A legendary American hot-rodder and racer, he's won the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a driver and as a team manager with the Ford GT40. He's the father of the Cobra, a driving force behind the original and has built more than 165 other hot rods.
1. How are you feeling?
I'm 88 as of January 11, and I never thought I'd live this long. I've had this heart now 20 years (June 7th at 2:30 in the morning). It's been a very, very good heart.
2. How does the new 2011 Shelby GT350 compare to the one from 1964?
It's a completely different car. To start with, the new car is much better balanced. The original was a rough riding son of a gun. But the car won a national championship 4–5 times, it just turned out to be a sensational car. And I still to this day am kind of dismayed about it, because it was rough riding; I think it rode like the first car that took the place of a horse.
3. Which is your favorite Shelby?
The Cobra is the most replicated car that's ever been. But I always say that it's my next one. I woke up at 2 a.m. last night thinking what I wanted to do if I had any time left. I had a lot of fun building pocket rockets. Every publication in the country said, "What the hell is Shelby doing, building these little-old Chargers and stuff?" But I was having more fun with the pocket rockets, the GLH and things like that. I'm going to do some more of that now that I'm going to spend the rest of my life with .
4. Will the Shelby name possibly make it to a new Focus or Fiesta?
Yeah! That's what I'm working on right now. I think you're going to see the industry going completely to small engines with turbochargers. That's the only way you can get the mileage that the government is going to be demanding.
5. Before the introduction of the new 5.0-liter V-8 in the Mustang we speculated there could be a V-6 twin-turbo. What do you think of that?
Yeah, I think the V-6 will someday be the performance engine at Ford. It sounds better with a V-6. I shouldn't have said that.