The Shelby American car manufacturing company was founded by the world-renowned racing driver, Carroll Shelby. During the 1950s, he spent his life racing some of the fastest cars. A heart condition ended his motor sports career in 1960 and he turned his attention to manufacturing automobiles. His goal was to install an American engine into a British sports car.
Soon, Shelby learned that AC Motor Cars Limited of England needed a new engine supplier. The British company agreed to work with the ex-race car driver. Shelby then approached the Ford company and convinced a Ford representative to send him two V8 engines. Shelby paired the British sports car with the Ford engine and test drove the vehicle in 1961 at England's Silverstone racetrack. The car reached incredible speeds of 150 mph.
In 1962, the Ford company agreed to provide Shelby with more engines so that Shelby's new prototype would appear in the New York Auto Show. Shelby painted the car yellow and christened it the Cobra. The car was an instant hit at the auto show and was known as the fastest production sports car. Dealers quickly began placing orders for the Cobra.
By 1965, Shelby had manufactured the GT350. This particular car was a Mustang and won the B Production Championship in 1965 and 1966. Shelby continued to manufacture cars, eventually creating one of his most popular vehicles, the GT40. This particular car was designed to compete against the Ferrari. After the introduction of the GT40, it went on to compete in Le Mans, an important racing competition. The GT40s famously finished first, second and third during this historic race.
In 1967, the company manufactured the Shelby GT 500. While previous Shelby cars were designed primarily for racing, the GT500 was suitable for daily driving. The car featured a three-speed automatic or four-speed manual transmission. It also included E70X15 tires and standard front disc brakes. GT500s offered power steering, air conditioning and Mustang GT-level interior trim.
February 1970 signaled the end of Shelby's association with Ford. Together they had built stylish, powerful vehicles that captivated people who loved fast cars. In 1996, Shelby American manufactured updated versions of Cobra 289 FIA, Cobra 427 S/C and Cobra-component cars.
It wasn't until 2004 that Ford and Shelby created a new partnership. During that particular year, the two companies collaborated on the Ford GT. Today, Shelby cars continue to fascinate muscle car enthusiasts who expect excellence, beauty and speed.
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