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Planet Cobra vs Shelby American

Updated December 28, 2016

Carroll ShelbyCarroll Shelby died May 10th this year, and his legacy lives on in the performance cars that he inspired. Even sadder than the great racer’s passing is a lawsuit against the company that he founded, Shelby American, Inc [SAI]. Stephen Becker, of Planet Cobra, is suing SAI for, supposedly, failing to deliver vehicles ordered, and for allegedly attempting force him out of business by raising vehicle prices. Becker has known Mr. Shelby since at least 1977, and before becoming an authorized dealer, had sold many of Shelby’s cars. As an authorized Shelby dealer, Planet Cobra delivered 49 of the famous Shelby-modified performance cars between 2007 and 2010.

Becker, in the suit, claims that SAI promised delivery of as many as twelve Shelby Cobras, including four 50th Anniversary models, by December 2011, but by July 2012, still had not been delivered. The suit continues to claim that SAI refused to give a new delivery date and that none of the cars were ready. Additionally, Becker also claims that SAI pocketed Planet Cobra’s money and then raised the prices to sell to other buyers, effectively trying to put him out of business. Becker’s suit is seeking unspecified damages and the delivery of some of the cars in question.

Joe Conway, president of Carroll Shelby International [CSI], says there is “zero credibility” to Planet Cobra’s suit and that SAI “will vigorously defend the fictitious claims set forth in Planet Cobra’s press release and lawsuit.” Conway also responds that Planet Cobra “finds it necessary to sue after SAI demanded payment on past due invoices. In 2010, Carroll Shelby personally made a substantial personal loan to Mr. Steven Becker, the owner of Planet Cobra, to help him meet his financial obligations. If Mr. Shelby were alive today, he would be terribly disappointed.”

The “disappointment” of a great man, even posthumously, is more than one should bear, but it seems that even among long-time business partners, there is no shortage of mud-slinging. Now that it’s out in the open, the auditors and lawyers will have to straighten out the whole mess.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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