Carroll Shelby - The Lost Interview | Ford v Ferrari | Le Mans | GT40 | Complete Life History


There was something that always fascinated me about something that went fast. I have been very lucky to spend my life around both of them [cars and planes] doing what I want to do. [2:00]

I tried business in 5 or 6 different facets. I never found anything that was fast enough for me. I ran a ready mix concrete plant. I ran a bunch of trucks. I tried a lot of things. I tried chicken farming. [8:51]

Never B.S. yourself with how things happened. [15:56]

I had the ambition to build my own car. What I did was spend a lot of time around the factories that I drove for. I spent one whole summer with Dino Ferrari. I was lucky to get to spend three months with him. He was a fine young man. In my opinion, if he would have lived Ferrari would have been a better company than it became under the old man [Enzo Ferrari]. [16:26]

I had to move to California to build my car. I couldn’t build it anywhere else because of the hotrodders [talent]. [22:22]

Why Lee Iacocca agreed to give Shelby $25k to build a prototype to beat the Corvette: At the time prototypes were costing Ford $200,000 or $300,000. How are you going to build two for $25,000? [28:29]

When you are dealing with the people in Detroit you were dealing with a bunch of slippery, slimy people. In Detroit, 20% of the people did 80% of the work. You were always getting shivs in your back. Detriot was full of a lot of bitter and jealous people when you came in with an exciting project and they weren't a part of it. [29:28]

In the beginning, all I wanted to do was build 100 cars. I never even thought past 100 cars because it was so much work. So many things had to happen to just to get to 100 that it was beyond my comprehension [at that time] to think about anything else. After that, we realized there was a much bigger market out there than just 100 cars. [35:34]

There were always political problems at Ford [and every other large company]. Unless you take money out of your own pocket and use it you are going to have political problems. [38:25]

Shelby American went from two employees to 1,000 in two years. [40:13]

Henry Ford II hires Shelby to beat Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966. They ask Henry Ford II what their budget is for this project. Ford says: “Just what it says on that sign. We win Le Man in 66.” That was the beginning of the darndest racing program that has ever been. [58:20]

We had a wonderful person [at Ford] named Homer Perry. He was apolitical. He moved everything out of the way. He was one of those rare individuals. We wouldn’t have won Le Man without Homer Perry. He was one of these people who could stay focused and didn’t let anything get in his way. So seldom do you see people like that. [1:06:23]

I’d had enough of it and I went to Africa. I lost all interest in 1968. I dropped out for 12 years. I might have been kind of childish. I didn’t have [protection from Ford] when I wanted to do something. I picked up my marbles and went to Africa. [1:10:16]

I always loved Africa and wanted to see it before it disappeared. I traveled around Africa for 12 years. I saw it. I’ve never been sorry for it. I didn’t miss anything in the automobile industry. [1:11:54]

You see what the cars were in the 1970s. You can see how far the American industry went. The Japanese were making inroads with their little economy cars. Detroit said it would never happen. You can see how many horrible decisions were made in Detroit by everybody in the 70s. I thought I was pretty lucky to be in Africa. [1:13:25]

If you build the right thing when it is unpopular that is the right time to build. [1:15:40]

I wake up every morning with 10 new ideas. [1:23:07]

A wonderful part of having a little company is you can make decisions like that [snaps fingers]. [1:35:11]

How would you like to be remembered? I’ve got enough sense to know that nobody is remembered very long. I am interested in living my life today. [1:36:47]

If you want to learn more about Carroll Shelby listen to Founders #99 Carroll Shelby and read Carroll Shelby: The Authorized Biography by Rinsey Mills.

Full video here: Carroll Shelby - The Lost Interview | Ford v Ferrari | Le Mans | GT40 | Complete Life History