Carroll Shelby next to a 2007 Ford Shelby Mustang
2022 07 26 CCC Blog Post – Carroll Shelby a Man Turned to Industry Legend
Carroll Shelby’s Early Life Passions
Carroll Shelby was born in January 1923, in east Texas. His father was a mail carrier. Young Carroll’s earliest memories were enjoying car rides with his dad. When the young Shelby turned 14, he got his driver license, the day after that he borrowed his dad’s ’34 dodge and was stopped for going over 80 miles per hour in a 30 MPH zone. These are some of the earliest foreshadowings of what was to come; Carroll Shelby’s passion towards speed drove him down the career path of creating some of the most powerful performance cars in the world and solidifying his family’s name in the history books. By the age of 12, Carroll loved racing and used to watch cars race at the track near his house. He also used to look at the garages of those cars in which he was either there as a driver or a mechanic. Later, at 18, Shelby joined the military for three years, although he realized that it was not his passion.
Late Start to A Great Legacy – Carroll Shelby
Once he left the military, Shelby was exploring different ventures. It was not until he was 28 when he gained his most valuable experience. He was always around the garage, and that is when he captured the inspiration behind the Cobra. At this time, Shelby was racing for a small team at the time named Aston Martin, although during the latter part of his racing career he had multiple offers annually from Ferrari. By the end of 1960, Carroll Shelby left racing due to a heart condition and became a car builder. Shelby began a relationship with Ford in 1962 when he installed a Ford 260/289 V-8 engine in the AC, renaming it the Cobra. The Ford-powered Shelby car won the 1965 FIA Manufacturers Grand Touring World Championship. Thus concluded the starting phase of his immortal car legacy.
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Shelby’s Legacy-Defining Cars
Shelby’s name is responsible for building far too many great performance cars, for us to mention in one blog; Here are the top 6 in our opinion in no order:
Ford GT 40
In the 1960s, Carroll Shelby and the Ford team found a Lola Mk6, redesigned it, reengineered it, and transformed it into the Ferrari-conqurer that everyone knows. As a result of Carroll Shelby’s input, the Ford GT40 won four consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans. This crowned it as the car a legacy was built on.
1985 Shelby Charger
The L Body design of the classic Chargers was dying out and not a lot of people were interested in it anymore. It was not until Shelby put his magic touch to the Charger – by reconfiguring the majority of the car – that it turned into not only one of the most powerful Chargers of its decade, but also one of the most thrilling performance muscle cars of the generation.
1967 Ford Shelby Mustang
What made the 1967 Ford Shelby Mustang special is that it was the last year cars were built in the original Shelby America Facility. In addition, it was illegal for normal road drives in some areas due to its sheer performance.
2007 Ford Shelby Mustang
What makes the 2007 Ford Shelby Mustang special is that it is responsible for the return of the Shelby name to the legendary Mustang line. The 2007 Shelby Mustang added a widely demanded performance upgrade to the standard Mustangs. To see more of this car, click here to see our auction of a 2007 Ford Shelby Mustang with a lot of videos and pictures
1965 Shelby Cobra 289
Shelby ordered ACE sports car bodies after the company stopped producing them and installed Ford 260 V8 engines that could deliver 271 horsepower, which was significant for a small roadster. This iconic Cobra went on to not only beat Ferrari, but it also beat all Jaguars in its field.
1964 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe
This legend deserves a blog post of its own; upon its creation in 1964, it was referred to as the “Shelby Secret Weapon”. Despite dominating the tight roadsters of the United States, Cobras lacked the aerodynamics to compete on high-speed European circuits like Le Mans. A coupe version of the Cobra was developed in 1964 by Peter Brock and Ken Miles to compete with Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Jaguar. The Daytonas were driven by such drivers as Dan Gurney, Bob Bondurant, Allen Grant and Phil Hill who won FIA World Sportscar GT classes in 1965. This made the Shelby company the first American manufacturer to win Le Mans.
That’s all for the short summary of Carroll Shelby Historic Journey, What’s your favorite Shelby ever made? Let us know by posting a comment below. (Remember the weekly prize of a CCC ball cap for Comment of the Week!*)
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