By Nauman Farooq
One of the most undisputedly well-known racing car drivers of all time has got to be Carroll Shelby.
Not only is he one of the few American’s to have competed in Formula-One (1958 – 1959), he was also the first American to win the 24-Hours of LeMans (1959) in an Aston Martin with driving partner Roy Salvadori.
This made Shelby somewhat famous, but the main reason most people know of him is because of his work on road cars.
Basically, after retiring from racing, he opened a high performance driving school, and imported a little known British car called the AC Ace as his teaching tool.
But Shelby wasn’t impressed with the Ace’s standard engine, so he swapped it for a Ford engine, and hence the AC Cobra was born.
The rest as they say is history, because the Cobra started the whole American muscle-car movement, and with his modified cars winning all types of races, his name only got more and more prominent.
Over the years, he has been involved with many different car companies on their high-performance products. He was the driving force behind the original Dodge Viper, and more recently has been associated with long-time business partner Ford on a whole new range of cars wearing the Shelby badge.
On top of all the work with Ford, he still actively runs Shelby American Inc. where he is still producing Cobra roadsters. His foray into a unique new American supercar, the Series 1 was however not quite as successful.
Still, the Shelby name is as strong as ever and at the 2010 Canadian International Auto Show (C.I.A.S.), a special gallery was assembled to commemorate the man behind these incredible cars.
On display are cars ranging from his very first race cars to the latest street cars, plus some concept cars.
One very notable car on display is the 1964 Shelby Daytona Coupe. Just six of these cars were ever made, and the car on display in Toronto is actually one of the race winning cars, hence its approximate value is in the $8-million range.
While there are many interesting cars at this years C.I.A.S., the Shelby Gallery has got to be one of the biggest highlights and its worth touring the show for this exhibit alone.