WHO WAS CARROLL SHELBY?
11th January 1923
The legend begins in Leesburg Texas. Carroll Hall Shelby is born to Warren Hall Shelby, a rural mail carrier and Eloise Lawrence Shelby. By the time he was 7 Shelby had acquired severe heart valve leakage problems and spent most of his childhood in bed. However by age 14 it appeared that Carroll's health was improving with doctors declaring that he had "outgrown" his health problems.
During war time, Carroll felt a need to serve and protect his country. Shelby skipped the place he had at the 'Georgia school of technology' in order to enlist in the United States Army Air Corps. Shelby served World War II as a flight instructor and test pilot. He graduated with the rank of staff sergeant pilot. Subsequently from this he had a short stint as an oil-well roughneck and also as a poultry farmer prior to his later career.
At Norman, Oklahoma, Carroll drives in his first road race behind the wheel of a MG-TC, taking first place in a competition with other MGs. That same day, against hotter competition from Jaguar XK 120s, he wins again.
Carroll pilots a Cad-Allard to first place in an early SCCA race on a road racing course set up near the little town of Caddo Mills, TX. His great success racing the Allards led to invitations to drive for the Aston Martin and Maserati factory teams in the mid-to-late 1950s.
1958 - 1959
Following on from his crowning of 'driver of the year' by sports illustrated Shelby competes in Formula 1 participating in a total of eight World Championship races and several non-championship races. The highlight of his race driving career came in 1959, when he co-drove an Aston Martin DBR1 (with Englishman Roy Salvadori) to victory in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. During this race he publically noted the performance of an English GT car built by AC Cars, known as the Ace.
Shelby is forced to retire from driving due to his heart condition
October 1959 - March 1962
After retiring from driving in October 1959 for health reasons, Carroll opened a high-performance driving school and the Shelby-American company.
After learning that AC Cars in England has lost its source for engines for its two-seat roadster, Shelby proposes the company keep building the chassis for a special Shelby sports car to be powered by an American V8. AC Cars expresses interest in Shelby's plan as long as a suitable engine is found. Shelby learns about Ford's new 221ci small-block and dispatches a letter explaining his need for a V8.
The first roadster body is air freighted to Shelby's shop in Southern California. Shelby has a dream revealing to him the name "Cobra" on the front of his car. A 260 and four-speed are installed in the chassis, and Shelby and friend Dean Moon test drive the new Cobra.
April 1962 - August 1962
The first Cobra, CSX 2000, is painted pearlescent yellow and shipped to the New York Auto Show for the Ford display. Dealers begin ordering and Shelby-American commits to building its new Cobra.
Shelby promotes his Cobra by offering test drives to the automotive press. CSX 2000 is repainted a different colour each time a different magazine test drives it, giving the appearance of many cars in production. CSX 2002 is air freighted to Los Angeles and built into the first competition Cobra.
The FIA homologates the Cobra in the more-than 2-liter class for the FIA Manufacturers' Championship.
October 1962 - December 1963
Shelby-American enters the Cobra in its first race, but breaks a rear hub and does not finish.
Dave MacDonald and Ken Miles drive Cobras to first and second place at Riverside, beating the Corvette Stingrays.
Shelby-American enters four cars at Sebring an FIA race. Although driver Phil Hill sets the fastest GT lap, Ferraris win.
The Cobra wins the SCCA A-production national championship.
The Cobra wins the United States Road Racing Championship.
Shelby begins the Daytona Coupe project to build a Cobra roadster with the aerodynamics necessary for 200mph down the Le Mans Mulsanne Straight. Cobra production passes 170.
Shelby asked employee Pete Brock to design the Daytona's aerodynamic bodywork and Bob Negstad to design the car's suspension. After sketching the proposed design on the floor of the Shelby America workshop, Brock removed the bodywork and placed a seat and steering wheel in alignment of where he felt that they should be. He then placed driver Ken Miles in the car, and using scrap wood and gaffer tape, designed the windscreen - the first component to be manufactured for the car. He then interspaced wooden formers, and using these as a guide hand-beat the aluminium bodywork around them.
Shelby-American enters a 427-engined Cobra, CSX 2166, at Sebring in the prototype class. Unfortunately the 427 driven by Miles/Morton retires due to a blown engine. However Cobras, for the first time, beat Ferrari GTOs. A huge victory against the most sophisticated race team in the world.
Shelby meets with AC Cars and Ford design engineer Klaus Arning to develop a big-block Cobra.
Cobras win the GT class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, defeating Ferrari. A Cobra is fourth overall and first in GT.
Following such a large feat Ford recognize Shelby's potential, re-assigning him to the GT40.
November 1964 - March 1967
427 Cobra prototype is completed. The 289 Cobra again wins the SCCA A-production national championship.
Cobra Daytona Coupe finishes first overall in the Sebring 12-Hours.
Shelby-American scores enough points to assure the FIA World Championship of GT cars.
In March 1967 the last 427 Cobra Roadster is built.
THE SHELBY MUSTANG
August 1964 - December 1964
Following the celebrity like status that Shelby acquired from the Daytona's notable victory at LeMans, Ford asks Shelby to develop a high-performance Mustang fastback.
In September the first '65 Shelby Mustang GT350 race and street cars are built.
In December the SCCA accepts the GT350 in the B-production road racing class.
January 1965 - October 1965
The '65 Shelby GT350 are officially introduced at Riverside Raceway.
In February Shelby travel to Daytona. The Shelby GT350 wins its first race.
In March the production of the GT350 moves to Los Angeles International Airport.
In July the Paxton supercharger GT350 prototype is completed.
By October the '66 Shelby GT350s go on sale, and Shelby-American proposes a special Hertz racer.
November 1965 - Febuary 1966
Hertz gives Shelby-American a contract for 200 GT350Hs.
Notably the '66 GT350 again wins the national B-production road racing championship in the SCCA.
Hertz ups its contract for GT350H models to 1,000 units.
Shelby-American builds a Mustang notchback prototype for the new Trans-Am racing series.
June 1966 - November 1966
The specifications for the '67 GT350 and the new GT500 are finalized.
In September 1967 production begins. Ford wins the Trans-Am Manufacturer's title with Shelby-built Mustangs.
November also sees the first '67 GT350s and GT500s delivered to dealers.
Carroll Shelby develops a partnership with Mexican businessman Eduardo "Shelby de Mexico." It produced modified versions of the Mustang which were sold through Ford dealers in Mexico. Shelby de Mexico production continued through to 1972 with the building of approximately 200 Mustang "GT351" models and approximately 300 Shelby Mavericks.
Shelby-American takes the '67 Trans-Am Manufacturer's title for Ford.
September 1969 - December 1969
The Shelby Mustang project ends. Leftover '69 models are updated to '70 specifications.
In the Trans-Am, Shelby fields his last Ford team race car.
Shelby Automotive Racing Company closes. And Ford end the long term racing agreement with Shelby.
14th October 2001 - 4th January 2003
Shelby participates in Ford's 100 Years of Racing Festival.
Ford Shelby Cobra Concept revealed at North American Auto Show for the Cobra's 40th anniversary. Signals a reuniting between Shelby and Ford to innovate and push automotive technology together again.
23rd March 2005 - 8th August 2006
Shelby GT500 introduced at New York International Auto Show.
In early 2006 the First 2007 Ford Shelby GT 500 was auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction and raised $600,000 for the Carroll Shelby Foundation.
In April Ford, Shelby, and Hertz reveal new GT-H to celebrate 40th anniversary of the '66 GT350.
Shelby also introduces, for the first time, the Shelby GT.
June 2007 - Febuary 2010
Post-title Super Snake package offered for Shelby GT500s.
The next month Shelby Terlingua Racing Team returns.
In 2010 Shelby American releases a 45th anniversary GT350.
10th May 2012
Carroll Hall Shelby, a man whose vision for performance transformed the automobile industry, died at age 89, in Dallas TX.
His heart issues had finally caught up with him and the legend passed away. Upon his death tributes to Carroll came from every corner of the globe and every walk of life. Taking a moment to think how one man changed motorsport and automotive history so much.
LEGENDS NEVER DIE
Carroll Shelby was without doubt a true American icon. Shelby shook up the automotive and motorsport industry in a way never seen before or likely to be seen again. How did this American poultry farmer knock the all-powerful Ferrari of the top rung of the ladder? Passion, determination and guts.
Shelby's work and vision didn't end with his life, however. His name still graces the most extreme, powerful, competitive and valuable Mustangs on the planet.
Whether that comes in the form of the Ford-built Shelby GT500's and GT350's, or alternatively a Shelby-built GT or SuperSnake.
Want to own your own part of the Shelby Mustang story?
January 1965 - Febuary 1966
Shelby-American begins its move to Los Angeles International Airport facility. Ford turns its GT-40 project over to Shelby-American.
The GT-40 wins its first race, at Daytona.
Next year round the Ford GT-40 (big block) Mark II wins at Daytona.
18th-19th June 1966
Shelby test driver Ken Miles manages to win at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring with the big block Ford.
Ford send no less than eight Mark IIs to LeMans, entered by three teams: Shelby, Holman & Moody and Alan Mann Racing.
Ford and Shelby American, make history as GT-40 Mark IIs cross the finish line at Le Mans 1-2-3. The two Shelby American cars in first and second with a Holman & Moody car taking the third spot. This made it the first time in history that an American team had won at Le Mans.
10th-11th June 1967
The Ford GT40 Mark IV was an updated version of the original shape Ford J-Car with an all new chassis designed and built in the United States, as opposed to the Mark Is and IIs which had chassis that were built in England. The big-block 427 cubic inch (7 litres) Ford Galaxie-derived engine from the Mk.II was used for the Mk.IV. Although it had the same engine they did, the Mark IV had a low-drag body which increased the top speed of the car to nearly 220 mph.
Ford wins at the 35th running of Le Mans with the GT-40 driven Americans A. J. Foyt and Dan Gurney, who had led all but the first 90 minutes of the race and defeated the factory Ferrari 330P4 of Italian Ludovico Scarfiotti and Michael Parkes by nearly four laps. On the victory stand, Gurney sprayed everyone nearby with the champagne, establishing a tradition re-enacted in victory celebrations the world over ever since.
28th-29th September 1968
In 1968, the rules of sports car racing were changed to reduce speed. Cars with engines larger than 5.0 L were banned from competing in the Sports categories, which was the end for the big block Ford Mk II and Mk IV GT40.
Cars with up to 5.0 L engines were still allowed to compete in the Sport category if there were at least 50 cars built. This allowed old customer cars like the J-code Ford GT40, the Lola T70 and the Ferrari 275LM to compete against factory prototypes powered by sophisticated 3.0 L engines. For the third year in succession the LeMans victory went to a GT40, driven by Lucien Bianchi and Pedro Rodríguez.
Shelby involved with development of new Ford GT. Carroll attended the Ford Centennial Celebration and introduced the Ford GT.