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Shelby, Carroll Hall

Shelby, Carroll Hall, 1923–2012, automobile racer and designer, b. Leesburg, Tex. After serving as a flight instructor in World War II, he began (1952) a career as a race-car driver. He was Sports Illustrated 's Sports Car Driver of the Year in 1956 and 1957 and, driving for the Aston Martin team, was co-winner of the 1959 Le Mans 24-hour race. After leaving racing due to a heart ailment, he turned to race-car design, founding (1962) Shelby American. That year he began building the Shelby Cobra, using the chassis and body of an English AC roadster and a Ford V-8 engine the Cobra captured the 1963 U.S. Road Racing championship and the 1965 large-engine class of the international Grand Touring championship. His Ford GT40 won the Le Mans Grand Prix in 1966 and 1967. Shelby developed now coveted hot-rod versions of the Mustang for Lee Iacocca at Ford, and later developed high-performance cars for Iacocca at Chrysler, contributing to the Dodge Charger and Viper. In the 21st cent. he again teamed with Ford, producing new versions of the Mustang.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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