Happy 88th Birthday Carroll Shelby

Today Carroll Shelby turns 88, the legendary racer and businessman has left a mark on the Automotive world. His first race was at a drag strip in a 1932 Ford. Moving to road racing, he captured three national sports car championships in the United States, earned a spot on the Aston-Martin team in Europe, won international races that included a victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and set land speed records at Bonneville. Twice, he was named Sports Illustrated’s “Driver of the Year.”

These wins led the East Texas chicken farmer to a storied career that spanned the spectrum from driver to team owner, manufacturer and consultant. When his health caused him to abandon his driving in 1960, Carroll moved from the driver's seat and turned his attention manufacturing.

Shelby believed in combining big horsepower with inspired engineering, which led him to take Ford’s new small block engine and shoehorn it into AC’s lightweight Ace. Christened the Cobra, CSX 2000 was introduced at the New York Auto Show in 1962. This focus on pure performance turned the sports car world on its ear.

In 1963, Shelby took a team of Cobras to Europe to race Ferrari, Porsche and Jaguar on their own turf. Superstars like Bob Bondurant, Dan Gurney, Ken Miles and others driving for Team Shelby captured the Grand Touring World Championship in 1965.

Gurney and Bondurant returned in 1966 for Team Shelby to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ford GT40. The team repeated their Le Mans win in 1967. At the same time, Shelby’s operations turned out the Shelby 289 and 427 Cobras, as well as a succession of Mustang based Shelbys. Carroll Shelby is perhaps the only person to have worked at a visible level with all three of major American automobile manufacturers. His charisma, vision and ability to build teams have made him into a master organizer and leader. In 1992, Carroll Shelby was inducted in the Automotive Hall of Fame for his body of achievements.

(Source: Shelby American)