Carroll Shelby has been one of the most famous Texans entrepreneurs and one of the most legendary characters associated to American cars. Winner of the 1959 Le Mans with Aston Martin, he started out on his own and became famous for his AC Cobra, powered by big block Ford engines. His expertise in the field of racing and his good relationship with the Blue Oval put him into a very privileged position, becaming the manager of the famous GT40 program, where he was able to conquer victory at Le Mans. Perhaps, Shelby's name is most famous for his own versions of the Mustangs, who over the years have earned the reputation for being true 1/4 strip smokers. After the Mustan introduction in 1964, Lee Iacocca wanted to give those motor racing enthusiasts a Ford they can use to beat the ever-present corvettes and subsequentely asked Shelby to provide his expertise to turn Ford's notorious Pony into a winning racing machine.
With a plan to build initially 100 cars only to compete in the SCCA racing, the Shelby Mustangs rapidly evolved into street-legal hot rods. When the first GT350 was presented to the press, it was again another success. In the words of Car Life Magazine's Jim Wright the new Shelby was "all the most of wanted the original Mustang to be in the first place". The evolution of screaming big V8's quickly brought the GT500, the GT500 "Super Snake" in 1967 and the GT500 KR and Cobra jet in 1968, in both cupè and cabriolet form. Although successful on the race track, the Shelby Mustang was conquering the roads of America as fast as it was its acceleration.