Thursday, January 11, 2018

Tribute To Carroll Shelby

January 11, 1923 – May 10, 2012
Carroll Shelby
Born in Leesburg, Texas, USA.
Shelby suffered heart valve leakage problems by age 7 and spent most of his childhood in bed. He honed his driving skills with his Willys automobile while attending Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Wilson in 1940. He was enrolled at The Georgia School of Technology in the Aeronautical Engineering program. However, because of the war Shelby did not go to school and enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps, serving in World War II as a flight instructor and test pilot. He graduated with the rank of staff sergeant pilot.

Starting out as an amateur, he initially raced a friend's MG TC. He soon became a driver for the Cad-Allard, Aston Martin and Maserati teams during the 1950s. Driving for Donald Healey, in a streamlined and supercharged, specially-modified, Austin-Healey 100S, he set 16 U.S. and international speed records. 

He drove in the Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race in a specially prepared Ferrari 375 GP roadster, to a record run of 10:21.8 seconds on his way to victory in 1956. He was Sports Illustrated's driver of the year in 1956 and 1957. He competed in Formula One from 1958 to 1959, participating in a total of eight World Championship races and several non-championship races. 

The highlight of his race driving career came in 1959. Teamed with Roy Salvadori, and driving for Aston Martin, he won the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. During this race he noted the performance of an English GT car built by AC Cars, known as the Bristol. Three years later, the AC Bristol would become the basis for the AC Cobra.

After retiring from driving in October 1959 for health reasons, he opened a high-performance driving school and the Shelby-American company. He obtained a license to import the AC Cobra, often known in the USA as the Shelby Cobra, a successful British Sports racing car manufactured by AC Motors of England, which AC had designed at Shelby's request by fitting a Ford V8 to their popular AC Ace sports car in place of its standard AC six, Ford Zephyr or 2 liter Bristol engine. Shelby continued on to be influential with Ford manufactured cars, including the Daytona Coupe, GT40, the Mustang-based Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT500. After parting with Ford, Shelby moved on to help develop performance cars with divisions of the two other Big 3 American companies, Dodge, and Oldsmobile.

Some of Shelby's other projects include;
Carroll Shelby's name is associated with a popular chili fixings kit. The kit is mostly spices in several packets, all contained in a miniature brown paper bag. On the side of the bag is a story related by Shelby about his cooking chili during his racing days. On the front of the bag is a depiction of a big western black hat, a trademark piece of clothing for Shelby. He was a founder of the Terlingua International Chili Championship in Terlingua, Texas.

In 1967, Shelby's name was briefly tied to a men's grooming product. "Carroll Shelby's Pit-Stop ... a Real Man's Deodorant" was promoted in car magazines, but sold poorly.

Shelby was the initial partner of Dan Gurney in establishing Gurney's All American Racers.

Donzi Marine, of Sarasota, Florida, created a special limited-edition 22-foot speedboat, based on their Classic line of boats in collaboration with Carroll Shelby. The boat is known as the Donzi Shelby 22 GT. This project has been in place since the 2007 model year and is currently the only boat ever to wear the Shelby name.

Carroll Shelby produced a line of eight-spoke alloy wheels for Saab automobiles in the early to mid-1980s. They were available in gold, hammered silver finish, and a black hammered finish. These wheels were available through Saab dealers and could be fitted to Saab 99 and Saab 900 models manufactured through 1987. They are a sought-after accessory for Saab enthusiasts today.

In 1989, Shelby was inducted into Woodrow Wilson High School's Hall of Fame when it was created during the celebration of the school's 60th anniversary. In 2009, Shelby was Grand Marshal of the Parade and spoke to and met with scores of fellow alums during Woodrow's 80th anniversary celebration.

In 2008 Shelby was awarded the 2008 Automotive Executive of the Year Award. 

He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992. He was inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame on March 2, 2013.

Shelby established the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation to pay the medical bills of children who have heart disease but cannot afford treatment.

Shelby dealt with health issues throughout his life. He took nitroglycerine pills when he was racing because of his heart. He had a heart transplant in 1990 and a kidney transplant in 1996. Shelby died on May 10, 2012, at the age of 89. He had been suffering from a serious heart ailment for decades.

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