Carroll Shelby, whose Ford powered cars have been a constant contender in International racing, plays a toy flute to charm a toy Cobra out of its basket on the hood of his latest offering to the automotive world, the Mustang GT 350, at the first showing of the car- January 27th, 1965 in Riverside, CA. The Shelby is a modified Ford Mustang Fastback, with a 289 Ford Cobra engine, front disc brakes, and improved suspension for road racing or high speed driving. -- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
Carroll Shelby was undoubtedly the greatest single force behind American auto racing over the last 60+ years. From his legendary racing career, to reinventing the image of American road-racers in European competitive racing and beyond. In 1962, and with no official engineering background, Carroll Shelby created the legendary, stallion-slaying Cobra, which soon ended Ferrari’s all-out domination of the World’s Manufacturing Championship. For him, the recipe was simple and oft repeated– put a massive engine in a lightweight, nimble car.
In 1965, the Shelby Mustang GT350 made its production debut setting off a legendary battle for power and prestige between rival Detroit automakers– which would from that day on be known as the “Pony War”.
The legendary Shelby Mustang GT350
The Porsche 911 (Targa shown here) is one of the most iconic and recognizable sports car designs for pure form and function-- hands down. Though the world has in large part past it by in terms of innovation, it is and will always be a classic. The term "Targa" came from the Targa Florio road race in Sicily, where Porsche scored many victories in the 1950s and 1960s. Basically a convertible with a stainless steel-clad roll bar and removable roof panel, the Targa was definitely an automotive icon of the time. --Image by © Car Culture/Corbis
By the late 1950s, it was painfully obvious to Porsche that it’s workhorse 356 sports car (released in 1948) was getting it’s doors blown off by the competition in terms of performance and price. An innovative and inspired redesign was badly needed, and in Fall of 1963 after years of development and refining, the 911 was launched. For brand purists, it remains the only true Porsche– the only model that truly harkens back to the heritage of the original 356. And what a heritage it is. The birth of the 911 was largely a family affair– a daring initiative mostly instigated by Ferry Porsche, son of founder Ferdinand, with his own son Butzi Porsche alongside as the body stylist. Porsche could hope, but surely never could have known with certainty that the new 911 would carry the Porsche torch well into the future, and ultimately become a design and engineering legend.
The longevity of Porsche’s 911 is no accident. Porsche-style has labored very thoughtfully over the years to constantly freshen and innovate the 911. They’ve done an incredible job keeping it up to date, all the while staying true to the design and spirit of the original 911– not an easy feat anyway you slice it, and a very commendable one at that. Those of us in the design industry can certainly acknowledge the mastery involved in keeping a classic icon relevant while remaining faithful to it’s essence. The art of timelessness evolving with the times.
The 911 was Porsche's design successor to their 356-- a classic beauty in it's own right.