One of the biggest legends in the car industry and the creator of the Cobra, Carroll Shelby, passed away at the age of 89 at Baylor Hospital in Dallas yesterday. Shelby, born January 11, 1923 in Leesburgh, Texas was a war veteran, a successful racer, and an automotive pioneer. Before being named Sports Illustrated Driver of the Year in 1956 and 1957, Shelby even turned down Enzo Ferrari when asked to join Scuderia. 

His first build, the iconic Shelby Cobra, was created from a combination of small-block V8s, Lance Reventlow's race-car building enterprise, AC automobiles, and funding from Ford. The first CSX 2000 Cobra, based on the AC 260 Roadster chassis, was unveiled in April 1962 before beginning its domination on the race track. 

Shelby furthered his relationship with Ford when the two built the 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350 in 1964, starting the beginning of one of the most influential vehicle lines ever. They also collaborated on the Ford GT-40 in a direct move to take down the European super powers, beginning an impressive racing run in the Le Mans 24 Hour

Politics in Ford's management forced Shelby to exit at the end of the decade, and it wasn't until the early 80s that Chrysler came to him for help. Shelby Chargers, Lancers, Shadows, and a Dakota truck were produced, and he was a consultant for the first Dodge Viper. Eventually, though, he went back to Ford in 2004, where the Shelby Mustang was resurrected and has been made ever since. 

[via Shelby]