Inside Shelby American Reviews

“It’s almost as if you’re sitting down with Morton over a beer as he tells his tales without getting bogged down in detail or nostalgia. Funny, exciting and very entertaining. This book is a great gift for any Shelby or racing fan.” The Virginian Pilot

 
“All of us know the name Carroll Shelby. Some of us have even met him. But few can claim the bragging rights to having worked with him, especially in the glory days of the early Sixties when Shelby’s Cobras came to dominate sports car racing. John Morton’s book is more than just the story of the author’s time at Shelby, though; it’s the memoir of the making of a championship- winning race car driver worthy of his own due.

Certainly, Morton keeps the promise of the book’s title, and through the eyes of the closest thing to a “regular guy” there, readers get a real view of what it was like working in Shelby’s shop. Beginning as an eager young man hired to sweep up, Morton had the benefit of remaining clear of the politics of the place, but was talented enough—Pete Brock was known to forewarn other racers of his skill—to eventually ascend to driving for the team.

As an historical observer, Morton’s position was ideal, which, along with his unaffected and humble voice as a storyteller, really makes him a dreamer’s dream. Throughout the 256 pages of this book, we can almost envision ourselves in his position—which is to say, as a talented but nevertheless typical young man coming of age in the Sixties and working long hours for little money so he could keep racing at the center of his universe, while luminaries like Shelby, comet- like, sometimes momentously passed through.” — J. Daniel Beaudry, Hemmings

 
“We may best know Morton from when he raced the BRE Datsun 240Z and 510 in the early 1970s. His victories in white and red livery were instrumental in establishing Datsun’s giant-killing reputation early on when the marque needed to make a name for itself in the US market.

Before that, however, Morton worked for Shelby, the legendary designer, racer and builder known for such American icons as the Cobra, Ford GT40 and performance-tuned Mustangs.

The book is just as much a story about Morton as it is about Shelby. The autobiography begins with a young racing fanatic in 1950s Waukegan, Illinois. Origin stories are always the best part about superhero narratives, and one can read first-hand about how this boy, whose father would take him to races and on harrowing road trips and whose neighbor’s MG sparked the future legend.

The wonderful thing about having Morton author the book, other than hearing his own words, is that the book is chock-full of photos from his own collection. Everything from his “100 mph” tricycle that he received as a Christmas present in 1946 to a Porsche-powered Lotus he helped build during his stint at Shelby is pictured.

Morton’s fateful meeting with Shelby began in 1962 when he attended Shelby’s racing school. Morton was so inspired that he asked Shelby for a job after class. “Here’s a broom,” he replied, and and thus began the career of one of the most influential racing careers in US history — as a janitor.

Also of note is the fact that Morton’s instructor at Shelby’s academy was none other than Pete Brock, a legend in his own right who would later establish a rival race team sponsored by Nissan. Thanks to Morton’s wonderful writing and first-hand accounts, readers get a peek behind the curtain of the epic histories normally only viewed from afar.

The book ends just around the time when Shelby inked a deal with Toyota to race the 2000GT. Though Morton’s career with BRE and Datsun are touched upon, it’s not the core of this book. It’s about Morton’s formative years and how he became the racer that put BRE’s Datsuns in the history books. It’s an absolute must-read for any fan of Morton, BRE, or Shelby. Like we said, superhero origin story.” — Ben Hsu, Japanese Nostalgic Car