Feature Flick: How Carroll Shelby Built the Mustang’s Performance Image

It’s not uncommon today for cars with performance reputations to have humble roots. But the tradition of making performance legends from commodity parts is nothing new. That’s exactly what performance legend Carroll Shelby did when he was approached by then Ford CEO Lee Iacocca about turning the Ford Mustang into a high-performance machine. At first, Shelby dismissed the Mustang as a “secretary’s car” and said “you can’t make a racehorse out of a mule.” But Iacocca persisted, and soon, Shelby was beefing up Mustangs that got enthusiasts’ hearts racing.

But that was before he was given free rein to transform the Mustang into what he considered a legitimate performance machine. Once all was said and done, Shelby’s creations, the GT 350 and later GT 500 models, had little in common with their base-model brethren other than the basic chassis. Shocks, brakes, suspension and naturally engines and transmissions were all unique to Shelby models. But the success of the Shelby Mustangs on the track and on the street soon solidified its reputation as a performance car.

This latest video is in a series leading up to the introduction of the 2015 Mustang, which will represent the 50th anniversary of the marque, and a highly-anticipated introduction of the sixth-generation car.

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