Carol Shelby's Life

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When someone thinks of Ford Motor Company, one of the first things that comes to mind is the Mustang. Carroll Shelby revolutionized the world of cars, especially with his work on the Ford Mustangs. Carroll was not only a racecar driver, but he also created racecars and street legal vehicles. He is a member of the Automotive Hall of Fame and the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame, just to name a few, and in 1956 and ’57 was named Driver of the Year by Sports Illustrated. Shelby died March 10, 2012 at the age of 89, and in this speech I hope that I can convince you that he is more than worthy of the prominent place he holds in the history of performance vehicles. While he admitted that his energy and passion for performance were at their peak during his time with Ford, he did some of his most noteworthy work while working independently. In 1962 Shelby introduced his Shelby Cobra to the world. This car was like nothing the world had ever seen. It beat out the Corvette at home and the famed Ferrari of Europe. The styling cues came from a pre-existing English car called the AC Ace. Shelby thought ‘what would happen if I tossed an American V8 under the hood of that car?’. In pursuit of this idea, he went to Ford and made a tempting proposition. He said that if they would give him $25,000 and some management personnel he would build a prototype that would “blow the corvette off in the weeds”. Don Frey was reluctant to do so but was quoted saying “maybe we should give him $25,000 before he bites someone” and gave Shelby the requested sum. Ford made a stronger chassis and gave Shelby a number of small block V8 engines. One year later, Shelby’s dream came true. <http://www.automobilemag.com/features/news/1205_carroll_shelby_cobra_creator_and_american_racing_legend_dead_at_89/viewall.html>. The name Cobra came to Shelby in a dream one night. He had been wondering about what he would name the car; his dream-come-true needed a name that said quality, performance,...
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