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Caroll Shelby Passes Away At Age 89


William Maley
Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
May 11, 2012

Automotive legend Caroll Shelby passed away last night at the age of 89 after a lengthy illness at the Baylor Hospital in Dallas, TX.

Shelby's shadow extended nearly across automotive world. In the fifties, Shelby was a highly accomplished racer. He would win three U.S. sports-car championships, the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, and set land speed records at Bonneville. However, a heart condition in 1960 would cause him to stop racing.

But that didn't stop Shelby. During the sixties, Shelby would be known for building the Shelby Cobra and his partnership with Ford, building the Shelby GT350 and GT500 Mustangs. Racing would still be a big part of Shelby's work as Daytona Cobras and GT40s terrorized Ferrari, Porsche, and Jaguar on their own turf.

In the eighties, Shelby would hook up with Chrysler to produce a number of specialty cars and trucks, including the Onmi GLH and GLHS.

Beyond that Shelby grew his business into a "skunkworks," doing research and development for auto companies. In 2005, Shelby and Ford buried the hatchet from a disagreement in the seventies and would work together once again building high performance Mustangs.

However it wasn't always good times for Shelby. He made some shaky business deals, held grudges, and would go to court over trademarks with Ford, AC Cars (Ironically) and Cobra replicar manufacturers Superformance International, Inc. and Factory Five, Inc.

But the most inspirational and remarkable fact about Caroll Shelby's life was how hard he worked with his heart condition. That would land him with a heart transplant in 1990. Six years after the heart, he would get a kidney transplant from his son.

In a statement released today by Shelby American, President Joe Conway said,

“We are all deeply saddened, and feel a tremendous sense of loss for Carroll’s family, ourselves and the entire automotive industry. There has been no one like Carroll Shelby and never will be. However, we promised Carroll we would carry on, and he put the team, the products and the vision in place to do just that.”

Source: Autoweek, Motor Trend, Motoramic
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12 Comments

I was honored to have met him. He was a genuine legend and will be missed.
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An institution has been lost. Condolences to his family.
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I had a felling things were not going good from things I was hearing.

I was honored to get cused out by him once when the order for his cylinder heads were delayed. His temper was as spicy as his chili. My dad got to meet him at work in better conditions at Goodyear and my dad really did not know much about him but said he was a very good guy and straight shooter in their meeting.

He will be missed.

I was thinking when I learned of his recent illness how many of our great racers and owners are all getting to that age where we will not get to have them around much longer. Treasure the Jr Johnsons, Penskes and Jim Halls while you can.
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I would have to believe he set the bar unsurpassably high for a car that has been reproduced more often than any other; there have been dozens & dozens & dozens of Cobra replica companies. A brutal, elemental, eternal classic.
Godspeed, CS.
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A legend.
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A man who will be missed but has shown us that those who believe in pushing the envelope can succeed and we should all make sure we live life to the fullest.

R.I.P Carrol, you will be missed but not forgotten.
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I'd love to have been able to have met him, but alas.
Rest in Peace, Cowboy.

also don't forget the biggest thing he did with Chrysler:
Posted Image

It was probably the closest Shelby--or anybody for that matter--came to recreating the iconicity of the original Cobra.
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I was thinking the same thing, TJ.

And don't forget the GT-40...
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It would be awesome to do a tribute of listing the picture of all the great cars he had a hand in creating. :)
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RIP
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I was thinking the same thing, TJ.

And don't forget the GT-40...

oh yes, the GT40, and the newer Ford GT's as well if I'm not mistaken.
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Man, this sux!! I wish I could have met him b4 he passed. He was a man with vision and he left his mark on this world. Rest in Peace Mr Shelby.
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