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Friday
May112012

The Last Checkered Flag, Carroll Shelby

The car world lost an icon today. Carroll Shelby passed away today at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, TX at the age of 89. Carroll Shelby pretty much did anything that could be done in the automotive world...succesful Race Car Driver, Team Manager, Constructor, Consultant, and Philanthropist.

Allard enthusiasts should be aware that Carroll Shelby holds a special place in Allard history. He raced both a J2 (#2179) and J2X (#3146) from 1952 to 1954 with considerable success. Probably his most notable race took place at the 1954 Buenos Aires Kimberly Cup Race. Carroll and Dale Duncan man-handled a J2X to a hard fought tenth place. It was at this race where he caught the attention of Aston Marton's John Dwyer...and the rest is history.

Well not quite...Carroll Shelby's racing career was cut short by heart problems in 1960. Carroll was out of a job and his marriage was on the rocks. He moved out to California and opened a Goodyear Racing Tire Dealership. Carroll also had a stacked a Rolodex full of auto industry contacts from his racing years. In 1962, he started a partnership with AC Motors in the UK and Ford in the US to mate their new 221 Ford V8 with the engineless AC that he called the Cobra...and the rest is history.

It's widely documented that Shelby got the inspiration for the Cobra from his time spent racing Allards. He knew that a lightweight English chassis paired with a powerfull American V8 would be a formidable foe on the race track. One hopes that Sydney Allard looked at Shelby's racing success in the Cobra with admiration.

We could go on and on about Shelby's post-Cobra life, but there are enough books out there that cover that. Instead, we invite you click here or the photo above to read a story my dad, Charlie Warnes wrote for the January 1997 issue of Vintage Motorsport.

Thanks Carroll, you will be missed.

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