The man whose name became synonymous with some iconic performance automobiles and muscle cars has died. Carroll Shelby was 89.
Shelby American posted the news of the passing of the legendary racecar driver, car designer and entrepreneur on Friday (May 10), at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, after a lengthy illness, though the actual cause of death was not disclosed.
Known for his iconic Shelby Cobras and Ford Mustangs, Shelby was an accomplished racer before he began his career as a designer and builder. His latest creation was the Shelby 1000 Mustang, a street-legal car capable of pumping out over 1,000 horsepower that was introduced at the New York International Auto Show last month.
Born in Leesburg, in east Texas, in 1923, Shelby began racing cars as a weekend pastime while working as a dump-truck driver and chicken farmer. His love for going fast made him an accomplished racer. He was twice named Sports Illustrated Driver of the Year, was three times a national driving champion, set the land-speed record several times and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 as a driver. Despite being forced to abandon his passion for driving race cars due to a heart ailment, Shelby was involved with further wins at the legendary French endurance race with a Shelby-prepared Ford GT40 in 1966 and 1967.
In the 1960s, his fame as a builder grew when he started putting powerful Ford V8 engines into lightweight British roadsters and sports cars as well as developing sportscars for the Ford Motor Co.
New York International Auto Show
The Shelby 1000 Mustang, a Ford Mustang capable of pumping out 1,000 horsepower, made its debut at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.