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Carroll Hall Shelby, the Texan who created the famous Shelby Cobra and uncounted other high-performance machines that turned the auto world on its ear, and made it a whole lot more fun for 50 years, died in Dallas Thursday night at age 89. He had been hospitalized for pneumonia. Shelby, who affected the aw-shucks demeanor of the chicken farmer he once was, said, "I never made a damn dime until I started doing what I wanted." What he wanted was, if you will, power for the people, automotively speaking. Beyond just his efforts in the small world of hot-rodding, Shelby influenced how Detroit automakers thought about high-performance, and he proved that hard work and bit of guile can make a hero. The litany of significant cars he created is long, running from the original 1962 AC Cobra - small British sports car with a big (for the times) Ford engine - through a sojourn at Chrysler and a stint with GM via a failed Oldsmobile-powered car, back to Ford. He was involved with development of Ford's GT 500 Mustang, the 2013 version of which is certified as the most-powerful regular-production car in the world. Rumors began circulating about a health problem when the affable auto man failed to appear as scheduled at the New York auto show in early April to promote his latest creations, the 950-horsepower Shelby 1000 and the 1,100-hp Shelby 1000 S/C. Shelby published an update on his Facebook page in late April to say, in the vein of Mark Twain's "the reports of my death are greatly exaggerated," that he had been hospitalized for pneumonia, but was "resting comfortably with family and working on getting better."(USA Today)(5-11-2012)
I heard about this during the Saturday night 'Southern 500' race. I hope that race fans and car aficianados realize the talent/intelligence he had and mindset he brought to high-powered cars. He will be greatly missed and I hope that more people will now recognize his contribution to 'sports cars' of all sorts.