Monday, April 15, 2013

Sports Car Club of America Inducts Carroll Shelby into Hall of Fame

Automotive legend and American icon Carroll
Shelby has been inducted into the 
Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) 
Hall of Fame. (Photo: Business Wire)

As part of their annual meeting in Las Vegas last month, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) inducted Carroll Shelby into their Hall of Fame. Given his track record, that’s not surprising. It’s just too bad it didn’t happen while he was still around to enjoy it.

The SCCA Hall of Fame exists to honour members who’ve contributed largely to the SCCA’s development. Shelby certainly did that. According to SCCA President and CEO Jeff Dahnert, “Carroll Shelby is an icon in the automotive performance industry. He impacted the SCCA as a competitor, as an automotive designer and builder, and his influence within the motorsports world elevated SCCA. We are very proud to have had him as a member of the SCCA and now as a member of the SCCA Hall of Fame.”

While he’s best known today for the Shelby Cobra, his involvement with the SCCA began as a driver. He joined the SCCA in 1952 and remained a member until he died last year. As an amateur, he won the 1956 SCCA National Championship in Formula Libre. As a professional, he took the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans and participated in eight Formula One races.

While a heart condition he’d had since childhood eventually stopped him from racing (he had a heart transplant in 1990), he didn’t let that sideline him, turning to driving schools and designing. Dahnert commented that “Carroll Shelby’s racing fame began with his domination of SCCA, winning a national championship as a driver during the 1950s. Later as an auto manufacturer, his cars regularly won SCCA championships during the 1960s. And with the launch of the current generation of cars a few years ago, Shelbys are once again topping SCCA podiums.”

Shelby’s grandson Shawn Shelby accepted the honour for him. The SCCA website quotes him as saying, “He was never really that sentimental about cars – he was always looking for the newest thing. These cars that people now pay millions of dollars for, he would tear down in a second to build something better.” Sounds like a gearhead to me.

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