The Shelby GT 350 was an iteration of the first Ford Mustang, which was officially unveiled by Henry Ford II at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York, on April 17, 1964. That same day, the new car also debuted in Ford showrooms across America and almost 22,000 Mustangs were immediately snapped up by buyers. Named for a World War II fighter plane, the Ford Mustang had a long hood and short rear deck. More than 400,000 Mustangs sold within its first year of production, far exceeding sales expectations. Over the ensuing decades, the Mustang has undergone numerous evolutions and remains in production today, with more than 9 million sold.
In addition to collaborating with Ford, Shelby partnered with other automakers, including Chrysler, for whom he designed the Dodge Viper sports car, which launched in 1992.
The Times in 2003 quoted comedian Jay Leno, an avid car collector who has owned several Shelby cars, as saying: “Carroll is sort of like the car world’s Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays… Unlike so many racers, he didn’t come from a rich family, so he signifies that everyman, common-sense ideal. When I was kid, American cars were big, clunky things, until Carroll used his ingenuity to make them compete with European cars. He was a populist, the kind of guy that other car buffs could emulate.”
– History.com Staff
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