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The passing of a legend: Carroll Shelby

Two Shelby GT350 Mustangs


This past week, one of the legends of the automotive world has passed away; Carroll Shelby died Thursday night in Dallas, at the age of 89.

Shelby has been a constant presence in the world of car making for the past fifty years, however he started his carrier in the world of cars much earlier than that, starting out as a race driver. And he was very good at it, winning three U.S. Sports-car championships as well as the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans with British co-driver Roy Salvadori.

While he’s much better known by the older generation, and more-so in the States, Shelby has had a very real impact on the entire world of car making. He is the one who created the Cobra, a rather crude Anglo-American hot rod which went on to prove extraordinary effectiveness, so much so that it took the world manufacturer’s title from Ferrari.

He then went on to re-imagine the Ford Mustang – possibly the most iconic muscle car ever – which in turn resulted in Trans-Am racing titles and then the creation of the aggressive Shelby GT350 street car. During his stint as the Ford’s car driving team, they won Le Mans in ’66 and ’67.

His legacy in regards to Le Mans is quite the unique one, it is considered that Carroll Shelby is the only person to have won Le Mans as a driver, a manufacturer – with the Cobra Daytona coupe – as well as a team owner.

He also had a talent for being a good promoter of his achievements and this helped to make his name into a worldwide icon of high-performance, even though not everything he got involved turned into gold.

His business turned towards doing advanced research and development for many clients, in many various fields, but one has to also be aware that his accomplishments are not limited to the car making scene, he showed a great talent and skill in a large array of other industries, such as ranching, real estate and even aircraft dealing.

Regardless of which field he chose to focus his attention on, he brought a powerful combination of intelligence, vision, curiosity, guile and charm as well as what he described as “the work ethic”, a unique combination that only he had and which allowed him to be as successful as he was.

There would be so many more things to say about both the man and the legend that Carroll Shelby was, however we only wanted to mark his passing and remind people of who and what he was, we might be talking about some of his car making achievements later on in the week.


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