Richest BusinessDesigners
Net Worth:
$40 Million
Date of Birth:
Jan 11, 1923 - May 10, 2012 (89 years old)
Place of Birth:
Leesburg, Texas
Race car driver, Entrepreneur, Designer
United States of America
­čĺ░ Compare Carroll Shelby's Net Worth

What was Carroll Shelby's Net Worth?

Carroll Shelby was an American car designer, race car driver, and businessman who had a net worth of $40 million at the time of his death. Carroll Shelby is best known for creating Ford Motor Company's landmark AC Cobra and Mustang cars. He created those and other signature cars through his performance vehicle manufacturer Shelby American, which he founded in 1962. Earlier, during his career as a race car driver, Shelby won the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans with co-driver Roy Salvadori.

Born in Leesburg, Texas, in 1923, Carroll Hall Shelby fell ill as a child with heart valve problems, and spent seven years bedridden until he regained his health as a teenager. He loved driving and cars, and served in World War II with the U.S. Army, working with planes. After the war's end, Shelby began racing cars, earning Driver of the Year honors from "Sports Illustrated" twice in the mid '50s. Once his health forced him to give up racing, Shelby decided to teach others about the art of high-performance driving.

He opened the Shelby-American company and started working with Ford. He worked on the Shelby GT350, the Shelby GT500, the GT40, and the Daytona Coupe before moving on to work with Oldsmobile and Dodge. In 2003, he returned to Ford, working on the company's line of GTs. He won the 2008 Automotive Executive of the Year Award. He passed away on May 10, 2012, at the age of 89 in Dallas, Texas.

Early Life and Education

Carroll Shelby was born on January 11, 1923 in Leesburg, Texas to Warren and Eloise. Growing up, he was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition and had a number of health-related complications. When he was seven, Shelby moved with his family to Dallas. There, he rode his bicycle to watch nearby car races. At the age of 15, Shelby began driving and performing maintenance on his father's Ford car. He was educated at Woodrow Wilson High School and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Military Service

In late 1941, Shelby enlisted in the US Army Air Corps and promptly began pilot training at San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center. A little less than a year later, he graduated at Ellington Field with the rank of staff sergeant pilot. Shelby was subsequently commissioned as a second lieutenant. He also served as a flight instructor and test pilot. After V-J Day, Shelby was discharged.

Pre-Racing Career

Before he became a racing driver, Shelby launched his own dump truck business and worked briefly as a roughneck at oil wells. In the early 50s, he worked as a poultry farmer, but eventually went bankrupt.

Racing Career

Beginning as an amateur driver, Shelby had his first race in early 1952 at the Grand Prairie Naval Air Station drag meet. He raced in his friend's MG TC. Shelby followed that with a myriad of other races, and by the end of the year had won four of them. He was even more successful in 1953, winning eight of nine races. The following year, Shelby traveled to Europe to race a DBR3 for Aston Martin team manager John Wyer. He raced the car at Aintree, Le Mans, and Monza, and then drove in the three-car factory team effort at Silverstone. Shelby subsequently raced with Donald Healey's team. After suffering a major injury at the Carrera Panamericana, he returned in 1955 to win several races. It was that year he began driving Ferraris. In 1956, Shelby took the Ferrari to wins in 30 races, including the Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race. The next year, he began driving Maseratis, and got into a major crash at the Riverside International Raceway.

In 1958, Shelby joined John Wyer and Aston Martin for the Belgian Sports Car Grand Prix. He then partnered with Roy Salvadori for the N├╝rburgring 1000 km. After recovering from a bout of dysentery and missing Le Mans, Shelby returned to drive a Maserati 250F for Scuderia Centro Sud in three Grand Prix races, including the Portuguese Grand Prix. He had his best year in 1959, when he co-drove a DBR1 to victory with Roy Salvadori at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Also that year, Shelby participated in the Dutch Grand Prix, British Grand Prix, and Italian Grand Prix. In 1960, Shelby raced in the New Zealand Grand Prix and Cuban Gran Premio Libertad, and won both the Grand Prix at Riverside and the Castle Rock race. His final race was the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix. Shelby subsequently retired due to angina.

Carroll Shelby

Kevin Winter /Getty Images

Shelby American

In 1962, Shelby founded the high performance vehicle manufacturer Shelby American. Eager to explore the potential of the AC Ace chassis, he ended up constructing what he called the Carroll Shelby Experimental, or CSX0001. The vehicle was eventually marketed as the AC Cobra, and then the Ford Cobra. Shelby also created the Shelby Daytona Coupe, which claimed three GT class wins on the 1964 World Sportscar Championship GT circuit. Following that success, he became increasingly involved in Ford's GT40 Sports Prototype racing program, and made numerous improvements to Ford's output. He went on to create such cars as the Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT500. Shelby then left Ford and developed performance cars for Dodge and Oldsmobile.

Personal Life and Death

Shelby was married a total of seven times. He wed his first wife, Jeanne Fields, in late 1943; they had three children named Sharon, Michael, and Patrick before divorcing in 1960. He next married actress Jan Harrison in 1962, but the marriage was annulled shortly after. Shelby's third marriage was to a New Zealand woman whom he had wed so she could gain entry to the United States; they divorced within weeks. He subsequently wed Sandra Brandstetter, whom he divorced after a few years.

After 28 years of being a bachelor, Shelby married his fifth wife, Cynthia Psaros, in 1989. They divorced a few years later. Shelby then wed Swedish native Helena Dahl, who was killed in a car accident in 1997. Four months after that, Shelby married his seventh and final wife, Cleo Rendell-Roberts, a former model from the UK. They were in the process of divorce when Shelby passed away in 2012. He was 89 years of age.


Shelby's legacy lives on through his impact on the world of auto racing and high performance vehicles. His memoir, "The Carroll Shelby Story," was published in 1967. He later established the Carroll Shelby Children's Foundation to help cover the medical bills of children with heart conditions. Shelby is also memorialized in the 2019 sports film "Ford v Ferrari," which focuses on his friendship with fellow driver Ken Miles. Carol Shelby is portrayed by Matt Damon in the film.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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