Carroll Shelby, creator of popular sports cars like the Cobra, GT350, and most recently, the GT500, passed away last Thursday at the age of 89. Perhaps best known for taking an AC Motors Ace chassis and dropping a small block Ford V-8 engine in it, thus creating the Cobra, there was more to Shelby’s life than what happened at the track.
In the latest installment of Wide Open Throttle, host Jessie Lang takes a closer look at the life of a man who started off farming chickens and hauling garbage, but worked his way up to a successful career in auto racing and other business ventures. One example of a successful Shelby business venture is Chili’s, a national chain of family restaurants in which Shelby gave money to so it could get off the ground. Shelby wasn’t without his own personal issues though. Even during his successes on and off the track, Shelby was living on borrowed time thanks to a kidney and heart transplant that allowed him to live for almost nine decades.
Going fast wasn’t just what Shelby did; it’s what he loved too. Sports Illustrated named Shelby its driver of the year in 1956 and 1957 and in 1959 he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Roy Salvadori while driving for Aston Martin. When Shel was done winning races and setting records, he crafted the Ford Mustang GT350 and later the GT500. Chrysler also benefited from Shelby as he helped create the original Viper, and we all know how that worked out.
We’re not going to tell you every single little thing Shelby did though because it’s all covered in episode 17 of Wide Open Throttle. Check it out below.
Do you have a favorite memory of Carroll Shelby? Tell us about it in the comment section below.