Carroll Shelby: Patron saint of muscle cars
Carroll Shelby was a visionary who put the American-made muscle car on a global platform, says CNN's Greg Morrison.
May 11th, 2012
09:14 PM ET

Carroll Shelby: Patron saint of muscle cars

Where have all the heroes gone? That question popped into my mind Friday when I learned that Carroll Shelby had died at age 89.

To automotive fanatics like myself, Shelby was the hero of performance cars, starting in the mid-1960s when the Mustang, Camaro and Barracuda dominated our imaginations. Shelby took the Ford Mustang to a level never even considered with the Cobra and Cobra GT models.

While most of his fame came from his modifications of Mustangs, Shelby also shared some of his genius with Chrysler for a few years. While there he took an Omni and converted it from a commuter car to a fire-breathing monster that nearly went airborne when pushed to the limit.

Shelby was more than a gearhead and racer. He was a visionary who put an American-designed, American-built muscle car on a global platform. His appeal was more than mere mechanics and was clearly demonstrated a few years ago when Ford unveiled the latest version of the Mustang on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto show.

Rather than a traditional reveal, the event took place in an airplane hangar at the Santa Monica airport. Instead of crowd of jaded automotive reporters, the stands were filled with Mustang enthusiasts who had been gathering all day for the event. The parking lot was filled with their cars, fully restored, polished to perfection and displayed like new children at a family gathering.

As the new cars thundered onto the floor, the faithful cheered until their lungs hurt. But the biggest cheer was reserved for Shelby, who was greeted as a near-deity when he rode in seat in the latest Mustang. Afterwards he patiently signed autographs, answered questions in a soft Texas drawl and walked among the rows of Mustangs parked in the lot.

Shelby was also a fixture at the Barrett Jackson auction of Classic Cars in Arizona. His presence on the stage there was considered the automotive equivalent of a papal audience. His touch on a vehicle was like rubbing against a saint.

Where have all the heroes gone? Mine is somewhere smiling and trying to figure out how to make an angel’s chariot do zero to 60 in less than 4.8 seconds.

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Filed under: Auto Industry • Chrysler • General Motors • Obituary • Uncategorized
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. boy in grave

    Mommy? Cardinal Ratzinburger?

    May 12, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ripley! Believe it, or dont!

    lmao good one bobcat! And hello banasy, i see youre still not catchin a break from the evil twins! You woulda thought the cnn exterminator crew woulda taken out the trash by now, wouldnt ya?

    May 12, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      Hello Ripley and banasy

      Man, I'm getting to hate it on these blogs on the weekends. Damn trolls not cutting slack on anybody. If ignorance is bliss, these have got to be the happiest creatures on this planet.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. boy in grave

    "And Ripley" mommy? Like they can't tell who it is?

    May 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ripley! Believe it, or dont!

    And chrissy was right i think, it has to be philip trolling her, mary wouldnt know nothing about stanley steamer but philip would. When he said he was mentally l7 awhile back i think he meant 7. Lol

    May 12, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tomcat pizzing on a hat

    One day this younger bull was all frisky...prouncing around and old bull chewing his cud. "Hay grampa! Let's run down there and breed one of them fat cows!" The old bull glanced down at the pasture and said "Let's take some of Farmer Brown's Viagra, WALK down there and breed 'em all."

    May 12, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tomcat pizzing in a hat

      Oopsy again! I used hay again! Gollydam, I'm a dummy!

      May 12, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tomcat pizzing on a hat

    lmao. As if virtually everyone hasn't seen a Stanley Steamer TV commercial. Sherlock you ain't.

    May 12, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tomcat pizzing on a hat

      Oopsy, shouldn't have said that. Now they'll know I lied about having no TV.

      May 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tomcat pizzing on a hat

    E.D. What goes around comes around. Spill too much of your seed on the ground and you'll need Viagra too...just to get it up even.

    May 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tomcat pizzing on a hat

      I should know, having to eat them when I go service Elsie in the barn.

      May 12, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ripley! Believe it, or dont!

    What i havent figured out yet is why dumb and dumber feel so threatened by you guys? Must be the higher IQ you have, compared to theirs. Thats normally why the dumber ones bully with such a disgusting language.

    May 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tomcat pizzing on a hat

    Sooo, you want Big-Pharma IN your bedroom making Viagra so you can at least geit it up, and you want Big-Government regulating Big-Pharma, but you DON'T want Big-Government going straight to your bedroom and regulating it. Right?

    May 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    Not me at 1:47 PM

    May 12, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ripley! Believe it, or dont!

    Dont claim to be sherlock, just know stupid when i hear it and shes pretty stupid.

    May 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |

    I don't think Shelby was a hero exactly but I'm still bummed. 🙁

    May 12, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ripley! Believe it, or dont!

    Also as sherlock is YOUR favorite guy philip, by deductive reasoning, you would be the one trolling. Therefore, chrissy WAS correct! Cha ching!

    May 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      The only one who would be *stupid*, is the one who looks to have their rewards in full now, and will get them, yet not everlasting life. Cha ching! your self ! Donna

      May 12, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Miss Hecht, why are you bringing me into this conversation?
      I have not been a part of this at all since I was talking to bc about cars, and laughing at his joke.

      May 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ripley! Believe it, or dont!

    Also, if you stir up the dust in that foggy brain of yours you might remember a blogger with the U/N of Thunderdrums, and what that poster does for a living? Just so you will know WHY those men in snappy suits and fancy sunglasses will be knocking soon.

    May 12, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ripley! Believe it, or dont!

    See what i mean? Shes dumb as a post!

    May 12, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
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