Carroll Shelby, legendary driver and designer of the Shelby Cobra, Mustang and Viper, has died today at 89 years of age.
Carroll Shelby International announced today that Shelby died in a Dallas hospital. He was the recipient of a heart transplant in 1990 from an aneurism victim, and a kidney transplant in 1996 from his son. He was one of the longest living heart-transplant recipients.
“The one-time chicken farmer had more than a half-dozen successful careers during his long life. Among them: champion race car driver, racing team owner, automobile manufacturer, automotive consultant, safari tour operator, raconteur, chili entrepreneur and philanthropist.”
He joined race-car circuit in the 1950s after a brief stint as a chicken farmer, winning dozens of races in various classes throughout the 1950s. He was twice named Sports Illustrated’s Driver of the Year.
Shelby won France’s Le Mans sports car race with teammate Ray Salvadori in 1959. At the time, Shelby already suffered heart problems and ran the race with nitroglycerin pills under his tongue. Soon after his win at Le Mans, he gave up racing began designing muscle cars that eventually became the Shelby Cobra and the Mustang Shelby GT500.
Until his death, Shelby was the CEO of Carrol Shelby International: “We are all deeply saddened, and feel a tremendous sense of loss for Carroll’s family, ourselves and the entire automotive industry,” Joe Conway, president of Carroll Shelby International, Inc. said, breaking the news. “There has been no one like Carroll Shelby and never will be. However, we promised Carroll we would carry on, and he put the team, the products and the vision in place to do just that.”[Source: Yahoo News]