Carroll Shelby International announced on May 11, 2012, that Carroll Hall Shelby, a man whose vision for performance transformed the automobile industry, has died at age 89. Mr. Shelby passed away at Baylor Hospital in Dallas and the cause of death was not disclosed.
The legendary auto racer and car designer who built the fabled Shelby Cobra sports car and injected testosterone into Ford's Mustang and Chrysler's Viper, will not only leave behind family and friends, but a multitude of grateful enthusiasts who lives he touched, and will continue to touch for many generations to come.
One Shelby fan in particular sent us this note shortly after Carroll’s passing and we would like to share it as he pretty much sums up what most us are feeling.
What Carroll Shelby Meant to Me – by Rick Yates
After Carroll passed away, I couldn’t help thinking how this one person has changed my life.
When Carroll started producing the Shelby Mustangs again, it brought back the time when I was 14 years old and spotted a Shelby for the first time; it was a yellow 1969 GT500 and I thought to myself, one day I will have one. Well in 2007, Carroll made a dream car that a regular working enthusiast like me could afford.
It took a couple of months searching the internet before I bought a 2007 Shelby GT/SC CSM #2216. The car has been everything I hoped for; it looks great, handles great and was fun to drive. But most importantly, the whole experience of owning this car has brought my daughter Michelle and me closer together as we do car events and travel across country to attend various Shelby events.
It was at Carroll Shelby’s 85th birthday bash that I saw a grabber orange 2008 Shelby GT-C and I told my daughter, someday we will have one. That dream was achieved in 2010 with the purchase of CSM#0138. I found it waiting for us in Hollywood after just sitting for 2 years. When we brought it home, some folks asked me why I didn’t buy a Shelby GT500. My answer…it’s because these cars have been designed and blessed by Shelby American.
Carroll Shelby’s history and legacy has been well documented over the years, but my thoughts are more about the love of owning and driving his cars. It’s a hobby that brings people together. I would have never known the 100's of people I know today without Carroll's passion for cars. It’s funny how one person can change your life, how Carroll Shelby has changed my life. I have made friendships that will last a lifetime, and that is priceless. I have been blessed to know these people and cherish the time together.
The very first time I talked to Carroll, the first thing he asked me if I drove my car to the event. When I said yes, he smiled and went on his way; that is something I will never forget.
After many car show awards and countless trophies, I see kids look at my cars today and I think, that was me many years ago and wonder to myself, did this moment just change another person's life? So I say this:
Carroll your job is done here, Rest in Peace
Rick Yates, Michelle Yates, blessed Shelby owners