Carroll Shelby has had an impressive impact on automotive racing and design over the last 50 years. Starting out amateur, he soon became a driver for the Cad-Allard, Aston Martin, and Maserati teams during the 1950s. Driving for Donald Healey, in a streamlined and supercharged, specially-modified, Austin-Healey 100S, he set 16 US and international speed records. Teamed with Roy Salvadori, and driving for Aston Martin, he won the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. He drove in the Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race in a specially prepared Ferrari roadster, to a record run of 10:21.8 seconds on his way to victory in 1956. He was Sports Illustrated‘s driver of the year in 1956 and 1957 and he competed in Formula One from 1958 to 1959, participating in a total of eight World Championship races and several non-championship races.
After retiring from driving in October 1959 for health reasons, he opened a high performance driving school and the Shelby-American company. He obtained a license to import a successful British Sports racing car manufactured by AC Motors of England, installing an American Ford engine rather than its original British Bristol engine, and introduced the car to the American public as an AC Cobra, Later to be known as a Shelby or Shelby Cobra. Shelby did not design or manufacture this car, but he did establish an appreciation for it on the North American Continent. Shelby continued on to be influential with Ford manufactured cars including the Daytona Coupe, GT40, the Mustang-based Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT500, and of course the 427 Shelby Cobra. Parting with Ford, Shelby moved on to help develop performance cars with divisions of the two other Big 3 American companies, Dodge, and Oldsmobile. The most memorable of these cars was the Dodge Viper.
He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992.