Curt Scott’s odyssey of owning and driving and photographing (and, perforce, writing and publishing about) motorcars began during TV’s “golden era”… a time when Marty Milner and George Maharas were starring in CBS’s Route 66. The popular TV series featured a pair of itinerant adventure seekers tooling around the lower 48 in their Corvette roadster. Curt couldn’t afford a Corvette; his first car was a ’56 Chevy Bel Air Sport Coupe [which he promptly fitted with a higher-performance ’57 Chevy 283” V8 and painted (Surprise, Surprise… 1960 Corvette ‘Rally Red’ ]; his next car was a Ford Galaxie 500 convertible.
In a scene straight from ‘American Graffiti,’ Curt encountered his first Shelby Cobra in the summer of ’63 when a ‘GQ/Joe College’ type driving his black 289 ‘slabside’ Cobra and his slinky auburn-haired date in the passenger seat parked alongside him at a ‘Big Boy ’ drive-in restaurant. Only a week or two later his August 1963 issue of Mechanix Illustrated arrived in the mail, with its cover story featuring MI’s Tom McCahill grin-testing a brand-new 1963 289 Cobra; Curt still has that same dog-eared copy of MI in his office to this day, with McCahill and the Cobra on the front cover in a dusty power slide. Curt became an avid follower of the ensuing ‘Shelby/ Ferrari/FIA’ days of Mulsanne duels and Grand Prix triumphs.
He did a stint in the U.S. Army—14-1/2 months of it spent in the ‘injun country’ of I.Corps, [far northern South Vietnam, from Da Nang north to the DMZ and west through the A Shau Valley to the Ho Chi Minh trail]. Shortly after arriving in the combat zone he purchased and deployed his first 35mm SLR cameras, a legendary ‘Nikon F’ and a Miranda ‘Sensorex’ during his ToD. The irony is, the first Cobras Curt photographed in action were produced not by AC or Shelby American, but by Bell Helicopter.
When he returned home in 1970, he completed college while speed-shifting perhaps the baddest drivin’ machine on UNCC campus—a HiPo-equipped red 1966 Mustang GT Fastback.
It was over a decade later, in 1982, after a dullsville stretch in the corridors of corporate America, when he and his wife Judy first began seriously writing and publishing about these Enzo-vanquishing drivin’ machines. They traveled extensively; Curt photographed and wrote for numerous moto-enthusiast and photography magazines, culminating with Car Collector Magazine’s epic cover feature (“The Cobra Phenomenon”) in May, 1998.
In 1982 they formed what became Crown Publishing Company, starting out compiling and publishing a series of specialty car buyers’ guides, finally culminating in “The Complete Guide to Cobra Replicas,” which they compiled and published in several editions from 1993 until 2008. Curt and Judy became a fixture at races, rallies, club gatherings and carshows in California and nationwide to interview manufacturers, performance experts and shop owners to get a personal take on the dedication and character of each manufacturer and each assembly shop and engine builder.
In a bit of a personal-curiosity digression, between 1983 and 1986 Curt visited synoil laboratories as he painstakingly researched and tested and then penned his landmark technical treatise on synthetic motor oil. Titled “Synthetic Oil: Rx for Long Engine Life,” today you can easily stumble upon excerpts from its pages referenced in print publications and in dozens of places around the Internet. But here on CobraCountry (for the first time!) you’ll find the original, unabridged (but updated as necessary) 11-page fully-illustrated article as it first appeared in 1986. Just type the keyword ‘synoil‘ into Sidewinder, and you’ll instantly be presented with a link to that title article plus a link to each of its three corollary sidebar articles.
During that era Curt also became increasingly identified as an investigative reporter, following-up on complaints and reporting on unscrupulous predators in the Cobra replica, kit car and street rod industries. At that time these ne’er-do-wells ranged from British Columbia to California to Arizona to Florida, and various points in-between. All the while the moto-enthusiast magazines winked and looked the other way as they stuffed their corporate and editorial coffers with the ill-gotten advertising loot. As a direct and indirect result of his reporting, most of those firms were eventually shut down, and several of the rascals were indicted and convicted. Chief among them was a hulking telemarketer in Miami (that Curt christened a “telepredator”), filed suit against him in Federal civil court in a desperate (and costly to him/ entirely futile to them) maneuver to silence Curt’s reporting. Four years later (in 1999) the firm was forced to drop its punitive “SLAPP” suit only after it had pled guilty in Southern District (Federal) criminal court to all those crimes and predations and customer abuses that Curt had been alerting the automotive-enthusiast world and the criminal authorities to for nearly a decade.
For over seven years Curt had been treated to regular (anonymous) threats to his life and limb, as well as menacing hang-up telephone calls in the middle of the night and other stratagems to frighten him into silence. And all along he proceeded right on with his reporting.
Curt was presented with ‘The Moto Award Trophy for Outstanding Achievement in Automotive Journalism’ at the NAJA (National Automotive Journalists Association) Conference in Las Vegas. In 1995 the AHA (at the Knott’s Berry Farm Show in Buena Park, California) awarded him a special accolade and trophy for his ongoing efforts to shed light on the industry’s fraudulent advertisers. Also in 1995, Car and Driver’s Patrick Bedard dedicated two of his monthly columns to writing about and raising C&D’s readers’ awareness of Curt’s exposing of the criminal activities of these bad eggs [“One Little Guy Lays Siege to a Big and Shady Operation,” June 1995 issue]. You can rest assured that those con artists of yesteryear have one-by-one disappeared into the sunset.
In 1994 Curt and Judy decided to secure and establish the “KitCar.com” URL. It was immediately a resounding success. In short order they decided to spin off all the Shelby stuff… Cobras, Daytona Coupes and GT40s; they did it to display and promote the Shelby machines without ever mentioning or associating the term “kit car” with Cobras. The name “CobraCountry” was a no-brainer… and it took off like speeding missile. CobraCountry promptly became the go-to place to sell your Cobra.
And ever since, it’s been a bona fide rocket ride.
bio sketch by Ben Verleger, 27 April, 2018
(Curt speaking): Ben’s bio wouldn’t be anywhere near complete without a heartfelt salute to several key players in CobraCountry’s ongoing development:
Judy Scott [Glendale, California; Hanau and München, Germany]. Judy became a sportscar and FIA racing enthusiast at roughly the same time I did [altho’ at the time we were about 4,800 km apart, on opposite coasts]. Her first sports machine was a Porsche 912. Moreover, she was an avid spectator at European road races (including Nürburgring) when most American racing fans were focused on NASCAR oval-track competition divided almost exclusively among GM, Ford and Chrysler.
Paul Smith [California, Virginia, London, Canada]. Since our entry into print publishing in 1983, to our subsequent foray onto the Internet in 1994 and continuing up the redesign work in early 2018, Paul has been right there keeping us on the very narrow path of getting things right and staying on track. Paul has forgotten more about page layout and typography and color coordination and web design than Judy and I will ever know. I’ve been proud to call this Canadian expatriate my best friend for 35 years and counting. (Curt Scott)
Paula Easton [Asheville, NC]. It was Paula who, in 2014, laid out the basic (new) design, color scheme and navigational features of CobraCountry. For a host of reasons it took us more than three years to finally bring it all together with the CobraCountry you see today. But we couldn’t have even gotten started without Paula’s expertise and good counsel.
Ramsey Khalaf [Gatineau, Quebec, Canada… possibly elsewhere now in some warm clime]. Another dazzling Canadian on our roster. This guy is a veritable wizard at WordPress, the publishing and content-management software that we used to create this site. It’s probably safe to say that there’s nothing about WordPress and WordPress plugins that Ramsey doesn’t know.
Hank Eder [Mars Hill, NC]. It was Hank who coordinated the spectacularly effective and fast search software [we continue to call it “Sidewinder,” but it now runs on the top-end commercial Ajax Pro site search app]. Make sure you put Sidewinder to the test [just click on that li’l magnifying glass on the menu bar and take it for a spin].
George Wagner [Asheville, NC]. Macintosh OS guru and diagnostician extraordinaire. It was Paula Easton who introduced us to George some years ago, with her highest recommendation. He has bailed us out of some gnarly situations with our hard drives and various OS glitches.