Five Things You never new about Carroll Shelby

1. Carroll Shelby, one of the manliest men to ever live, was a hopeless romantic

Fact-based legend has it that he spent WWII as a flight instructor just outside of San Antonio, and on longer missions he would drop love letters stuffed in leather boots out of his plane when flying over his fiance's farm.

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2. Before he was 30, Carroll was one of the best drivers in the world

His first-ever road race was in 1952, when he took a woefully under powered British MG to a race in Oklahoma, beating everyone in his engine class before destroying the vastly superior Jaguar XK120 class above him. Needless to say, it was on wards and upwards from there.

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3. Shelby single-handedly made overalls cool

He later claimed that they were more comfortable during a long race, but they were actually just the work wear he wore on his chicken ranch. One day he went straight to the track from the ranch, causing an uproar from the crowd and crews. Ever the marketer, the overalls stuck.

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4. He was tougher than your old man

In 1955, he co-drove the 12 Hours of Sebring with a hand that was so badly broken they had to make a special fiberglass cast, then tape it to the steering wheel just so he could steer the car.

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5. And he was tougher than your grandpa, too in 1959, he was driving for Aston Martin when he came down with dysentery just before the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He still won. "I didn’t eat anything for 24 hours apart from dysentery tablets. Then we won the race and — oh my God — they suddenly stuck a champagne bottle in my mouth and it sent me a bit loopy".

Shelby taking the chequered Flag at Le Mans in 1959.

Shelby taking the chequered Flag at Le Mans in 1959.