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Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography (Paperback)

Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography Cover Image
By Rinsey Mills, Edsel B. Ford (Foreword by)
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Written with Carroll Shelby's full collaboration and with a foreword by Edsel B. Ford II, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, this is the definitive record of America's preeminent twentieth century sports car builder and racer—now in paperback.

It was motoring author Rinsey Mills' passion for AC cars and motorsports history that led to his first meeting with Carroll Shelby. His suggestion that they should collaborate in order to create an accurate record of Shelby's life and achievements at first was rebuffed but later taken up with enthusiasm. This authorized biography is the result.

Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography was a long time in the making, as Mills left no stone unturned in his quest to produce the complete study of Shelby's remarkable life. He carried out extensive research and conducted numerous interviews, fully capturing the narrative of Carroll Shelby within and outside of the automotive racing world, including his:

  • Childhood in Texas
  • Wartime service with the Army Air Force
  • Postwar entrepreneurship
  • Earliest race wins in 1952
  • Legendary 1959 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • Monumental release of the first Cobra and the formation of Shelby American in 1962
  • Historical partnership with Ford that would last for decades
  • Personal interests and travels
  • Present-day legacy

Fascinating photographs from Shelby's personal collection complete a book whose original hardcover edition was published mere weeks before his passing, making Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biographya magnificent and lasting tribute to one of the greatest automotive figures of the twentieth century.

About the Author

Rinsey Mills has owned AC sports cars, both pre-war and post-war, for forty years. He has restored some and raced others. His books include Original AC Ace and Cobra and Essential AC Cobra.

Praise For…

"...the book is worth adding to a personal automotive library" - The New York Times

“This biography is not the usual fluff. Here at last is the real, raw, high octane truth, right from Shelby’s first memory as a child through to the present day. Mills has it all in fascinating detail that can be as outrageous as it is funny. It’s all there including the whole deeply researched early automotive history in Texas with Jim Hall, Shelby’s racing days in Europe and, of course, the legendary Cobra and Ford eras, as well as the years with Toyota and Chrysler and including Carroll’s “lost” years in Africa. It’s all etched deeply in the pages of this fantastic 400+ page volume that took Mills several years to research and write. In his almost nine decades Shelby managed to surround himself with incredible talent and wily scoundrels who created as many byzantine problems as stellar triumphs that made Shelby one of the most colorful and controversial characters of our time. I personally recommend this fine book as one of the most interesting and intriguing biographies you’ll ever have a chance to read. Having spent several years of my life with Shelby I thought I knew more than most…I wasn’t even close. Rinsey has it all.”  - Peter Brock

Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography by Rinsey Mills has set a tough standard for any future books on Shelby the man because he covers so many areas so thoroughly there’s almost nothing else anyone could add – no new area to shine light on. We’re glad to see that Mills’ biography got published while Shelby was still there to add to it and to steer the author to sources who could come up with a lot of information that’s new. The best part is the price. With a suggested retail price of $35.00 (and lower online), the price represents a real bargain for a book that will take you a whole weekend to read.” –

“Anyone who reads the book will come away with a far larger appreciation for just how good he was. This was not a guy who dipped his toe into the whole racing thing and built some cars, Carroll Shelby was a world class driver on the level of Moss and Fangio in his era. He was a factory driver for Aston Martin and drove nearly every exotic high end piece of iron made in the 1950s and early 1960s. From Maserati’s to Allard’s he was there and winning in them. If you want the most academic account of Shelby’s racing life that has ever been written and realistically will ever be written, this is the book for you.” –

For Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography, author Rinsey Mills received full cooperation from Shelby, who sat down with Mills on numerous occasions for interviews. Mills also interviewed family members, friends, and former Shelby American employees/drivers like Chuck Cantwell, Allen Grant, Pete Brock, and Bob Bondurant. Many of the photos are from Carroll Shelby’s personal collection and have never been published before. Cobra and Shelby Mustang enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the majority of the 464-page book covers the 1962-1967 time period, from the building of the first Cobra and the formation of Shelby American to the company’s third and final win at LeMans. But the book starts with Shelby’s birth and childhood in Texas and follows his early success as a race car driver before heart problems forced him to hang up his helmet in 1960. We can’t wait to read it.” –

"The result is the best, most complete and most reliable of version of the Shelby story, and as someone who has personally written his own error-riddled stories about Shelby (and corrected the error-riddled stories of others), it’s a relief to read something about Shelby that isn’t overcome with hype. This is a unique and invaluable piece of Carroll Shelby lore." - InsideLine 

"This is the book that everyone in the Shelby world has been waiting for. Despite the flow of publicity, what was lacking - and has been lacking for 50 years - is the story behind the story. That narrative has been ably provided by Rinsey Mills. He comes to the fore with no shortage of Cobra experience. Other books about Carroll Shelby will certainly be written, but none as thoroughly researched or with so much attention to detail as this one. It is a comprehensive and sometimes confusing story; Mills perseveres and gets it right." - Shelby American Automobile Club

"Shelby's life and achievements are succinctly summarized in Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography. Rinsey Mills, who has written several auto-related books including three about Cobras, the authorized biography leaves no stone unturned. Mills has shone a set of high-intensity driving lights on Shelby's life, and he spent years interviewing not only the man himself, but also his family (including ex-wives), and those most closely connected to his various ventures." - 

"Carroll Shelby: That Authorized Biography is a nice way to remember the man and the legend. With lots of images from Shelby's own collection, this is a book that any enthusiast would enjoy." - AutoWeek

"Biography goes full throttle to keep pace with Cobra founder." - Denver Post

Product Details
ISBN: 9780760346464
ISBN-10: 0760346461
Publisher: Motorbooks
Publication Date: March 15th, 2014
Pages: 552
Language: English