Carroll Shelby Tribute
A Special Car for a Special Man
Larry Jewett - August 17, 2012 03:47 PM
Friends of Carroll Shelby, including Ford Motor Company, Shelby American, Ford Racing and many others, have built a special tribute 2013 Shelby GT500 Cobra. Ford is also announcing a renamed road in Dearborn, Michigan, at the Product Development Center as a tribute to the late Carroll Shelby. Cobra has been the performance label as Shelby worked with Ford for most of the last 60 years. Shelby was instrumental in the establishment of Ford performance including the Cobra, GT40 and Mustang’s performance credentials since its earliest days in the mid-1960s.
This tribute vehicle was unveiled August 17 by Ford Motor Company board member Edsel Ford II, Group Vice President for Sales and Marketing Jim Farley, and Shelby American President John Luft at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion where Cobra is the featured marque of show.
“Even at 89 years of age, Carroll was an inspiration to us all,” says Farley. “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the original Shelby Cobra. This car represents the very idea he had about making the 2013 Shelby GT500 into a true Cobra.”
Using the 662-horsepower 2013 Shelby GT500 as a foundation, “Friends of Carroll” created a one-of-a-kind 2013 Shelby GT500 Cobra wide-body Mustang that now generates more than 850 horsepower with the help of a Ford Racing 4.0-liter Whipple supercharger. Putting that much power to the ground requires plenty of traction. The 13-inch-wide rear wheels are wrapped in massive 345-section high-performance tires for extra grip.
Ford Motor Company teamed with Shelby American for several key components on the Carroll Shelby tribute car. Shelby American provided a specially designed hood, new rear wide-body kit, Shelby Wilwood brakes and new 20x13-inch rear and 20x10-inch front wheels. The bodywork is finished in the same Guardsman Blue with Wimbledon White stripes that graced so many of the Cobra roadsters built in the 1960’s.
“Carroll Shelby changed the performance world forever,” says Luft. “And while he was proud of Shelby American’s achievements, Carroll was far more interested in the next car we build. You will find the spirit and influence of Carroll Shelby in every future vehicle we build as found in the rear wide-body kit and hood that has been integrated into the 2013 Shelby GT500 Cobra.”
“You might also know that Carroll was a philanthropist, noted for supporting causes that moved him,” added Farley. “In that spirit, this car will be taken on tour around the country, and hopefully will be used in a special way at the end of its tour, a way Carroll would appreciate.”
For more than half a century, Carroll Shelby inspired designers and engineers throughout the extended Ford family. As a teenager, Edsel Ford II worked for Shelby doing a variety of jobs including cleaning transmission parts.
Countless engineers crossed paths with Shelby over the years, from those who crafted the original GT40 to those working on the 2013 Shelby GT500. Up until his death, Carroll Shelby remained committed to developing great performance cars. Even at the age of 88, he spent more than five hours driving the most powerful production Mustang ever during engineering validation sessions at Sebring and the Arizona Proving Grounds in late 2011.
During and after test sessions, Carroll would spend hours discussing with the engineers what he liked and what needed improvement. No one who worked with Carroll will ever forget it, and his lessons in vehicle dynamics will be passed along to coming generations.
Ford product development engineers will now get a daily reminder of Carroll’s way as they traverse the newly renamed Carroll Shelby Way through the heart of the Product Development Center in Dearborn, Mich., to the entrance of the proving ground.
Carroll Shelby is no longer with us, but his spirit lives on with the designers and engineers he interacted with over the years and he will continue to influence Ford performance cars for many years to come.