American Car-Building Icon Carroll Shelby Dies
Carroll Shelby, the man who created the famous Shelby Cobra and gave America its proudest moment at Le Mans, died in Dallas Thursday night at age 89. He had been hospitalized for pneumonia.
Shelby, a native Texan, built the cars which ran to a 1-2-3 finish in 1966 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, ending Ferrari’s then-domination of the event.
He had been charged by Ford with making its GT-40 racer competitive. Part of Ford’s motivation in backing the effort was Enzo Ferrari’s dismissal of Henry Ford II’s attempt to buy the Italian carmaker.
Sheldby said he wanted to beat Ferrari simply because its cars were on top of the heap.
Shelby also created a large number of well-known street cars for Ford over the years.
“Today,” Edsel B. Ford II, member of the Board of Directors of Ford Motor Company and great-grandson of Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, said, “we have lost a legend in Ford Motor Company’s history, and my family and I have lost a dear friend. Carroll Shelby is one of the most recognized names in performance car history, and he’s been successful at everything he’s done. Whether helping Ford dominate the 1960s racing scene or building some of the most famous Mustangs, his enthusiasm and passion for great automobiles over six decades has truly inspired everyone who worked with him. He was a great innovator whose legend at Ford never will be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
Jamie Allison, director of Ford Racing, said, “In the history of our company there are a handful of men who have stamped their imprint on the heart and soul of what we do at Ford Racing and Carroll Shelby is definitely one of them. I’m just so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet him and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. We at Ford and his legions of fans will have a silent moment to reflect on what he’s done for the company. It’s personal for me and I’m sure it’s personal for many fans.”
Richard Petty, whose NASCAR team races Fords, said, “Carroll Shelby was a visionary for performance and speed for the Ford Motor Company. It was his ideas that helped push the Cobra and most recently the Mustang brand to the American people. He was an innovator of his time and helped Ford become a leader in the racing and performance world. The entire Petty family sends their prayers to the Shelby family.”No Comment