October 20, 2014

Carroll Shelby: 1923-2012

Carroll Shelby

Carroll Shelby

Car racer, car maker and all round car legend, Carroll Shelby has died in Dallas at the age of 89 after a life lived to the full.

We have but one life and it’s our duty to live it the best we can. Carroll Shelby certainly did that. He was a pilot in WWII, a champion racing driver, car maker and race team owner. An American legend.

Carroll Shelby didn’t start racing until he was nearly 30, but in his first year he won a road race in an MG. By 1956 he was Driver of the Year and in 1957 – just five years after starting racing – he opened his first car dealership.

In 1959 Carroll won Le Mans for Aston Martin and in 1962 built the first AC Cobra, the car he is probably best known for this side of the Pond (and which, indirectly, makes Carroll Shelby responsible for our 70mph national speed limit).

Carroll is perhaps the only man to work with all the American big three car makers in a high profile role, and his name has been attached to a series of proper performance models over the years, but it’s with Ford that Carroll was most associated, from the V8 in the Cobra to the latest GT500 models from Ford.

Carroll had his problems – including a heart transplant in the 1990s – but his love for cars and business never diminished.

In the video below he bemoans that, at the age of 88, he probably won’t be around to see electric cars and alternative fuels make their mark, and just two weeks ago he released statement from his hospital bed – where he was after a bout of pneumonia – saying he was resting and being looked after by his children.

The man may have gone, but his legend will live on.

Carroll Shelby Photos

 

Carroll Shelby Video

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