Carroll Hal Shelby, the legendary car manufacturer, tuner and racing expert has passed away yesterday at Baylor Hospital in Dallas at the age of 89. The cause of death is not disclosed, but Mr. Shelby had complicated health issues. Born on Jan. 11, 1923, Carroll’s life is probably one of the greatest American success stories.
Shelby spent most of his years as a young man flying for the U.S. Air Force in World War II, where he earned the nickname “flying sergeant.” After the war he became an automotive entrepreneur, beginning his work by running dealerships and tuning Corvette. The peak of his career however must be, however, making the Shelby Cobra super car.
Carroll Shelby founded Carroll Shelby International, a publicly held corporation involved in many industries. His licensing arm has agreements with industry giants, and Electronic Arts. His car company, Shelby American, has a thriving parts business as well as a line of muscle cars including the Shelby GT500 Super Snake, Shelby GT350 and Shelby GTS. The Las Vegas- based company also manufactures a limited number of the 1960s Shelby 289 “street,” 289 FIA, 427 S/C and Daytona Coupe Cobras.
He also took great price in launching the Carroll Shelby Foundation while he was waiting for a hear transplant back in 1992. Carroll suffered from a heart attack first time in the 60s, a condition that prevented him from pursuing his racing ambitions. The charity is dedicated to providing medical assistance for those in need, including children, educational opportunities for young people through automotive and other training programs and benefitting the Carroll Shelby Automotive Foundation.
In his personal life Carrol Shelby was a good ol’ American, which means not everyone liked him very much. He had some issues with some of his female employees from time to time, but they could never get him in the court and his record stayed clean.
Shelby is survived by his three children Patrick, Michael and Sharon, his sister Anne Shelby Ellison of Fort Worth and his wife Cleo. Carroll Shelby International, Inc. is yet to announce its future plans after the death of its leader.
RIP Carrol Hall Shelby (1923-2012)