He retired from racing and built the Cobra, which married Ford V-8 engines with a lightweight British chassis. He later worked with Ford on the Mustang.Carroll Shelby, the charismatic Texan who parlayed a short-lived racing career into a specialized business building high-performance, street-legal cars, died Thursday. He was 89.
Shelby died at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, according to an announcement by his company, Carroll Shelby Licensing. A cause was not disclosed.
He led a colorful, outsized life that touched virtually every corner of the automotive world, said Leslie Kendall, curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
"He was the only individual to influence the designs of all three major American automakers. Everything he touched became legendary," Kendall said. "Even recently he was working on an experimental engine."
Living in the fast lane was a matter of fact for Carroll Shelby, who designed the cult-classic Shelby Cobras and Ford's Shelby Mustang.
He raced cars. He had a heart transplant from a Las Vegas gambler in 1990 and a kidney transplant from a son in 1996. He was married seven times.
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