How Carroll Shelby Turned a Secretary’s Car into the Famous Ford Mustang
Shortly after the 1964 Ford Mustang was introduced, Ford boss Lee Iacocca contacted successful racer and race car builder Carroll Shelby and told him that the Motor Company wanted to make the Mustang a race car. Carroll Shelby quickly replied that it couldn’t be a race car because it was “a secretary’s car” – and that he didn’t think that it could be turned into the premise of a race car.
Fortunately for Ford Motor Company, Carroll Shelby was up to the task so he took the new Ford Mustang and started by bumping up the performance into the range of 300-320 horsepower. Next, Shelby added performance spec brakes and suspension components followed by removing some unnecessary weight like the rear seat. Once they had this souped up Mustang, Shelby’s crew couldn’t come to agreement on what to name the high performance sports car. Shelby allegedly instructed his shop foreman to walk from the corner of the building in which they were working to a nearby airport and when the foreman counted out 347 steps – Shelby proclaimed that this high performance Mustang would wear the name GT350.