Carroll Shelby

Since you like, follow or visit this web site you probably have a pretty good idea who Carroll Shelby was. Before his name became synonymous with high-performance Mustangs, the former chicken farmer raced Austin-Healeys and Maseratis and won the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans in an Aston Martin.

After his retirement due to health concerns that year, Shelby began importing AC Ace roadsters and fitting them with Ford V8s. He called the car the Shelby Cobra, creating one of the greatest American sportscars of all time.

Ford supported Shelby’s Cobra and Daytona Coupe racing efforts and gave Shelby control of the Ford GT40 racing program in 1964. Ford GT40s finished 1-2-3 in the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.

This video, part of Ford’s Mustang 50th anniversary countdown series, picks up the story from there and features  Jim Owens and John Clor, two of best guys you’ll ever meet.

On a personal note, my favorite memory of being a Mustang enthusiast was three hour conversation I had with Carroll the night before the unveiling of the SVT Shelby Cobra GT500 Show Car at the 2005 New York International Auto Show. We talked about chicken farming, music, women, and of course, cars. I was so nervous I didn’t even realize that the two of us had emptied a bottle of wine. Carroll pulled a Sharpie out of his inside jacket pocket, signed the bottle, and handed it to me, saying, “Hang onto this.” He struck me as genuine and selfless, and the respect I had for his work before we met was only enhanced by the respect I now had for him as a person.

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