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The Man Behind The Cobra: What You Didn't Know About Carroll Shelby

Every great thing has a beginning and the AC Cobra replica car kit is no different. Without the original muscle car, there would be nothing for a kit to replicate. You can thank a man named Carroll Shelby, who made his dream of creating a racing roadster a reality. Learn about Shelby and his beginnings to truly appreciate your very own AC Cobra replica kit.

The Early Years

Eloise and Warren Shelby had Carroll on Jan. 11, 1923 in Leesburg, Texas. When he was just seven years old, Shelby developed a heart condition that kept him in bed for much of his early childhood. Luckily, he started showing improvements by 14 and his doctors gave him a clean bill of health.

Although his father was a rural mail carrier and his mother was a homemaker, Shelby had plenty of automotive influences in his adolescence. His father often took him and his friends to dirt bike races and car races. When he was old enough to drive himself, Shelby started to travel to events like the IMCA sprint car events in Iowa to see more advanced racing. Shelby would even take apart and rebuild small go-carts to learn about the operation of internal combustion engines.

His Time In The Army

The Second World War broke out when Shelby was only 16 years old, and once he was eligible he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He remained in the armed forces until the war ended in 1945, although he never saw any action in the field. Instead, Shelby worked at military bases in Texas and Colorado as a flight instructor, teaching young men how to fly bomber planes.

While he didn't use his aviation skills to fight during this time, he did use them to win over his future wife. Shelby did it by taking an unguarded plane and flying it over the home of the girl he liked, Jeanne Fields, to drop a letter in her yard. He was never caught for the slight plane theft and the letter seemed to work, as he ended up marrying Jeanne in 1943.

Post-War And The AC Cobra

After unsuccessful stints at a dump truck business and chicken farming, Shelby drove in a racecar for the first time in 1952. This started a world-traveling racing career that lasted for eight years until his heart condition wouldn't allow him to continue.

However, this led him to start a new passion, developing the racecar of his dreams: the AC Cobra. Shelby originally designed the AC Cobras to be "Corvette-Beaters," despite the model's weight clocking in at nearly 500 pounds less than the Chevrolet Corvette. What the car lacked in weight it had in speed and design, resulting in the wild success of Shelby's racecar empire.

Shelby's long journey has now allowed you to have the AC Cobra replica kit that you've always wanted. Contact Backdraft Racing today to emulate Shelby and the racecar he worked so diligently for.

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