Every automotive enthusiast has heard about Carroll Shelby and knows about his huge contribution to the automotive industry. He began his racing career as an amateur, and in 1959, won Europe’s prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1962, he tested his first Ford-powered AC 260 Roadster – the car that would become the Shelby Cobra . This was the beginning of his extremely impressive career, but unfortunately, on May 10, 2012, this legend died at the age of 89.
"Today, 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," said 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.
RIP Carroll Shelby. The automotive industry has lost an inspiration and will surely miss you.
Hit the jump to read more about key moments in the history of Carroll Shelby.
Key moments in the history of Carroll Shelby and Ford Motor Company
- 1952: Shelby enters first race at the wheel of a Ford-powered hot rod
- 1962: Shelby tests his first Ford-powered AC 260 Roadster – the car that would become the Shelby Cobra. Shelby-American begins operations in Venice, Calif. Cobra production begins
- 1964: Ford asks Shelby to develop a high-performance Mustang derivative. First Shelby prototypes are built
- 1965: Shelby GT350 is introduced. Ford hires Shelby-American to oversee GT40 program. Hertz begins buying GT350H versions for its “rent-a-racer” program
- 1966: Ford GT40 Mark II wins Le Mans. First 1967 Shelby GT500s delivered
- 1967: Ford and Shelby-American win Le Mans, again. 1968 Shelby Mustang convertibles debut
- 1968: 1969 model year production begins
- 1969: Shelby Mustang production ends
- 1970: Ford and Shelby end their long-term racing agreement
- 2001: Carroll Shelby is invited by Ford to consult on GT40 Concept
- 2002: Ford green-lights production of Ford GT
- 2003: Ford invites Shelby to collaborate on a concept car that pays homage to original Shelby Cobra
- 2004: Ford Shelby Cobra Concept steals the show at NAIAS. Ford asks Shelby to consult on a follow-up concept. Shelby announces it will build limited-edition Shelby Ford Expedition. Ford unveils Shelby GR-1 Concept
- 2006: Shelby GTH debuts at New York Auto Show
- 2007: GT500 name debuts
- 2008: First 2008 Ford Shelby GT500KR rolls off the line on Carroll Shelby’s 85th birthday. Partnering with Ford Racing, Shelby fields factory race team for the first time since 1969
- 2011: Debut of 662-horsepower, 631-lb.-ft. 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, the most powerful production V8 engine in the world
- 2012: 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 sells at Barrett-Jackson for $350,000