My Car Quest

June 19, 2019

Carroll Shelby Has Died

by Mike –

Carroll Shelby is an irreplaceable part of automotive history and now he is gone. He reached the pinnacle of race car driving, race car constructing, team ownership and team management. And a few other things as well.

Carroll Shelby

Carroll Shelby with a GT350 Mustang and a Cobra in 1966

He also created the most popular sports car in history, the Shelby Cobra. He is a hero to car enthusiasts around the world and especially to American car lovers.

He, along with driving partner Roy Salvadori, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans driving an Aston Martin in 1959.

Road racing is a very competitive sport and Carroll Shelby was a very competitive man. The Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe won the 1965 FIA GT world championship, the only time this has been done by an American team, a monument to the skill, the determination and the competitive drive of Carroll Shelby.

In 1964 Ford asked Carroll Shelby to transform the Ford Mustang into a race car. He did that and in 1965 the Shelby GT350 Mustang won the SCCA B/Production Class championship.

He also was instrumental in Ford’s success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the 1960s with the Ford GT40.

Below is a Shelby factory postcard for the Cobra 427 given to me by my father in 1965 who picked it up at the Shelby factory. Man, did I want this car.

Shelby Cobra Factory Postcard

Shelby Cobra Factory Postcard

Below is the Shelby factory poster celebrating the 1965 FIA world championship. My father also gave me one of these posters directly from the Shelby factory but over the years it was lost so I had to go out and find another one which I did five years ago.

Shelby Cobra Factory Poster

Shelby Cobra Factory Poster

I grew up in Los Angeles in the 1960s and I remember seeing new Cobras and GT350s driving on the streets and the infatuation with these cars has been with me ever since. I have always wanted a Shelby but have not owned one, at least not yet.

It is apparent that Carroll Shelby had a big impact on me as a twelve year old seeing his cars, reading about them in the magazines and looking at this poster above every night.

I saw him in person in 2004 when Ford introduced the Ford GT at Concorso Italiano in Monterey. I saw him walking alone a few feet from me and I could have walked up to him and shook his hand but I did not. Now I never will.

May he rest in peace. I hope all car lovers around the world will celebrate the life of Carroll Shelby this year – the 50th anniversary of the Shelby Cobra.

Shelby Cobra Road & Track September 1962

Shelby Cobra Road & Track September 1962

Above is the cover of Road & Track from September 1962 where they tested the Cobra for the first time.

Shelby Cobra Postcard

The back of the Shelby Cobra Postcard with wear from a 13 year old boy

Carroll Shelby in 1969, photo by Alice Bixler

Carroll Shelby in 1969, photo by Alice Bixler

Some of these photos are from Road & Track magazine.

Comments

  1. Grifo4me says

    Funny you say that. I was at that same event, I shook his hand and praised the GT, I came away thinking “man that guy has huge hands”

  2. RICHIE MASHBURN says

    Is the ’65 Cobra poster champion poster for sale?

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