwhile read.