Shelby, the name stirs up all kinds of feelings among car enthusiasts. Even non-car people recognize it, but they likely don’t know much about the man who made it famous. Carroll Shelby’s influence will likely live on for quite some time. He was in many ways larger than life. That kind of legendary status makes hearing the man describe himself supremely interesting.
His interest in cars seemed to be ingrained in him from the time Carroll was young, thanks to a father who also loved things with wheels, which is the case with quite a few enthusiasts. That enthusiasm grew as he visited the local racetracks and idolized the men who pushed cars to their limits.
Getting involved in racing might have seemed like a natural fit, but Shelby says he turned to it because other business ventures bored him too much. He got into motorsports late at age 28, but being behind actually spurred him forward. His wife at the time wasn’t too happy about the prospect of her husband going racing, but that obviously didn’t stop him from signing up as a driver for Aston Martin back before it also became legend.
It’s also interesting to hear how Shelby’s life could have taken a different path had he taken the three consecutive offers from Ferrari to drive for them. Carroll wasn’t a fan of how Ferrari pitted the drivers against each other, and thus a potent enemy against the Italian automaker was forged.
As he goes through the other legendary stories from his life, it’s obvious that much of what happened was Shelby just making the best of different situations.
Ultimately, Carroll Shelby was a human being, just like the rest of us. He may have done plenty of extraordinary things, but he was not some Greek god. Now that it’s been 7 years since his death, it’s important to remember the man behind the legend, instead of just the legend itself.
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