Carroll Shelby passes away at age 89

Shelby at the 2009 Living Legends of Aviation

Shelby at the 2009 Living Legends of Aviation

An icon in the automobile industry passed away today. Carroll Shelby died at the age of 89, he recently had been battling pneumonia. Though he spent parts of his life working with GM and Dodge, Shelby will largely be remembered for his contributions at Ford and the Shelby Cobra.

While perhaps best known now for his Shelby Cobras and Shelby Mustangs, one of the biggest accomplishments of his life was a 1-2-3 finish of Ford’s GT40 in 1966 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, ending Ferrari’s then-domination of the event. This win would pave the way for his future endeavors as work began on what would eventually become the Shelby Cobra and the Mustang Shelby GT500.

Shelby wanted to give the people power with the pedal and was known to say “I love horsepower” on many occasions.

Born in Leesburg, Texas in 1923 Shelby dealt with heart problems early in his life. In his later years he was required to have a heart transplant. He was one of the nation’s longest-living heart transplant recipients, having received a heart on June 7, 1990, from a 34-year-old man who died of an aneurysm. Shelby also received a kidney transplant in 1996 from his son, Michael.

In 1992 he was inducted into the Automobile hall of fame.

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