The Legendary Carroll Shelby

In May of this year the automotive industry lost one of its greats with the passing of Carroll Shelby. From humble beginnings, Shelby went on to become a world-champion race car driver. However, he is perhaps best remembered for designing and building innovative and iconic cars like the Cobra, high-performance versions of the Ford Mustang and injecting expertise and testosterone into the development of the Dodge Viper.

During the 1950’s Shelby drove for the Cad-Allard, Aston Martin and Maserati teams and in 1959 he won the brutal endurance race 24 Hours of Le Mans, co-driving a British made Aston Martin. A heart ailment forced him to quit driving and in 1962 he founded Shelby-American. It became one of the most successful independent sports-car builders of the era.

Shelby began building his Cobras using the chassis and body of a two seater from AC Cars of England and packing powerful Ford V-8 Engines into the lightweight British roadsters. The Cobra won the United States Road Racing Championship in 1963 and the Grand Touring world championship in the large-engine category in 1965.

In 1964, Lee Iacocca asked Shelby to help create a high-performance version of the recently launched Mustang. In January 1965, the first Shelby Mustang, the GT350, made its début and a legend was born. Shelby also developed the Ford GT40, the Shelby GT500 and the GT500KR (KR stands for King of the Road). The Shelby-American team’s Ford GT40 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 and 1968 ending a six-year winning streak by Ferrari.

Ford Racing put a video together of Carroll Shelby “In His Own Words”.  It is fascinating…

The famous Shelby Cobra and the many other high performance vehicles that Shelby designed and built enlivened, and in many cases, revolutionized the automotive industry for the past 50 years. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on.

Evolution Auto
1300 Rinehart Road
Sanford, FL 32771
407-688-5888

Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   foursquare   |   Pinterest

Jaguar Heritage Racing

The first event at which Jaguar Heritage Racing was present this year was the 2012 Mille Miglia retrospective in May. This year’s running of the Mille Miglia has particular significance for Jaguar as it marked 60 years since Sir Stirling Moss and Norman Dewis (then Jaguar’s chief development driver) took the start in the first disc-brake equipped C-type. Later that same year Sir Stirling Moss recorded the first win for a disc-braked car when he drove another C-type to victory at Reims, paving the way for the wide-scale use of the technology that we all take for granted today.

It’s hard to think of a racing driver so loved, yet in spite of his uncanny abilities (15 grand-prix victories between 1951 and 1961); Moss never won a Formula One world championship.

Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons wasn’t one to waste money on motor racing, but even he admitted that the C-type was a good investment. “My proudest moment,” he said later, “was in 1951, when my Jaguar first won the Le Mans 24-hour race.”

Basically a tubular frame carrying a breathed-upon XK120 straight-six clothed in Malcolm Sayer’s diaphanous coachwork, the C-type is simply one of the most beautiful racing cars, ever. On its original drums brakes, however, it had only one good stop a lap. There was a solution, however.

“Norman Dewis and I did the testing for Dunlop on disc brakes,” says Moss, “and the breakthrough when they were sorted was unreal. This pea-colored one was the car that I won at Reims in [in May 1952] and it was the first race victory for a disc-braked car. It revolutionized braking, I can really tell you.”

The “pea-colored one” chassis XKC 005 is still on its original MDU 212 registration and worth many millions. It’s clearly been fed on racing food and is in fantastic condition, with the cockpit patina just as Moss would have left it and immaculate coachwork.

Moss doesn’t do banzai laps any more. Why should he? He climbs behind the wheel of old Jag. “This is a beautiful car,” he says, surveying the cockpit. We exit the pits, the brassy exhaust note bathing the crews readying for the next race. Moss gives a running commentary of braking points and apexes, clearly relishing the drive more as he starts his second lap. It might not be fast, but his double declutching is perfection, the braking smooth and his first application of steering never needs a second adjustment. I don’t suppose you forget things like that.

The Jaguar Heritage Racing program is operated and managed by JD Classics, based in Maldon,Essex. JD Classics will prepare both the C and D-type Jaguars which will take to the track, and have responsibility for all race-day activities.  Jaguar Heritage Racing will make sure that Jaguar is as well represented in historic motorsport today as it was when those same models competed back in the day.

Evolution Auto
1300 Rinehart Road
Sanford, FL 32771
407-688-5888

Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Google+   |   foursquare   |   Pinterest