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Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography

Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography


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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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780760346464
Publisher: Motorbooks
Publication date: 03/15/2014
Pages: 552
Sales rank: 214,546
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

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.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Edsel B. Ford II
1 The Boy from East Texas
2 The Army Air Force
3 Children, Trucks, and Chicken
4 Racing for Real
5 Foreign Representative
6 Record-Breaking and the Mexican Road Race
7 Guiberson’s Ferraris
8 Italian Summer
9 Moving On
10 Unrestricted National Champion
11 In Hemingway’s Footsteps
12 Carroll Shelby Sport Cars
13 Mainly Maseratis
14 Looking to the Future
15 Back to The Bahamas and a Kidnapping in Cuba
16 A Season in Europe
17 The Writing on the Wall
18 Works Driver
19 Victory at Le Mans
20 Aston Takes the Championship
21 El Paso by Sundown, Nassau by Night
22 “Lucky” Experiences
23 The Last Laps
24 Starting Afresh
25 Out into the Sunshine
26 The Cobra is Born
27 Let the Racing Begin
28 The Watershed Year
29 Further Ambitions
30 World Championship Bid
31 Over to Europe
32 A New Era
33 Upping the Ante
34 Getting the Job Done
35 Trials and Tribulations
36 The Price of Success
37 One More Time
38 Fresh Horizons
39 Off to Africa
40 Dodging Around
41 Rejuvenation
42 The First One
43 Millennium Man
Author’s Acknowledgements

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"...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.” – SportsCarMarket.com “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.” – Bangshift.com
“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.” – MustangMonthly.com
 "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." - Edmunds.com 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." - Canada.com 
"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

"Mills has written a comprehensive account of Shelby's amazing life that at times reads more like  novel than nonfiction. It is highly detailed... a fascinating read." - Muscle Car Review

"... this is the most complete story we've read chronicling Shelby, truly a legend in his own time. In it we learn much about Shelby's personal and racing life, the ups and downs, and what made this man who he was. Although there are 70 photos, this book is far more about the story than the imagery, a superb effort that no Shelby enthusiast should miss." - Vintage Motorsport


"Plenty of books detail the life and times of Carroll Shelby, but none has ever been endorsed by the man. Until now, because Motorbooks has just released Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography by Rinsey Mills. The 464-page hardbound book includes 25 color and 40 black-and white photographs, many of which come from Shelby’s own archives and have never been seen by outside eyes. The book should be considered an integral part of any Shelby aficionado’s library". - Hagerty’s Classic Cars

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