Well, we all knew it would happen some day. But more than a half century after retiring as a driver because of health reasons (a year after winning the 24 Hours of LeMans), a heart transplant in 1990 and a kidney transplant in 1996 a lot of us felt Carroll Shelby might just live forever.
The tributes have been pouring in since last Thursday, honoring Carroll Shelby the man, the legend, the cars he created, and telling the story how this bankrupt chicken farmer from Texas wound up "kicking Ferrari's ass" to win the 1965 FIA World GT Manufacturers Championship with his iconic Cobra Daytona Coupes. And how - never satisfied - Shelby went on to kick it again at LeMans in 1966 and 1967 and at Sebring, Daytona and other tracks around the world at the helm of the factory Ford GT racing program. Along the way, he became a larger than life figure and the cars he produced for the road and for the track became some of the most sought after machines in automotive history.
This morning, I took a photograph of the first racing poster I ever bought. After seeing an ad in SportsCar Graphic in the fall of 1965, I sent a week's earnings from my Chicago Daily News paper route to Shelby American in far away Venice, California. It was displayed proudly in my room for many years. It's a bit beat up (as I am) but it's a great reminder of the glory days of Carroll Shelby and his Cobras.
The legend will live forever!