Carroll Shelby’s obsession with speed became the reason why the Shelby Mustang exists today. He was often exposed to speed as a young flight instructor during the war. When the war was over, he longed for speed on land and became a race car driver, and a great one at that!
He was named by Sports Illustrated as Sports Car Driver of the Year twice, in 1956 and 1957. Shelby’s affinity with Ford began when he ran his first race using a Ford V8 in 1952. He would then go on to win several races before conquering the 24 Hours of Le Mans in an Aston Martin in 1959.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a sports car endurance competition conducted annually in Le Mans, France. Instead of a traditional speed race, the vehicle that travels the most significant distance in 24 hours wins. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is considered the crown jewel of international sports car racing.
Meanwhile, Carroll Shelby’s idea of an American car conquering the European race tracks became the birth of the Cobras. He was relentless in pursuing this dream and, in 1962, he created the Shelby American. He pitched his idea of racing against the Corvette in the international racing scene to Ford Motor Company.
In 1965, after the Cobra sealed its reputation as a fierce race car, Ford asked Shelby to develop the Mustang into a sports car like no other. Their collaboration resulted in the Ford Shelby Mustang GT350. A sports car that would compete in the American race car circuit against Corvettes and Jaguars before crushing the Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 and 1967.
The Ford Shelby Mustang is a Le Mans icon. Carroll Shelby is the only person who conquered this competition as a driver and as a manager. His quotable remark, ‘Ferrari’s ass is mine!’ has been embedded in every race car enthusiast’s brain during that time.
On the other hand, if you want to have a piece of this history, get some Le Mans Shelby merchandise. You can complete your collection with die-cast cars, t-shirts, caps, and Stetson hats, a signature of Texan Carroll Shelby.
The Ford Shelby Mustang is truly an icon. Until today, many race car enthusiasts and car collectors dreamed of getting their hands on one. Despite many years, it remains unique and sought after. Here’s why:
1. A Classic Muscle Car
When it comes to bulk, speed, and power, the Shelby Mustang is a legend. Nobody doubted its performance in its heyday, when it sold over two million units in its first two years of production. It’s the muscle car to beat, so Chevrolet created one to match its power and vigor with the Camaro.
A ‘muscle car’ is a term coined to describe American-made two-door sports coupes with a dynamic gas-powered engine designed for high-speed driving. The 1960s to 1970s were the era when muscle cars were created. And mint-condition examples of these cars are selling for millions today.
However, one would notice that mostly Corvettes are selling in auctions this decade since most owners of Ford Shelby Mustangs wouldn’t want to let go of theirs.
2. Gone In 60 Seconds
Who could ever forget the pursuit scenes of Eleanor and Memphis in the movie Gone in 60 Seconds? Nicolas Cage’s driving wildly backward in the city’s alleys and ending up on the pier at 160 miles per hour will make your nerves pumped up and your heart rate through the roof. The intense scenes in this film possibly served as inspiration for the Fast And The Furious movies.
In the movie, Eleanor is a customized Dupont pepper gray Shelby Mustang GT500. It’s part of the large order of cars that master thief Randall Memphis Raine will steal at the docks of Long Beach.
3. Ultimate In Speed And Power
The Ford Shelby Mustang prides itself on running the V8 engine, making it a truly reliable car in terms of speed. Today, it runs on a 5.2L supercharged cross-plane crank V8.
It’s no wonder the engine is also dubbed the ‘Predator Engine.’ It has a maximum power of 760 hp at 7,300 rpm, maximum torque at 625 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm, and a maximum boost of 12 psi. Its transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
If you’re a collector of anything Shelby and Le Mans, you’ll be delighted to discover that there’s a shop that has captured the glory of this era with items worthy of your shelves.