A Homage to Carroll Shelby
Without Carroll Shelby, there would be no LASAAC and similar automobile clubs for the owners and admirers of the Shelby American vehicles. But who was the man who created some of the most iconic cars in history? As it turned out, Carroll Shelby was much more than „just“ a world-class automotive designer. He was also a fantastic racing driver and a great philanthropist who has helped hundreds of children to get a chance for a better life. Yes, Carroll Shelby made a big difference in many people’s lives.
The celebrated automotive designer was born on 11st January 1923 in a small town of Leesburg in Texas, USA. He suffered from heart problems from early childhood and until the age of 7 years, he was mostly confined to bed rest. His heart health improved by the age of about 14 and the doctors assured his parents that their soon has „outgrown“ his condition. However, Shelby suffered from heart problems later in life as well. He was taking very strong medications during his racing career and in 1990, he was forced to undergo a heart transplant surgery.
Everyone knows Shelby’s life and work after the foundation of the Shelby American company in 1962. However, it is less commonly known that Shelby was also a very successful racing driver. He broke a number of both national and international speed records, won the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1959) and 8 Formula One World Championships. And he would probably continue to collect the winning trophies as a racing driver if his heart wouldn’t force him to retire from racing in 1959. But then again, he might never started the Shelby American which, with all due respect to his racing career, is without a doubt his greatest achievement.
The Carroll Shelby Foundation
Knowing what is like to suffer from poor health, in 2009 Shelby decided to create The Carroll Shelby Foundation to provide financial help to children who, just like himself, need immediate treatment or surgery but can’t afford it. The Foundation which continues to raise funds for children in need of medical assistance to this day also provides financial support to medical institutes and research centres that focus on the fields of heart health and organ transplantation. But it also promotes education and provides scholarships to encourage the youngsters to pursue their academic goals.