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Car designer, auto racer Carroll Shelby dies

By Robert Kirchgassner ,

Legendary car designer and auto racer Carroll Shelby died Friday in Dallas at age 89.

Shelby was known for building the Shelby Cobra sports car. He was inducted into the Automobile Hall of Fame in 1992. He was also known as a raconteur, a chili entrepreneur and a philanthropist.

He also became one of the U.S.’s longest-living heart transplant recipients. He got a new heart in 1990 when a man died of an aneurism. Six years later, Shelby would receive a kidney transplant from his son, Michael.

"He's an icon in the medical world and an icon in the automotive world," his friend, Dick Messer, said. "His legacy is the diversity of his life. He's incredibly innovative. His life has always been the reinvention of Carroll Shelby."

Shelby began his race-car career in the 1950s. He won numerous races and was named Driver of the Year twice by Sports Illustrated.

After his 1959 win at France’s Le Mans race, Shelby turned his energies to designing cars such as the Cobra and the Mustang Shelby GT500.

“When you try to put 300 horsepower in a car designed for 100, you learn what development means,” he said in 2002.

In 2003, he teamed with Ford to design, among other things, the new Mustang models for the company’s 100th anniversary.

 
 

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