As successful as the Shelby American operation was, Carroll didn’t really understand the potential of a viable brand using his name with his attendant racing success. Any attempt on my part to upgrade our initial “Shelby” or “Goodyear” merchandise was met with resistance because of cost. Shelby saw the advantage of promoting his name with “T” shirts but would only allow the cheapest materials to minimize cost. He didn’t understand that superior materials would last indefinitely as “collector items” and continue to promote visibility. Shelby simply didn’t have the facilities or people to promote and market any internally created products. Shelby’s rather small team of mechanics and fabricators were “racers”, without question the BEST in the racing game, with only one goal…WIN! But there wasn’t anyone internally who understood the potential of the Shelby brand. Later this became obvious and was one reason that Shelby allowed himself to be taken over by Ford when the opportunity came up to develop the GT40s. Ford had the expertise, money and a vast organization to promote and merchandise the Ford brand using Shelby’s name a team.
7 thoughts on “Why did you feel it was valuable, and take it upon yourself, to develop a brand for Shelby like the creation of the Shelby logo, letterhead, business cards, apparel, etc?”
Pete, You gave Shelby American a brand image in spite of the lack of a marketing budget. Enthusiasts searched through publications for your merchandise ads and although we could not afford a Cobra, we could buy a t-shirt and proudly wear it until it fell off
our backs. Then we would buy a new one!
Your Cobra and GT350 logo design set a standard for the brand that stands for performance world wide today. When in 1967 they changed the Cobra logo we were upset as it cannot in any way match your design! Thank you for everything you did for Shelby American! We are indebted to you!
Always enjoy your insights and backstories. Please keep them coming!
Hi Pete, More interesting insight into how it all came about. Info Re: Open House ???
The Open House is scheduled for October 12-13, 2019. We have a few new things planned that we’ve never done before, so we’re finalizing them now before we post the schedule on the website. Stay tuned!
Always interesting to hear the back-story from the folks who were there. At the time, Shelby’s view was only focused on winning, luckily other team members saw the bigger picture and worked hard to bring their ideas to life.
Unfortunately, penny wise, dollar foolish
Carroll Hall Shelby was undoubtedly one of the luckiest men to have lived. I could be referring to the ideal timing of the Bristol engine ceasing production, Lance Reventlow closing down the Scarab program when he easily had the resources not to and the introduction of the lightweight Windsor V-8 all within a short period of time, but I am not. I am referring to the collection of amazing talent he had around him such as Peter Brock, Phil Remington, Ken Miles and so many others that accomplished so much in an equally short period of time. What a great piece of American history that the rest of us can be proud of.