If you are a car-racing enthusiast, then you’ve probably heard the name Carroll Shelby, one of the icons of the car-racing industry in the world. Shelby was known as a great racer and also helped Ford turn Mustang car models into a legend.
Carroll Hall Shelby was born on January 11, 1923, and died on May 10, 2012. He is an American automotive designer, car racer, entrepreneur, and autobiographical author. From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, Shelby was famous for being an outstanding racer and had won the prestigious Le Mans racing tournaments.
However, sometime later, due to health issues, he left the roadway and switched to teach driving and design high-performance cars, then he moved towards establishing Carroll Shelby International Inc. He has devoted much to Ford Motor Company in being a familiar consultant and cooperating to develop the most advanced new car brands of the time, such as Shelby Cobra, Ford Shelby Mustang, and so more.
For more information about the career and history of Carroll Shelby, read through the following article. You will know more about the interesting facts about the king of the roadway.
Carroll Shelby And Ken Miles
One of the legendary car racing duos of the world and the inspiration for generations of racers with enthusiasm and the idea of revolutionizing their racing-cars, it’s Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles. Ken Miles is the car racer attached to the legendary history of Carroll Shelby.
The story begins in the 1960s when Ferrari completely dominated the 24 Hours of Le Mans car racing track, and Henry Ford II decided to bring the Ford Motor Company into the competition.
In 1963, Henry Ford II suggested that the fastest way to get Ford on track was to buy the key player Ferrari. However, the agreement later caused several glitches that drove Ford determined to defeat Ferrari on the fierce 24 Hour Of Le Mans track.
Therefore, Henry Ford II formed a racing team and built a capable vehicle on purpose to beat Ferrari at the number one prestigious car race track in the world.
Later, ‘Captain’ Carroll Shelby joined, who then hired Ken Miles, and then they made up a team that made extraordinary achievements for Ford at 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
Ford teamed up and leveraged Carroll Shelby’s expertise to create stable, well-running, and top-speed racing cars with the ambition to overcome Ferrari, typically Ford GT40 cars. Miles, meanwhile, was the chief test driver for the cars, as well as playing a crucial role in the successful development of GT40 racing versions cars.
Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles worked well together as they were knowledgeable about how to manufacture cars that match their driving techniques, how to control the speed as well as travel on the track. Together they created a feat on the Le Mans racetrack back then.
Typically, Miles took the lead in the 24h of Le Mans race in 1966 and helped Ford finally obtain a public victory over Ferrari and regain their honor. The lives and careers of the legendary racers Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles have been made into the movie Ford v Ferrari, which has recreated dramatic cooperation in the history of the world’s racing track.
Carroll Shelby Spouses
There had been many Carroll Shelby spouses during his lifetime. When people hear about the history of Carroll Shelby, they would know that Shelby has gone through a total of 7 marriages. In his first marriage, he married Jeanne Fields on December 18, 1943, and then they divorced in February 1960. They had three children together. The reason for the divorce is probably that Shelby secretly had a love affair with actress Jan Harrison, whom he went on to marry in 1962, but then they canceled the marriage right in that year.
Third Carroll Shelby spouse was a New Zealand woman, but this short-lived marriage lasted only a week before they decided to end up in divorce. His fourth marriage was with Sandra Brandstetter, and the marriage came to an end a few years later. Shelby’s fifth marriage began in 1989, after nearly 30 years of him being single, his fifth wife was Cynthia Psaros, a famous actress and daughter of a marines colonel fighter pilot for the United States. But just about a few years later, they got divorced.
In the 1990s, Shelby got married to Helena “Lena” Dahl, a Swedish woman whom he met in 1968. However, in 1997, Dahl, unfortunately, died in a car accident, which led to the end of this marriage. But just about 4 months later, after the accident, Shelby went on to marry another spouse, Cleo, a British woman who was 25 years younger than him. And this was the last marriage in Shelby’s personal life. When Shelby passed away in 2012, they were going through the process of divorce.
Carroll Shelby Cars
As we all know, in the history of Carroll Shelby, he has produced and developed many of the best performance racing car versions of his life, and these cars are still valid today. The legendary automotive productions throughout Shelby’s life are considerably numerous. However, I will only encapsulate some of the most exceptional car-racing models of all time that make up the brand and name of the manufacturer. These are the cars that contribute to special events and inspire car manufacturers and car racers to design their great models. Carroll Shelby cars’ prominence is partly because of these horses.
Cobra Daytona Coupe (1964-1965)
The Cobra Daytona Coupe was the first American car to win an international race, and it was one of the Carroll Shelby cars that were rated as capable of surpassing Ferrari. The Cobra Daytona Coupe succeeded in races at Daytona 24 Hours in 1964, and the Sebring 12 hours. Thanks to that, it won the GT class at this track. This car, along with racers Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant, won the final fourth place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1964 and was even capable of leading for a while. It was one of the Shelby Carroll cars that won the GT class and outdid Ferrari in the European GT sports car race. The Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe race car has written its name into the legend and was into the history of Carroll Shelby.
Mustang GT350 and GT350H
Ford Mustangs, although good for sales, they were not sporty cars to race at major tournaments. That’s why Ford decided to modify these car models to make them possible to accompany racers on the track.
To create high-speed Mustang models, Carroll Shelby proceeded to re-establish them as he removed the backseat, used Borg-Warner’s four-speed manual transmission, and modified the brakes system. They equipped the Shelby Mustang models with V8 engines and Holley carburetors, exhaust systems that helped to increase its horsepower significantly.
And finally, the magic that makes these GT350 cars so fast and highly functional is the Shelby suspension. Later, Shelby expanded the production by teaming up with Hertz Rent-a-Car to launch the GT350H in 1966.
Mustang GT350R (1965)
GT350R is one of the most comprehensive racing cars that Shelby has created through numberless previous GT350 car models. In the history of Carroll Shelby, the GT350R is the product that racers can drive on the large track flawlessly.
In the process of making GT350, Shelby made some small changes that could be able to turn them into a breakthrough GT350R. The engine of the GT350R is built meticulously together with the high-rise aluminum intake pipes. Besides, the GT350R can be accommodated with large American racing wheels, and the remarkable modification is the innovative fiberglass front more under the band.
In Carroll Shelby’s history, he only built 36 GT350Rs. Therefore, they auctioned and sold them at a significant price that much higher than other Mustang racing cars.
Ford GT40 Mk II, Mk III, Mk IV
The encounter of big egos drove Ford to design the most prominent racing car in America: the Ford GT40. The unstable hybrid of the Hot Rod California and the high-speed NASCAR race car was unable to complete the Le Mans in 1964 and 1965, but thanks to bold improvements and unprecedented braking tactics, the GT40 had the feat on Le Mans in 1966. Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles played a pivotal role in the production and testing of this vehicle.
The GT40 Mark II in Le Mans that year was a racing car that was capable of running at the same speed as modern racing cars – nearly 322 km/h. To celebrate the victory at the Le Mans racetrack, they produced the Ford GT40 Mark III as a street supercar based on the Mk II and powered by a 4.7-liter V8 engine with 306 horsepower. In the history of Carroll Shelby, they produced and auctioned only 7 Ford GT40 Mark III.
And finally, Ford vs Ferrari ended with the death of Ken Miles on the steering wheel of one of the vehicles which inherited the models that gave Ford their most famous victory, the Ford GT40 Mark IV, which is known as J-Cars. Ford succeeded in making the car significantly lighter but caused Miles to die when his car crashed off the track at International Raceway Riverside because it did not meet the necessary safety criteria.
Shelby GT500 (2010-2013)
In the history of Carroll Shelby, the Shelby GT500 is one of the best driving models named after him. Its equipment includes flexible and quick-response suspension along with a 5.4-liter V8 engine that can reach up to 550 horsepower. These vehicles bear all the characteristics of the previous Carroll Shelby cars but are current and optimal versions. Shelby GT500 in 2013 even has a bigger engine and produces up to 662 horsepower. With this power, modern Shelby car models can match with the most famous supercars of Ferrari or Lamborghini throughout the history of Carroll Shelby.
Carroll Shelby Children
When Carroll Shelby married his first wife, Jeanne Fields, he had with her three children. Carroll Shelby children include one daughter and two sons. The eldest daughter was Sharon Anne Shelby, born on September 27, 1944. The second child was Michael Hall Shelby, born on November 2, 1946, and the youngest son was Patrick Bert Shelby who was born on October 23, 1947. When they divorced each other, Shelby came to six more marriages but he didn’t have any child anymore.
Carroll Shelby Height
Carrol Shelby is considered as a somewhat tall Texan man. His height reached over 6 feet when he was a teenager, and he could even be taller in adulthood. In the 1960s, when involved in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Carroll Shelby height was accurately up to 6-foot-3.
Carroll Shelby Net Worth
When he passed away in October 2012, Carroll Shelby net worth reached the US $40 million. According to records of the history of Carroll Shelby, he is a relatively wealthy automotive designer and entrepreneur. Shelby has left the world of automotive racing numerous models of racing-cars that are still valuable today, especially the Shelby Cobra with Ford engines, which had the record prices at the time back then. Shelby later founded Shelby American Inc to carry out sales and distribution of automotive outputs to the market. The total assets in the history of Carroll Shelby were about at millions.
Carroll Shelby’s Last Car
The last car in the history of Carroll Shelby that he directly created and developed before his death was a Ford Mustang. In 2011, Shelby American company cooperated with Electronic Arts in the process of creating the GT500 Super Snake 2011. This car is based on the 2011 Mustang GT but can run with 750 horsepower. The full power of the car gained from the V-8 5.4L, which makes it equivalent to other high-performance cars.
Then an auction took place to sell this car. Later on, a few developments and modifications were made by Ford and manufacturers to create more striking versions of these car models in the following years. People can say that Carroll Shelby’s last car is still valid and valuable to the automotive manufacturers all over the world today, as well as its price is quite costly, but of course, worthy.
Carroll Shelby Le Mans”
In 1959, the peak of Carroll Shelby’s racing career began when he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with his Aston Martin DBR1. Although after that, Shelby had to leave the racetrack due to his health problems, he turned to manufacture and modify the most stable and high-speed racing cars in America at the time.
In the 1960s, Carroll Shelby collaborated with Ford engineers and manufacturing teams to develop and modify the highest performance racing car Ford GT40 Mark II in the racing team, and this car model contributed to the success of Ford to win glory and regain honor against Ferrari on Le Mans in 1966. Even after that, many people say that the Ford GT40 is still able to continue to lead the way every next time.
When referring to the history of Carroll Shelby, automotive racing fans around the world will remember his achievements at 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the harshest and most prestigious racing tracks of all time.