End of an Era: Carroll Shelby passes at 89
Words by Niky Tamayo
The first inkling that British lawmakers had that speed limits might be a good idea was a day back in 1963 when a small British sportscar with a big American engine did 185 mph on the fabled M1... or so the story goes. In 1965, Ford produced a limited run of high-performance Mustangs, co-built with the small racing shop that built that 185 monster. They leased a number of these to Hertz Rent-A-Car, calling them the GT350H. These rental racers were so good that some came back from customers with the engines swapped out. When Hertz returned the whole consignment, even more of the cars had had those upgrades... borrowed.
In the early 60’s, the Ford GT40 racing program, borne of Henry Ford's hate for Enzo Ferrari, was faltering. But in 1966, that same small racing shop straightened out the racing program, and the GT40 came in first, second, and third at LeMans.
Such is the legend of Carroll Hall Shelby. Responsible for some of the most iconic cars in history. Sadly, the great man passed away last May 11, 2012 at the age of 89.
Shelby was a guy a lot of people admired, a lot of people loved and a lot of people hated. Maybe no other American builder inspires so much emotion as Hennessey... but most people simply hate Hennessey...
It's sad he's gone... would be nice if Ford did some sort of tribute... instead of yet another insanely overpowered and overweight King Cobra, give us a new GT370H. A V6 with a completely stripped interior, a track suspension and brakes, a cammed V6 with a shorter final drive and an LSD, and a rollcage.
Then paint it black with gold stripes. It'd be a fitting tribute.