Saturday, May 12, 2012

Farewell Carroll Shelby

One of my heroes died yesterday. Carroll Shelby, a chicken farmer turned race car driver turned performance-car maker, passed away at the age of 89.

For me, his crowning glory will always be the creation of the Shelby AC Cobra. The car weighed just 2,000 pounds and had a 335-horsepower Ford V-8 stuffed under the hood. It could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.6 amazing feat for a car built in 1962...something only a handful of modern Ferraris are able to achieve some 50 years later.

After creating the AC Cobra, Shelby modified the Ford GT40 and Henry Ford used that car to crush Ferrari, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 1966 and 1967. His legend lives on today as his company continues to create high performance cars for Ford...the Shelby Mustangs.

Carroll Shelby always danced to his own drummer. Back in the day, he was a highly successful driver and even drove for Ferrari. But he refused to wear the Ferrari driving suit during the races. Harkening back to his days as a chicken farmer, he would race in bib overalls...which gave his sartorial splendid boss, Enzo Ferrari, absolute conniption fits. Rest in peace, Carroll.

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