Carroll Shelby

The story of a true legend

1w ago

Early life

Most of you know him for his work creating the Shelby Cobra, The Shelby Mustangs, and the GT40, but his story is so much more. Born in 1923 in Leesburg Texas, and fell in love with cars from a young age. After graduating high school he enlisted into the Army air corps in 1942 and was one of the best pilots in his class, he would go on to train many pilots throughout the course of the war. He said that his favorite plane to fly was the B-26 bomber due to it's ability to fly in a straight line faster than any of the enemy air crafts.

Carroll Shelby racing in his Aston Martin DBR1, in the 1959 24 hours of Le Mans, in which he won.

Carroll Shelby racing in his Aston Martin DBR1, in the 1959 24 hours of Le Mans, in which he won.

Carroll Shelby as a driver

After World War 2 had ended Shelby decided to take his love of cars to the next level, he went racing. He won his first race in 1952 in a MG-TC. He would go on to race for Maserati and Ferrari winning 12 race in 2 years!!! In 1954 though he was signed by Aston Martin, where he would go on to win the 24 hours of Le Mans. Sadly due to a heart condition he was forced to retire from racing. Despite his short racing career he would be inducted into the International Motorsports hall of fame in 1991.

Carroll Shelby with an early Cobra

Carroll Shelby with an early Cobra

Never giving up

Though he was forced to stop racing that didn't stop him from continuing his dreams. He came up with the idea to drop a big American V8 in a small European sports car. His reasoning behind this was during his time as a driver he was thrilled by the power and handling of the cars he raced but wasn't a big fan of the complicated unreliable engines powering them. So he went to work, and as fate would have it, the small British sports car maker AC lost their engine supplier and Shelby pitched them his idea, they thought it was a great idea and asked him to contact them when he had an engine supplier lined up. He contacted Ford and they agreed to supply the engines for him, and the Cobra was born. Carroll Shelby would go on to create some of the greatest cars ever made including the Shelby Mustang Gt500 and Gt350, The Daytona Coupe, the Gt40 (which in my opinion is the greatest car ever made), and eventually the Dodge Viper.

The Hennessy Venom Gt, which has a very similar recipe to the Cobra

The Hennessy Venom Gt, which has a very similar recipe to the Cobra

His legacy

Carroll Shelby has became an American Hero and icon, he developed some of the greatest, most iconic cars of all time. He has also had an impact on other manufactures, such as Hennessy, the Venom takes a very similar recipe as the Cobra.

What do you think the his greatest creation was?

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Comments (14)

  • He is my greatest hero!

      9 days ago
  • I don't know if what I'm about to mention below is the best and it's not iconic at all as the first Shelby Mustangs, the Cobra or the GT40, but it deffinetely is the one that touched my petrolhead heart.

    1969-70 Shelby GT350/500.

      5 days ago
  • Excellent read. Well written Ethan!!!

      4 hours ago
  • Nice article, Ethan!

      9 days ago
  • Yep! Carroll is doubtless one of the best racing drivers ever, and the best car maker ever!! I did a school paper on him once, it was fun. Great article, BTW. Do more!

      9 days ago
    • Thank you! I did a school project on him wonce too

        9 days ago
    • Cool! I would like to know more about his earlier life in the farming and flying business tho. I couldn't find much about that online.

        9 days ago