To those of us who grew up watching car shows on Saturday morning instead of cartoons, Dennis Gage’s glorious moustache is a promise of insight and historical excellence. It’s hardly surprising then that this nearly 100 minute, unedited interview with Carroll Shelby should come from his show, My Classic Car.
The interview was recorded in 1997 when Shelby was 73 and was rereleased on YouTube ahead of the release of Ford v. Ferrari.
Admittedly, 1:38 minutes is a long time to try to hide a video from your coworkers, but it’s more than worth it because Shelby talks freely about his life.
The interview starts out as you’d expect, with Shelby reminiscing about the planes that sparked his passion for the mechanical. He goes on to talk about he went to Canada in WWII to try to join the Royal Canadian Air Force before the US entered the war and how he got his start driving cars.
There are perhaps more surprising comments, too. Shelby, for instance, never wanted to make a 427 Cobra because he thought it would ruin the balance of the car.
Similarly, he says he never wanted to make Mustangs, either, because he didn’t really believe that he could make them stiff enough to really compete.
Of the legendary Ferrari GTOs, he says they were easy to beat, waving his hand.
He also calls into question one of the most famous stories about the Daytona Coupe. Many of us know that the cam back design helped fight the vortices in its wake and made it much faster. All of which is fair enough, but the story that the aerodynamicist they spoke to being completely wrong in his desire to lengthen to the Daytona’s rear are all wrong.
Although the cam back worked for Shelby’s budget and design requirements, the long tails did eventually win out. In 1970, Porsche used that aerodynamicist’s design principles, which helped it get another 14 mph over a cam back on the Mulsanne straight.
The interview is a delightfully frank look back at the history of one of racing’s most legendary figures.