Cobra Crier - Employee Newsletters

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Brian Styles

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Apr 1, 2020, 7:17:42 PM4/1/20
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The Cobra Crier newsletter was a publication by employees for employees.

These newsletters often give us an unofficial, behind-the-scenes look at the some of the things taking place in and around Shelby American.

We've been hunting these for a number of years, and while they don't appear overly collectible, they're still rare as a hen's teeth, as it seems no one bothered to preserve them from back in the day. 

So far we've identified only four (4):

Volume 1 - February 1967 (Issue 1)
Volume 1 - Issue 2 - May 1967 
Volume 1 - Issue 3 - June 1967
Volume 1 - Issue 4 - July 1967

Typically, Volume 1 would indicate the first year - in this case, 1967. The issue numbers should be sequential within the volume year. 
If the generally adopted newsletter sequencing method was followed, it would indicate that these issues were sequential and thus irregular periods in between each printing.
Given that Ford Motor Company concluded the California-based Shelby Program by the end of July 1967, it is possible that these are the only four issues that were ever printed.


Consolidated from the volumes/issues we've found:
  • Editor-in-Chief was Diana Trampe, Carroll's executive assistant.
  • The newsletter's secretaries included Eileen Monte and Sylvia Simmons
  • "Reporters" included: JoAnne Cole, Chuck Green, Bob Lee, Pat Sirrine, Alan Upchurch, Bobbie (Wirth) Farley, Harry Neumann, Dave Gaubatz, Bob Wyatt, and Pam Williams

Note: Diana Trampe also appears in the 1967 Shelby G.T. 350 TV commercial. She's the one in the white dress that appears about half-way through the 1-minute video.

Updates: 
2020-04-05 - Issue #2 (in color) provided by Bill Collins. Thank you Bill.
2020-10-28 - Issue #4 has been discovered.
Cobra Crier - 1967-02 Vol-1.pdf
Cobra Crier - 1967-05 Vol-1 Issue-2.pdf
Cobra Crier - 1967-06 Vol-1 Issue-3.pdf
Cobra Crier - 1967-07 Vol-1 Issue-4.pdf

dwdietz1

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Apr 2, 2020, 5:50:03 PM4/2/20
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Thanks for sharing Brian. I see in issue two, that they announced the completion of the one and only yellow GT-350. I wonder where that car is now, and who the lucky owner is. Thanks again, Denny  

Brian Styles

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Apr 3, 2020, 9:30:50 AM4/3/20
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The one-off Springtime Yellow car mentioned in Issue #2 (May 1967) is still around. Its sequence is #2021. 

We researched this car a couple years ago. The Ford record confirmed it was painted Springtime Yellow. 
We trust there might be more to this car's special-order story...

Here are a couple of photos, one vintage, and one current.

#2021 GT350 Springtime Yellow.jpg


#2021 GT350 SY.jpg



dwdietz1

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Apr 4, 2020, 10:56:27 AM4/4/20
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I'd love to see the yellow GT-350 sometime and if it had a parchment interior, wouldn't that be an eye catcher!

Brian Styles

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Apr 4, 2020, 1:39:24 PM4/4/20
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A few folks promptly emailed me directly asking what my thoughts were regarding the mention of "Big Red - The Blown GT500" in Issue #3 (July 1967). 

By luck, I acquired Cobra Crier Issue #3 at the same time we were working on the #0131 coupe research & restoration project. I was excited to then stumble across the reference to "Big Red" and I offered a few theories to the group which remain viable explanations today:
  1. That "Big Red" and "Little Red" were two nicknames given to the same car by different people. It is possible that Carroll may have called the supercharged coupe "Big Red" and the guy that most of the staff didn't like, Fred Goodell, (a/k/a/ "Fat Freddy" according to some of the folks I've interviewed) may have dismissively re-nicknamed the car "Little Red". The "Little Red" name is found on the Ionia relocation pages believed to have been handrwitten by Goodell. Fred Goodell was the person most interviewed by Paul Newitt about the coupe, and he referred to the car as "Little Red" for decades after his time at SAI and SAC. Because of Newitt's published works, we have all came to refer to the G.T. 500 coupe as "Little Red." Was "Little Red" a dismissive or derogatory crack at Carroll's "Big Red" nickname? Perhaps... 

  2. We now know that the supercharged coupe, like most engineering cars, 'evolved' over time.  It is believed that the first evolution was adding two (2) blowers to the factory 428 SI. Perhaps it is this configuration that earned the coupe the nickname of "Big Red." Later, likely after the two blowers blew up the original engine, the coupe received a replacement FE topped with a single supercharger. After all, Goodell, who had been employed since early December 1966, despised the multi-carburetor configuration. Once downgraded from dual to a single blower, it's plausible that Goodell re-nicknamed the car "Little Red." Since the newsletter was published in July, it could mean that the coupe was still nicknamed "Big Red" up through the custom car show and into early June. 
     
  3. There's also the possibility that a second supercharged G.T. 500 existed. I've heard that there might be some paperwork that exists to back-up this rumor. If that's the case, it could explain both a "Big Red" and a "Little Red." Maybe Big Red was a blown 427 and Little Red was a blown 428 ?

It's worth pointing out that in the July newsletter, there was no mention of Ford's takeover of SAI, the forthcoming end of G.T. production in California, or firing and/or relocation of staff to Ionia. This issue was published the same month as everything would have abruptly ended at LAX. I'm pretty confident that nearly the entire staff was blind-sided by pink slips handed out in early August 1967.


dwdietz1

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Apr 5, 2020, 11:05:30 AM4/5/20
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Brian, Do you think that Issue 3 was the last of the Cobra Crier newsletter? What a shame for those folks who were employed there. I wonder what happened to them? From the flavor of these three newsletters, they seemed like a great group of employees. Putting out a publication with the personal notes and jokes just makes it seem like a fun work group. Sorry it ended.   

Brian Styles

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Apr 5, 2020, 3:39:58 PM4/5/20
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If generally adopted newsletter sequencing was followed, Issue numbers would be sequential and, in-turn, would seem to indicate irregular time periods in between each issue. Given that the Ford concluded the California-based Shelby Program by the end of July 1967, it is likely that only these four (4) issues ever went to press.

Yes, when I recently had a conversation with Diana (Trampe) Day, we both laughed and talked about what a wonderful time it was before all the "Political Correctness" and "Virtue Signaling" took all the fun out of things...


Notes:
This topic originally included three (3) issues. We've now updated it with the 4th issue. All four are now available in the OP.
Color scan of May 1967 issue was provided by Bill Collins'. Thank you.
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