Carroll Shelby in his own words over five decades of blowing the competition away

Justin Hyde

Carroll Shelby history
Carroll Shelby never stopped racing. The carbuilder who passed Thursday at age 89 stopped his driving career at its peak in 1960 never lost his competitive edge, nor cared much to dim its intensity in the name of politeness. Here's a collection of moments where Shelby himself spoke about what drove him to success.

This first clip dates to the mid-'60s, and was made as Shelby prepped his Ford-backed teams to beat Enzo Ferrari, a rivalry that dominated the sports car world at the time. You can see why people were loathe to get in Shelby's headlights:

When the gas crisis put an end to big-block American performance cars in the early '7os, Shelby walked away from the automobile industry entirely. He spent time in South Africa, and started his own chili business. It wasn't until the early 1980s when old Ford comrade Lee Iacocca wanted to spice up the company's staid line of cars he called Shelby back from his semi-retirement. Shelby soon help produce models such as the Dodge Shelby Charger and the Dodge Omni GLH -- which Shelby chose because it stood for "goes like hell."

In this rare clip from 1986, Shelby seems somewhat bashful. The cars he had to work with were down a couple hundred horsepower from the GT500s of the '60s, and their floppy front-wheel-drive construction did them no favors. You can sense some reluctance that he's not watching his name on a track, but by the end of his association with Dodge, the Shelby models had a respectable amount of performance -- and Shelby's real influence would arrive with the Dodge Viper.

In October of 2011, Ford Racing sat down for a more relaxed interview with Shelby, who by then had cut back on his activities to mostly appearances and endorsements. It's a longer clip, but even with a new heart, the man on the track from four decades earlier can still be seen:

View Comments