“Hoot, if I’m ever in trouble and I need to talk to someone in Detroit, you’re the guy I’m going to call.” I overheard that remark by Carroll Shelby to Hoot McInerny, a longtime Detroit area car dealer. Considering that Shelby had done business with Henry Ford II, Lee Iacocca, Bob Lutz and a number of other high level auto executives, that says something about the cutthroat nature of the car biz. Still, no matter the arena, Ol’ Shel was up to the competition. Ornery, cantankerous, pigheaded, greedy, a bit litigious, no matter his flaws, the man could succeed. Affected by health issues most of his life, when he passed away earlier today after complications from pneumonia, Shelby was the oldest surviving dual organ transplant in the world, having received by heart and kidney transplants. Despite his health issues, there was always one thing that could make the man come alive, a fast car. Jennifer Flake, who runs Ford communications told me, “The man loses 30 years when he gets behind the wheel.” That was when Shelby was well into his 80s. People often don’t know that before he became famous for building winning race cars and high performance road cars, Carroll Shelby was an accomplished driver, with a win at LeMans. Yes, he tarnished his legacy in later years by suing folks and whoring out his name, but you can’t deny the man his due. To celebrate his life and mourn his death, we’ve put together a gallery of many of his most notable Cobras and Mustangs.
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