Carroll Shelby

From Ford Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Carroll Shelby
Shelby in 2007
Nationality Flag of the United States American
Formula One World Championship career
Active years19581959
TeamsAston Martin, non-works Maserati
Career points0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First race1958 French Grand Prix
Last race1959 Italian Grand Prix

Carroll Hall Shelby, (born January 11, 1923 in Leesburg, Texas) is an American racing and automotive designer and former racing driver.

Automotive Executive of the Year Award - 2008 Honoree

Carroll Shelby has been named as the 2008 Automotive Executive of the Year and will receive a lifetime achievement award, honoring a career of excellence in the automotive industry. The award, sponsored by DNV Certification and the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG), has been designated by a nominating body, representing automotive journalists, supplier community representatives and automotive industry analysts. Since 1964, the Automotive Executive of the Year Award has recognized excellence in automotive leadership. Past winners include Jim Press, Bill Ford, Dieter Zetsche and Lee Iacocca. The list of past winners illustrates the rich history and honor surrounding this prestigious award.

Life before racing

After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Texas, Shelby enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps, serving in World War II as a flight instructor and test pilot.

Driving career

Shelby beside his 1957 Maserati 450S at Virginia International Raceway in 2007

Carroll Shelby has had an impressive impact on automotive racing and design over the last 50 years. Starting out amateur, 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 US and international speed records. Teamed with Roy Salvadori, and driving for Aston Martin, he won the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans.

He drove in the Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race in a specially prepared Ferrari roadster, to a record run of 10:21.8 seconds on his way to victory in 1956.[1]

He was Sports Illustrated's driver of the year in 1956 and 1957.[2]

He competed in Formula One from 1958 to 1959, participating in a total of eight World Championship races and several non-championship races.

Complete World Championship Formula One results


Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 WDC Points
1958 Scuderia Centro Sud Maserati 250F Maserati Straight-6 ARG
NC 0
Temple Buell POR
1959 David Brown Corporation Aston Martin DBR4/250 Aston Martin Straight-6 MON
NC 0

* No points awarded for shared drive with Masten Gregory.

Shelby the constructor

For construction production details, see Shelby American vehicles

After retiring from driving in October 1959 for health reasons,[3] he opened a high performance driving school and the Shelby-American company. In the shop he designed and built the famed "Cobra" cars, which were derived from an AC chassis and used Ford engines. Shelby went on to help design some of the most successful and beautiful cars of the era: the GT40, the Mustang-based Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT500, and of course the 427 Shelby Cobra. Parting with Ford, Shelby moved on to help develop performance cars with divisions of the two other Big 3 American companies, Dodge, and Oldsmobile. The most memorable of these cars was the Dodge Viper.

He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992.

In the intervening years Shelby had an interesting series of ventures start and stop (and be stopped) relating to production of 'completion' Cobras (Cobras which were allegedly built using 'left over' parts and frames). In the 1960s, the FIA required entrants (Shelby, Ford, Ferrari, etc.) to produce at least 100 cars for homologated classes of racing. Shelby simply built an insufficient number of cars and skipped a large block of VIN numbers, to create the illusion the company had produced large numbers of cars. Decades later in the 1990s, Carroll alleged that he had found the 'left over' frames, and began selling cars which were supposedly finally 'completed.' After it was discovered the cars were built from scratch in collaboration with McCluskey, Ltd., they were re-termed 'continuation' Cobras. The cars are still built to this day, known as the current CSX4000 series of Cobras.

In 2003, Ford Motor Co. and Carroll Shelby mended ties again. Carroll Shelby became technical advisor to the Ford GT project. In that same year, he formed Carroll Shelby International Inc. based in Nevada.

Sources for Shelby's Cobra and Ford GT Racing – 1962-1967

  • Carroll, William (1964). Ford Cobra Guide. ISBN 0871120666. : an inside look at early Cobra racing 1962 through 1963.
  • Shelby, Carroll (June 1974). The Cobra Story. Motorbooks Intl. ISBN 0879380195. : Shelby's story of his life and racing (including Cobra racing) through 1964.
  • Shoen, Michael L. (May 1990). The Cobra-Ferrari Wars 1963-1965. Cfw Guidebooks. ISBN 0962509302. : covers Cobra (and Ford GT) racing through 1965.
  • Levine, Leo (February 2001) [1968]. Ford, the Dust and the Glory: A Racing History, 1901-1967. Society of Automotive Engineers Inc. ISBN 0768006635. : covers all of Shelby's Ford racing programs through 1967 and places them in the context of Ford's overall racing program.

Ford provided financial support for Shelby's Cobras from 1962 through 1965 and provided financial support for the Ford GTs first with John Wyer's Ford Advanced Vehicles in 1963 and then with Shelby American from 1964 through 1967.

Shelby Dodges and Dodge Shelbys

Shelby began working with Dodge at the request of Chrysler Corporation chairman, Lee Iacocca, who had previously been responsible for bringing Shelby to the Ford Mustang. After almost a decade of tuning work, Shelby was part of the team responsible for the Dodge Viper. The following cars were modified by Shelby, and bore his name, but still sold under the Dodge marque:

The following cars used Shelby-modified parts, but were not overseen by Carroll Shelby:

The following cars were modified and sold as Shelbys:

External link: The Shelby Dodge Pages

Series 1

Shelby's Series 1 roadster used Oldsmobile's 4.0 L L47 Aurora V8, but was poorly supported by the ailing GM division.

The Series 1 is the only car ever produced by Carroll Shelby from a clean sheet of paper, and built from the ground up. All other Shelbys are re-engineered models produced by other manufacturers and modified by Shelby.

Prior to production of the Series 1, significant costs were incurred in testing and certification required to conform to 1999 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Once completed, a total of 249 production Series 1' were constructed by Shelby American, Inc., all as 1999 models.

During production, Venture Corporation purchased Shelby American, Inc. The purchase included the Series 1 model, but not the rights to produce the "Continuation Series" Shelby Cobras. In 2004, after a subsequent bankruptcy by Venture Corporation (unrelated to the acquisition of Shelby American), Carroll Shelby's new company, Shelby Automobiles, Inc.., purchased the Series 1 assets for pennies on the dollar. Included in the asset purchase were enough components to produce several more complete Series 1's.

Because the 1999 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards certificate had expired, and the cost to re-certify the car was prohibitive, all Series 1's produced after that date were completed as "component cars" and delivered with no engine or transmission. Those "component car" models built in 2005 are identified with a seven digit vehicle identification number (VIN) and were designated with a CSX5000 series serial number. The original 249 were production cars with a seventeen digit VIN.

The Series 1 was produced in both supercharged and normally aspirated versions. Supercharged cars were also outfitted by the factory with larger brakes and a heavy duty clutch. Performance is in the "supercar" category with a 0-60 time at 3.2 seconds. Nicely optioned, Series 1 had power steering, power disc brakes, factory air conditioning, power windows, and an AM/FM/CD audio system. The convertible top folded away out of sight in a compartment located behind the cockpit. Some component cars were sold as a roadster with no convertible top.

Ford-Shelby projects

The new contract between Ford Motor Company and Carroll Shelby signaled hope for Shelby products built under Ford. In 2004, a new Ford Shelby Cobra Concept was shown off in at US car shows. Built with a retro body mimicking the 1960s Cobras mixed with modern touches, it was based on the Ford GT chassis (reworked for front engine/rear wheel drive) powered with a 6.4 L V10 engine that produced 605 hp (451 kW). It received overwhelmingly positive press reviews and has won the "Best In Show" award at Detroit International Auto Show.

A coupe version of the Shelby Cobra roadster was then introduced the following year. The Ford Shelby GR-1 concept car of 2005. While sporting a completely modern design, it showed a nod to the 1960s Shelby Daytona. The GR-1, like the Cobra, is based on the GT's chassis and was also powered with the same 6.4 L V10 engine, although production versions, if given the green light, could see a 7.0 L V8. Press reviews for the GR-1 have been very positive; it gained cover spots in magazines such as the U.S.' Motor Trend and the UK's Car Magazine. The Ford Shelby GR-1 could possibly be built, taking over the Ford GT's production line after its production comes to an end.

In 2005, the Shelby GT500 was revealed at the New York International Auto Show, and became available in the summer of 2006 as part of the model year 2007 lineup. It is powered by a 5.4 Liter Modular V8, with 4V per cylinder heads borrowed from the $150K Ford GT supercar, an eaton M122 roots supercharger and is rated by Ford at 500 hp (370 kW) and 480 ft·lbf (650 N·m) of torque. It boasts a Tremec T-6060 manual transmission, reworked suspension geometry, 18-inch wheels, functional aerodynamic body kit, and still retains the solid rear axle. The GT500 starts at an MSRP of $40,930 for the coupe, and $45,755 for the convertible version. Although Carroll Shelby had no hands-on involvement in the design of the car, he did provide Ford and SVT (Special Vehicle Team) input on what would make the car better. Most notably, he convinced Ford to enlist wider rear tires (from 255 mm wide to 285 mm wide). This car is the aftermarket's dream ... with less than $1000 in simple modifications (smaller pulley on the supercharger, cold air intake, and custom remapping of the ECU) the car's horsepower can jump to over 650 and torque over 600.

Shelby, in cooperation with the Hertz Corporation, produced a limited-edition Shelby GT-H in 2006. The GT-H is a special-edition Ford Mustang GT, available only for rental from Hertz. A Ford Racing Performance Group FR1 Power Pack boosts the GT's 4.6-liter, V-8 engine to 325 hp (242 kW). The car has a custom Shelby hood and black and gold body styling, incorporating a gold-plated "Hertz" nameplate on both sides of the car. The GT-H is limited to a run of 500 vehicles and is available for rental at major cities and airports across the United States.

A consumer version of the Shelby GT-H is available from Ford, called the Shelby GT. It has a production run limited to 6,000 vehicles for 2007 and 2300 for 2008, and features the same powerplant as the GT-H, but includes more suspension upgrades and is available with both manual and automatic transmissions. White and black colors were available for 2007 models and grabber orange or blue are available for 2008. A convertible is available in 2008 also. Few models leaving the Shelby factory in Las Vegas with a supercharger are called Shelby GT/SC. All Shelby GT's are shipped with the Shelby serial number (CSM) on the dash board badge and in the engine compartment - such as 07SGT0001 or 08SGT0001.

Non-Ford projects

In his later years, Shelby brought several lawsuits against companies making copies of the Cobra body for use on kit cars, despite him having used AC Ace bodies for his Cobras. Despite the litigation, the Cobra kit car industry continues to thrive.

One of the lawsuits involved the Superformance Brock Coupe, a copy of the original Shelby Daytona Coupe. The Superformance Brock Coupe was designed by Peter Brock, who had also designed the original Daytona Coupe for Shelby. Shelby American sued Superformance after Superformance had developed and begun production of the Superformance Brock Coupe. Eventually, the litigation was settled, though the terms of the settlement (if any) have never been released to the public. As a result of the agreement between the two companies, the product is now known as the Shelby Daytona Coupe, despite being neither designed nor built by Shelby American. Nearly 150 of these new Shelby Daytona Coupes have been built as of February 2007.

In 2002, Unique Performance, a company of Farmers Branch, TX, purchased a license from Carroll Shelby Enterprises to place his name onto a series of continuation vintage vehicles. This company specialized in recreating 60's style Shelby Mustangs. They purchased used Mustangs and installed updated versions of the Shelby 325 horsepower 302 cubic inch V8 engine. They also installed modern 5 speed manual transmissions and modern brakes, steering, suspension, interiors and entertainment systems. Because Mr. Shelby's license was purchased, these cars have Shelby serial numbers and are considered by the Shelby American Auto Club to be real Shelby cars.[1]

In October 2007, Carroll Shelby pulled his licensing agreement with Unique Performance due to numerous issues of customer complaints where vehicles were not delivered. Unique Performance was subsequently raided by law enforcement due to VIN irregularities and declared bankruptcy, which effectively ended the Shelby continuation "Eleanor" Mustang production. [2] Shelby was in turn sued by victims of Unique Performance for his involvement in the criminal activity. [3]

Other projects

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.

Shelby was a founder of the Terlingua International Chili Championship in Terlingua, Texas.[2]

Donzi Marine, of Sarasota FL, created a special limited-edition 22-foot (7 m) speedboat (only 50 were made), based on their Classic line of boats in collaboration with Caroll 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 8-spoke alloy wheels for Saab automobiles in the early to mid 1980s. They were available in gold (Goldvane) and hammered silver (Silvervane) 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.


  • Paul Dean (1993). Questions have been raised over Carroll Shelby's claim he's building 43 of his classic Cobras using original chassis. Shelby says he's the victim of a business feud.. The Los Angeles Times. April 15, 1993. 

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Olivier Gendebien
Phil Hill
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1959 with:
Roy Salvadori
Succeeded by
Olivier Gendebien
Paul Frère