©2012 Springer Publishing Co. Inc. and U.S. Auto Scene ®
web edition, u.s. auto scene ® dearborn, michigan
may 21, 2012
Ford Feels Pain of Shelby’s Death, Mourns Passing of Racing Great
by Gerald Sxott
 The domestic auto industry lost a good one last week with the announcement that Carroll Shelby had died at Baylor Hospital in Texas at age 89.
 And yet, the Motor City is forgiven if most of our tears emanate from Dearborn and the Ford Motor Co.’s racing and motorsports operations, which had the closest local ties to Shelby over the years even though the aftermarket  and auto racing pioneer did a few projects over the years with Chrysler as well.
 The official Ford statement came from Edsel B. Ford II, member of the Board of Directors of the Dearborn automaker and great-grandson of auto pioneer Henry Ford:
 “Today, we have lost a legend in Ford Motor Company’s history, and my family and I have lost a dear friend,” his statement read.
 “Carroll Shelby is one of the most recognized names performance car history, and he’s been successful in everything he’s done.
 “Whether helping Ford dominate the 1960s racing scene or building some of the most famous Mustangs, his enthusiasm and passion for great automobiles over six decades has truly inspired everyone who worked with him.
 “He was a great innovator whose legend at Ford will never be forgotten. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
 Indeed, Shelby was actually a member of the Ford family for over 60 years as he forged his reputation in the mid-20th century and it still lives today with his legacy, namesake Shelby companies here in the 21st century as well.
 Shelby is so closely associated with Ford and its products that he once said his energy and passion for performance products were always strongest when he was working with Ford.
 Shelby most recently collaborated with the automaker on the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang, described as the most powerful production V8 car in the world.
 Even in recent months, working with Ford SVT (Special Vehicle Team) engineers at Sebring and the Arizona Proving Grounds, at times he drove for more than eight hours – at the ripe old age of 88, at that.
 Note that Shelby was nearly 30 years old before he entered his first car race – quarter-mile drag meet in 1952. The hot rod he drove to the finish line that day was powered by a Ford V8.
 Shelby’s first Ford derivatives were the legendary Cobras and Shelby Mustangs of the 1960s. He was heavily involved in the design and engineering of the Ford Shelby Cobra Concept car unveiled in 2004, and was a key member of the Ford “dream team” that  built the 2005 Ford GT.
 Shelby may have gotten a late start in performance car development, aftermarket accessorizing and racing, but he sure made the most of it once he got comfortable behind the wheel.
 Early in 1962, Shelby drove his second Ford-powered race car. It was the first mockup for the Cobra, Shelby’s now-legendary marriage of a lightweight British roadster body with a small-block Ford V8.
 By January, 1963, Shelby had homolgated the car under FIA’s GT Group III class, and that month a Cobra won its first race, beating a field of Corvette Stingrays at Riverside in California.
 The rest as they say, is history, but as long as there Mustangs vrooming up the motorsports landscape with powerful V8 engines and a “Shelby Mustang” decal on the rear window, safe to say that Carroll Shelby’s legend will now just live on and on and on.
From coast to coast, the national auto industry was mourning the death of aftermarket and racing entrepreneur Carroll Shelby, who died on May 10 at the age of 89.
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