Carroll Shelby built some of America’s great muscle cars, but he was also a legend in American high-performance car racing. His racing career started in 1952. He started off drag racing but quickly moved to road racing. He won his very first race, driving an MG. He beat not only other MG’s in the race but also the more powerful Jaguars. By 1954 Shelby was racing in Europe driving Aston Martins for John Wyers team. In November of 1954, Shelby rolled his race car four times in a Pan American Mexico race and suffered cuts, breaks, and a shattered elbow. He continued to race in 1955 using a special fiberglass cast and taping his hands to the steering wheel, despite these hardships Shelby continued to win. In 1957 Carroll Shelby was named race car driver of the year by Sports Illustrated magazine. In 1960 Shelby moved to California and opened a Goodyear Tire Dealership, and later that year he competed in his last race.
Carroll Shelby was retired from racing, but he would now begin a chapter in his life that would have a profound impact on American sports cars. He opened a high-performance driving school in 1961, and in March of 1962, he opened Shelby America in Venice California. His first car the Shelby Cobra was a combination of a frame being built by AC in England and a small block V-8 being built by Ford Motor Company. The Shelby Cobra was the fastest production car being built at the time. Shelby America went through some start up challenges but eventually starts selling quite a few Cobras. The car is a proven winner in the racing world, and in 1965 Ford asks Shelby to develop a high-performance Mustang for the street and racing. Ford was eager to compete with the Chevrolet Corvette on both the street and the track, and they felt that Carroll Shelby could give them the edge that they needed.
In September 1964, Ford Motor Company and Shelby America created a partnership to create high-performance Mustangs. Ford begins to supply the stripped-down Mustangs in Shelby and allows him to do what he wants. The first 1965 Shelby GT 350 race and production cars were built in late 1964. They are offered only in white, and Shelby added a blue bar to the side with the words of the GT 350. Under the hood Shelby put an aluminum fence that pushed the Horsepower from 271 to 306; They also added a four-speed transmission Borg-Warner T-10. The suspension received a large front stabilizer post, Koni dampers, and traction rods, as well as a 1-inch panel. On the more cosmetic side, the Mustangs were equipped with fiberglass hoods with functional caps. The rear seat was removed to make room for spare Tires and seat belts. These models were launched on the market in January 1965. They were not sold quickly, but motorists bought them, which was the target market.
In March 1965, Shelby America transported Mustang production to Los Angeles International Airport. They began work on what would be a 1966 model. The 1966 GT350 will be offered in more than one color. It was available in black, red, green and blue. Shelby America also offered a version of the GT350 supercharged, as well as a convertible model. In November 1965 Shelby made a deal with Hertz on the construction of the Shelby GT 350H. Initially, he received an order for 200, which was later increased to 1,000.
1967 model year Shelby Mustangs proposed a new style. Ford builds a tougher machine, and Shelby made it even more muscular, adding two spoons to the side and a spoiler. Many components of the body on the GT 350 were made of fiberglass. The biggest addition to the Shelby lineup was the GT 500. Shelby 500 was a great version of the Shelby Mustang. It had a huge 428 cu. Inch engine interceptor of the police, which produced 355 horsepower. You can buy a car with an automatic gearbox C-6 or with a Ford Toploader 4-Speed instruction. It comes with power steering and brakes. The Hertz model was not released this year and was not a supercharged version.
During the 1968 model year, no changes were made, except for some fairly extensive name changes. The Shelby Mustangs were named Shelby Cobra this year, and the GT500 was released as the GT500KR for King of the Road. Most of the changes were cosmetic, and Shelby released a large number of cabriolets for this model year.
In 1969 Ford completely redesigned the Mustang line. Shelby made some sharp cosmetic changes in the car, he stretched the entire nose of the machine using fiberglass and placed five hooves on the hood. The engine was the same but was also proposed as 351. 1969 will be the last year of the Shelby Mustang. As sales slowed sharply, the partnership between Ford and Shelby America ended. The remaining models of 1969 will be updated before 1970 and will be sold. In December 1969 Shelby America closed its doors. This will be the end of an era for American muscle machines. Carroll Shelby continued work on Dodge / Chrysler and would have played a major role in the Dodge Viper project.
In 2003 Ford Motor Company and Shelby Automotive announced they would begin building cars together again. The Shelby Cobra was introduced in 2004, and the Shelby Mustang GT 500 was introduced a year later in 2005. In 2006 Motor Trend magazine named Carroll Shelby one of the 50 most influential people in the automotive industry and later that year Hertz and Ford agree to resurrect the Hertz Mustang for the car rental company. The convertible Shelby Mustang was brought out in 2007. The Shelby Mustangs are still being produced today.
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