All About the Shelby

Title: The Definitive Shelby Mustang Guide: 1965-1970
Author: Greg Kolasa
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Fun Fact: The earliest Shelby GT350’s had the engine moved into the trunk, a practice discontinued because the trunk often filled with acid fumes
Review Summary: A great book with enough detail to satisfy a Shelby enthusiast and enough engaging stories to make an interesting micro-history for the rest of us.

As you might guess, this book covers in great detail all aspects of Shelby mustangs with a particular focus on the story of their production. Although I’m not a huge car buff myself, I picked this to review because I love a good micro-history and I enjoy learning about new things. I was also impressed that the author based his book entirely on primary sources, from factory documentation to interviews with the people who were involved in the process. As soon as I got the book, I was struck by the quality photography as well. As a photography enthusiast, I appreciated how well done it was, but recognize that a Shelby enthusiast would probably be most impressed by the variety of Shelby’s the author managed to track down.

The first three chapters gave a broad overview of Shelby history. Once I finished those, I was worried that the following chapters focusing on each year’s Shelby would be too dry. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. In the entire ~200 page book, there were maybe a dozen pages covering the nitty-gritty details of the Shelby’s engine in too much detail for me to understand. These were a little dry. But nearly every page had great pictures and fascinating stories about the people and the politics behind the Shelby, in addition to the technical details. For serious Shelby enthusiasts, fear not – there were nitty-gritty details on nearly every page as well. Just not enough to impact the enjoyment of this non-specialist.

There a few small typos, but also not enough to impact my enjoyment and over all this was a very high quality book. From the pictures to the impressive research, this is a great example of what a micro-history should be.  I would most strongly recommend this to someone with some understanding of how cars typically work, since the details about the mechanics of the Shelby definitely assume you have some prior knowledge. Other than that, this is a book with something to teach the even a Shelby enthusiast while still remaining accessible. Finally, one of the aspects I think will most thrill enthusiasts are the incredible wealth of details about different Shelby’s made at different times even during the same production year. If you own or are thinking of buying a Shelby, it could be a lot of fun to find out where your specific car fits in Shelby history.



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2 responses to “All About the Shelby

  1. Great review! I had never heard of a Shelby before reading, so about as far from an enthusiast as you can get, but your review actually had me wondering whether I might want to read the book myself!

    • I’d heard of them, but mostly because my boyfriend of five years has some interest in cars, not because I personally know a lot about them. There were a few pages that were hard to get through as a result of my complete lack of knowledge about the inside of a car, but other than that, I really enjoyed hearing about the story of how they were made 🙂

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