John Morton was born on February 17, 1942 in Waukegan, Illinois. John became addicted to racing after his father took him to a race at Road America in 1957. He started by racing jalopies in South Carolina. He then dropped out of Clemson University, and enrolled in 1962 in the Shelby School of High Performance Driving. In a bold moment after the last class, John asked Carroll Shelby if he might come to work for the newly formed Shelby American. The answer was "Yes, here's a broom." Thus ended John's school/college career and began his long racing career. John eventually traded his broom for a steering wheel, racing Cobras as well as his own cars until he left Shelby in 1965. Although he and Shelby parted ways, their relationship endured as John went on to compete in a number of racing series.
John Morton first raced a Lotus Super 7, which he bought with his own savings, in the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) amateur races in 1963. In 1964, he drove at Sebring in a 427 Cobra for Shelby American Racing. Teaming with Ken Miles and Skip Scott, John won the GT class at the Road America 500, and won second overall, in a Cobra. That year he bought a Lotus 23B, his second race car, a car he still races today in vintage races for its current owner, Tom Griffiths.
John Morton raced mostly in SCCA Club races through 1968, until Peter Brock - an American designer, motorsports writer and photographer - hired him for his new BRE Datsun team. The period between 1969 and 1972 were very successful for John, Peter and Datsun. The team dominated the SCCA C Production with the 240Z, where they won National Championships in 1970 and 1971, and the 2.5 Trans-Am with the 510, where they won the championships in 1971 and 1972. The team disbanded after the 1972 season.
John raced in F5000, Can-Am and IMSA races the next few years. In 1975, John did some stunt work in the Gumball Rally and Greased Lightning movies, and the Rockford Files and Fantasy Island TV shows.
In 1985, John Morton became a team driver of the BF Goodrich-sponsored Porsche 962s. Along with Pete Holster, he won the Times GP at Riverside in 1985. In 1987, John won the last Times GP at Riverside and the West Palm Beach GP for the Group 44 Jaguar team. John then signed with Nissan’s IMSA team and contributed to their domination of the IMSA series for several years.
From 1989 to 1995, John Morton secured overall victory at Sebring and several class wins, including the 1994 Le Mans. Several races in various other classes and categories include Sprint cars and karts. John also made 6 starts in the CART Championship Car series, and finished 9th at the 1984 Long Beach Grand Prix. From 1997 to 2001, John raced Porsches in both the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series and American Le Mans Series. John has also competed several times in the Monterey Historic Automobile Races.
These days, John can be seen in vintage races, racing a variety of cars, including Cobras, Corvettes, Porsches, a Sunbeam Tiger, and his favorite race car, the Scarab, which he saw race at Road America while still a teenager.
Read a summary and purchase a copy of John Morton's book "Inside Shelby American" HERE.