|Shelby's History of the
Peter V. Mills
As Shelby tells it: "I went to AC and told them I had Ford interested in supplying motors for their chassis, then I went to Ford and told them that I had a chassis lined up for their engine and transmission if they'd provide them [to me] on credit."
The final decision on whether or not to go with the brash Texan went to an executive in Ford's marketing and sales department - Lee Iacocca. Shelby continues, "Lee told [his associates] to pay [me] and get [me] out [of there] before I bit somebody."
"I only hit Ford [up] for $25,000 in cash to finish the project. I knew they'd come up with the money later. Just like a poker game, they'd want to be sure to cover their bets," Shelby says with a grin.
An English chassis builder faced with going out of business or shipping cars on credit to a small garage in Santa Fe Springs, California, sent an AC roadster to Shelby. Ford supplied its V8 and a four-speed transmission, and famed hot rodder Dean Moon helped Carroll put the pieces together.
Some have said that Shelby isn't a car designer. Whether or not that contention is true, he certainly is a "car conceiver," one who envisions what he wants and brings that conception to market.
He proved that with the Cobra. He followed his dream, and when the opportunities to exploit his idea arose, he jumped on them. And no one who knows Carroll will ever say he doesn't know how to promote a vehicle, starting with the original Cobra.
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