Carroll Shelby, the name is synonymous with motorsport and high performance Ford Mustangs, and has been a mainstay in the automotive world since the 1950’s. Shelby first entered the limelight in the 1950s and early 1960s as both a performance tuner and race-winner with his famous win at Le Mans in 1959 for Aston Martin.

His career saw him enter WWII as a flight instructor and test pilot, then later as a chicken farmer. Since then, Shelby has done design work for all three of the US carmakers, most noticeably with Ford and its GT and Mustang. Other significant models include the Dodge Viper and Charger models. Shelby, now 83, is launching a line of performance parts and opening a custom modification center. In an interview with Business Week at the recent SEMA show, Shelby talked about the past and the future of his designs.

Shelby acknowledged the tough situation that America’s Big Three are facing, but he’s confident that they’ll come out alright. When asked about why the Mustang is so popular, he adds that “it’s been around for 40 years now,” and that “more people manufacture pieces and parts and modifications for the Mustang than any car on earth.” Shelby is a Ford man to the bone, commenting that “Ford GT is the best sports car that’s ever been built, I think that it will go down in history because there are only so many of them, and it’s a very unique automobile,” and what has been his biggest influence over the years? Himself of course. Follow the jump to read the full interview.

[Source: Business Week]