Shelby Sports Cars

The Shelby Cobra 427 was on of the most powerful and formidable sports cars every made. See more pictures of Shelby cars.

The story of Shelby sports cars is very much the story of Carroll Shelby, the colorful Texan inextricably linked by name and temperament to some of the greatest high-performance machines of all time.

As you’ll learn in this article, Shelby was a successful race driver who turned automotive entrepreneur when a heart condition curtailed his time behind the wheel. In September 1961, Shelby learned that England’s AC cars was losing the engine supplier for its open two-seater and seized an opportunity.

Shelby talked AC into providing him cars, then convinced Ford to supply its new small-block V-8. The first result, the AC Shelby Cobra of 1962, was a sensation. It combined the spot-on proportions and clean lines of a classic British roadster with the stout heart and one-horsepower-per-cubic-inch punch of a 260-cube American V-8. This car soon gave way to the 289-cubic-inch power behemoth known as the AC Shelby Cobra 427.