Words of wisdom from Carroll Shelby

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Over the years, we’ve had several opportunities to chat with Carroll Shelby, and the following quotes are taken from our various articles and interviews, some published, some not. They reveal the man as we’ve come to know him, an outspoken Texan who remained a true racer at heart.


“I remember sitting around with John and Elaine Bond, and they said they’d be willing to put the Cobra on the¬†Road & Track¬†cover. That was the happiest day of my life. But it took six martinis because John and Elaine really could down those martinis at lunch.”


“The Cobra is my personal favorite car. The original 289 Cobra is the car I respect the most. I like to drive the 289 better than the 427.”


“People say, ‘Hey, you gonna build another Cobra?’ I say, ‘Shit no.’ In the first place, I lost my ass on the first one. In the second place, it was something Ford subsidized so we could outrun the Corvette.”


“It was fun to blow off a Porsche with a $3900 donkey [the 1965 Shelby GT350 Mustang].”


“The reason I moved to California the first time was to build the Cobra. I thought it was stupid to have a 1918 taxicab engine in what Europeans like to call a performance car when a little American V8 could do the job better.”

“Wherever we wanted to, we could beat the GTO [with the Daytona Coupe]. Even in 1965, when Ferrari started slipping 4.0-liters in there. That old pushrod 289 blew ’em off. That’s one of the greatest accomplishments by a bunch of hot rodders. Shelby American was built around hot rodders, and Phil Remington was the king of the hot rodders.”


“There’s so darned many supercars out there today. How do these guys think they’re gonna make any money? I think they’re smoking something I haven’t tried yet.”


“I feel pretty good. I never thought I’d live this long. They told me in 1960 that I had less than five years to live.”


“We should have won the World Championship in 1964 until Old Man Ferrari canceled Monza. We