Carroll Shelby at Ford CentennialEnlarge Photo
Shelby got his start in the car business after leaving the United States Army Air Corps, where he served during World War II as a test pilot and instructor. He soon began racing for teams like Aston Martin and Maserati. In 1959, Shelby won the 24 Hours of Le Mans driving an Aston Martin DBR1/300. He also set speed records and competed in Formula One (1958-1959).
By 1959, Shelby's leaking heart valve put him out of the driver's seat, but that was far from the end of the story. That year, he founded Shelby-American, and soon he had imported an AC Motors roadster, and stuffed a Ford V-8 into it, birthing the Cobra.
Carroll Shelby with 3 Cobra roadsters in 1963Enlarge Photo
The company he founded, Shelby American, continues on, as will his name.
For all of us that love fast cars, driving them, and everything that goes with it: Farewell, Mr. Shelby. And thanks.