Who Was Carroll Shelby and What Is His Legacy?

Carlos Kirby
· 4 min read
Carroll Shelby is the man behind a few of the most iconic vehicles in
car history
. We're more familiar with his accomplishments at Ford Automotive, but his talents did help at least one other automotive company in his lifetime. Who exactly was Carroll Shelby?
Carroll Shelby is a Ford legend and responsible for some of the coolest Fords ever.

Carroll Shelby's accomplishments before designing the Mustang

Carrol Shelby was born in 1923 to Eloise and Warren Shelby, according to an article on
Top Speed
. The family lived in Leesburg, a town residing in the eastern part of Texas. When Carroll was three, his little sister, Lula, came along to complete their family of four. 
Carroll's father worked as a postal carrier and he often brought Shelby along to help. He wasn't a big-time racer, but he did take Shelby and his friends to car races and dirt bike tracks whenever possible. 
Carroll developed a love for cars at an early age and couldn't wait to drive. When he finally could get behind the wheel, he was often found driving his father's Ford two-door sedan. Cars weren't the only means of transportation he would come to love, though. 
In World War II, he joined the Army Air Corps, where he earned his wings and rose in the ranks to become a second lieutenant. As one of the best pilots, he requested to join combat air flights but was never sent on any missions. 
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Carroll Shelby made a name for himself in the automotive business

MORE: The Coolest Mustangs Ever Produced
When the war was over, Shelby returned to civilian life, along with his new wife, Jeanne. After picking up the pieces from two failed businesses, he jumped behind the wheel of an MG-TC racer, winning his first race in 1952. 
He continued to race cars for several years, winning one of the biggest races at the time, on the 24-hours of LeMans track. He retired from racing in 1960, but he went head-on into vehicle production. The first car under his belt was the Cobra, which he pitched to Ford. 
The Ford company was intrigued by the chance to offer something that would rival the Corvette and quickly signed him on to get to work on it. His creation proved to be a winner because the Cobra dominated the Corvette for a few years. 
The next project was the Ford Mustang, which Lee Lacocca didn't feel fit into the performance division of the company. Carroll was brought in to tweak its image, according to
The result was the 1965
Shelby Mustang GT350
and the rest is, of course, history. The year 1967 saw the introduction of the Shelby GT500, which sported the big-block V8 engine.

Carroll Shelby moved on to Dodge? 

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While Shelby had been loyal to Ford for a long time, it wasn't the only brand he had made his mark on. When Lee Iacocca started rebuilding Chrysler, Shelby became his go-to man to help rebrand the Dodge name into a more performance image. 
What Shelby did for Ford with the Mustang, he did for this company's Charger model as well. The first Dodge car that he collaborated with Iacocca on was the 1983 Shelby Charger. 
With new styling and suspension modifications, he designed a pretty economical performance vehicle. The most impressive change was in 1985 when the 2.2-liter engine became available, so naturally, the Charger needed one. 
During his stint with Dodge, Shelby helped develop the Dodge Omni, the Omni GLHS series, Charger GLHS, and the Daytona. His company also built the Shadow CSX and CSX-T, the Lancer, and, of course, the Shelby Dakota. 
The Mustang GT
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