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Words of wisdom from Carroll Shelby


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Memorable Carroll Shelby quotes:

 

 

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 at 89 remains 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 V-8 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 were one point behind, and all six Daytona Coupes would have beaten the GTOs."

 

"Next year, Ferrari's ass is mine." –Shelby (after losing to Ferrari in the 1964 World Sports Car Championship)

 

"My proudest moments are beating Ferrari for the World Championship in 1965, and working with Ford to win Le Mans in 1966 and 1967."

 

"In 1964, when Lee Iacocca said, 'Shelby, I want you to make a sports car out of the Mustang,' the first thing I said was, 'Lee, you can't make a race horse out of a mule. I don’t want to do it.' He said, 'I didn’t ask you to make it; you work for me.'"

 

"I drove a Ferrari GTO once. Not in a race. I wanted to make sure we could kick the hell out of it with the Daytona Coupe. It took Ken Miles and John Collins six months to get that thing to stay on the ground. Peter Brock is a good designer, as far as looks is concerned, but he sure as hell wasn't an aerodynamicist. The first time we went down the straightaway at Riverside, the rear wheels came off the ground at 140 mph."

 

"I had a lot of fun building those Dodge pocket rockets. Every magazine in the country, every publication, said, 'What the hell is Shelby doing building those?'"

 

"I built the first Viper, but the project moved back to Chrysler when I had to have a heart transplant. So, I didn't really have much to do with the finished version, even though most people think I do. I built a 2900-lb. car. Chrysler built one that weighed 3700 lb."

 

"Is 1000 horsepower too much? Sure. But you’ll put that on the cover of the magazine, where 300 horsepower doesn't have much chance anymore. It's a matter of marketing. We will sell a few of them. Probably won't make a profit, but we'll improve the image of the Mustang, and that will sell a lot of V-6 Mustangs."

 

http://www.roadandtrack.com/special-report/words-of-wisdom-from-carroll-shelby

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" I like to drive the 289 better than the 427"

 

I agree with that one, and I like the 4.6 now.

 

Thank you for posting these quotes, they are very interesting to me. I recall one time at a team building exercise at work, we had to come up with the name of one living person that I would like to talk to and ask questions to some day. That person could not be a family member. The whole crowd knew I selected Carroll Shelby.

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I also agree with the Cobra 289/427 comparison. Having owned a 427 it's a handful and too easy to get squirrelly. My next will be a 289 FIA car. I do like the body style of the 289FIA/427 with the flared rear fenders, etc, and since the boss won't ride in it anyway the fact that the 289 car's roll bar support is in the front of the passenger seat won't matter :)

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I’d love to see the one he made a few years ago when he overheard several people talking how much their late model GT-500’s were going to be worth in 40 years. Supposedly he said something to the effect of,.... it’s not the value in 40 years that’s important but the pleasure you get today from driving them that counts…. or something like that. :salute:

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"Next year, Ferrari's ass is mine" 1964, then...

"My proudest moments are beating Ferrari for the world championship in 1965"

Carroll is a man of his word. As far as I'm concerned Ferrari's ass is still his, both cheeks!

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I’d love to see the one he made a few years ago when he overheard several people talking how much their late model GT-500’s were going to be worth in 40 years. Supposedly he said something to the effect of,.... it’s not the value in 40 years that’s important but the pleasure you get today from driving them that counts…. or something like that. :salute:

 

He said this at the party of 15 on November 1, 2007 when one couple was discussing the value of their car in 40 years, Mr. Shelby stopped the conversation and said, "The value of your cars is not what hey will sell for in 40 years. The value of your cars is the memories you make driving them today." Priceless.

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He said this at the party of 15 on November 1, 2007 when one couple was discussing the value of their car in 40 years, Mr. Shelby stopped the conversation and said, "The value of your cars is not what hey will sell for in 40 years. The value of your cars is the memories you make driving them today." Priceless.

 

 

SO TRUE!

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He said this at the party of 15 on November 1, 2007 when one couple was discussing the value of their car in 40 years, Mr. Shelby stopped the conversation and said, "The value of your cars is not what they will sell for in 40 years. The value of your cars is the memories you make driving them today." Priceless.

 

 

Ooooh yeah, that was it. Thanks for posting it again. :worship:

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He said this at the party of 15 on November 1, 2007 when one couple was discussing the value of their car in 40 years, Mr. Shelby stopped the conversation and said, "The value of your cars is not what hey will sell for in 40 years. The value of your cars is the memories you make driving them today." Priceless.

 

I totally agree with Mr. Shelby! Even though my 65 is a tribute, its the memories I have been making with it that makes the car priceless to me.
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I like them all but especially the one about smoking the Porsches with a Mustang...further proof that nothing changes?

 

I could quote what I overheard him say at the Bash before last but it is not too family friendly...LOL.

 

What a cool guy, great quotes!

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I first met Carroll in the early 90's at the Palm Springs Road Races. I was very young and Carroll came up to me and said "Son, don't ever paint that F'ng car!!" I still own the GT350 he made the comment on, 100+ Shelbys later, now. After seeing the Nightmist Blue 67 in the museum multiple times he was right!! My car had 18K miles ( and still does) and it was much nicer its is original format than the blue one in he museum. I was competing against Drew Alcazar ( now part owner of Russo and Steele) with his better than new restorations, so I tore the car apart. It is still apart now, One day, I will get back to it....

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