- Alfa Romeo
- Aston Martin
- Land Rover
Legendary automobiles are hard to come by these days. A horsepower war engulfs the auto industry, robbing supercars of staying power, but 50 years ago — and still today, Carroll Shelby’s name and legacy remain self-distinguished.
A talented amateur, Shelby was quickly scouted to become a driver for Cad-Allard, Aston Martin, and Maserati during the 1950s. In 1953, Shelby set 16 U.S. and international speed records, exceeding 160 mph across the Bonneville Salt Flats in an Austin-Healey 100S . Then, Shelby set another record in 1956 at the Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race, breaking the time-trial record with a 10:21.8 seconds run in a specialized Ferrari roadster.
Racing in Formula 1 from 1958 to 1959, Shelby participated in eight World Championship races, for Maserati in his first year, then Aston Martin in his second. Finally, Carroll Shelby and teammate racing driver Roy Slavadori earn the coveted win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 behind the wheels of an Aston Martin.
Despite his talent and success in racing, many of us remember Carroll for what he did after he retired from racing. First revealed at the 1962 New York Auto Show, Carroll Shelby introduced a new “hybrid” sports car that possessed a body from the British AC Cars and an American Ford V8 engine. A game-changer at the time, the Shelby Cobra has now become an icon in automotive history.
While many Cobra fans would believe that the AC Ace chassis and the Ford V8 were necessary ingredients for the perfect Cobra sports car recipe, neither AC Cars nor Ford were Shelby’s first-choice for suppliers. It wasn’t until another British marque, Austin Healey, declined Shelby that he turned to AC. What’s more, Chevrolet quickly refused to supply Shelby with its small block V8, fearing the action would effectively help a man build a car that will compete against its own Corvette sports car.
Whoever said money can’t buy happiness obviously never had a Shelby Cobra and an empty living room.
The exact reason for this extreme level of hoonage isn’t known. Maybe the bank foreclosed on his house. Maybe, as one YouTube commented speculates, the talented driver in question just went through a divorce: he got the car, she go the house.
Either way, this is one of those occasions where words just won’t do, so watch the video after the jump:
Jay Leno’s epic car collection has a new addition to the “Ford section” (yes folks, he has a Ford section) of his garage, a brand-new 2011 Ford Mustang 5.0. The car in question, a Black coupe with a tan interior, has Michigan manufacturer plates, leading Left Lane News to suspect that something may be amiss with the situation, but more likely, this was a press car and Jay decided to order one, to keep his Ford GT, Shelby Cobra and Shelby Mustang GT350 company.
Driving impressions from what Leno are what you’d expect. The 5.0 is a big ball of fun and great value, according to Jay. Autoguide’s own Colum Wood is attending a Mustang event today, where he’ll be driving the V6, 5.0 and Shelby GT500 versions, so expect our driving impressions shortly. Hit the jump to check out nine minutes of big American V8 bliss, and Jay Leno’s sentimental musings on the fate of the muscle car.