Facebook Answer of the Week: Was Ford-Shelby the greatest automotive team?
From socks to condiments to musical duos, the right pairing can make all the difference. Salt has pepper. Simon had Garfunkel. And yin would definitely be nothing without yang.
Imagine if ice cream had never found hot fudge. Sure, many of us would be several pounds lighter, but the world would be a much sadder place, wouldn’t it? With that in mind, we asked our Facebook community, “What was the greatest automotive team up of all time?” Much like the GT class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1964, Ford and Carroll Shelby dominated.
Most of the Ford/Shelby nominators provided matter-of-fact answers with no explanation whatsoever. To his credit, Jim Hiner added one more word by calling the partnership “legendary.” David Tiedt did one better by adding, “The End.” For those who would like a little more historical background, Shelby had a long-standing relationship with Ford Motor Company that resulted in the Daytona Coupe, GT40, and the Mustang-based Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT500. After severing ties with Ford in the late ‘60s, Shelby played the field — which the Facebook crowd quickly pointed out. In fact, Shelby/Chrysler and Shelby/Dodge placed second only to Shelby/Ford.
Ryan Gannon suggested that Shelby’s breakup with Ford “allowed him to build what he really wanted in the ’80s, (which) worked out well for Chrysler.” The Shelby-Chrysler partnership resulted in Shelby-influenced Dodge vehicles like the Daytona, CSX (based on the Dodge Shadow), Dakota sport pickup and 1986 Shelby GLH-S, a modified version of the Omni GLH. (GLH stands for “Goes Like Hell” … GLH-S for “Goes Like Hell S’more.”)
Shelby eventually returned to Ford in 2003 and served as a technical advisor for the Ford GT.
In addition to Shelby, Ford was also applauded for its partnerships with Cosworth (Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth, and Ford Escort RS Cosworth) and Lotus (Cortina). Cosworth also partnered with Chevrolet to produce the 1975-76 Cosworth Vega, a nomination that had David Zussman second guessing himself. “OK, maybe I’m reaching.”
Chrysler and Mitsubishi were mentioned for their partnership through Diamond Star Motors, and Chrysler and Maserati also received some love for teaming up to build the 1989-91 Chrysler’s TC by Maserati. The Italian-built convertible obviously benefitted from the longtime friendship between Chrysler head Lee Iacocca and Maserati brand owner Alejandro de Tomaso. The two actually hooked up once before when Iacocca was an executive at Ford; the De Tomaso Pantera, introduced in 1971, carries a Ford powertrain and was sold stateside through Lincoln dealerships.
Cody Joe Brown nominated the pairing of Preston Tucker and Howard Hughes, referring to the vital role that Hughes played in finding suitable engines for the Tucker 48. “Without Hughes giving Tucker that tip about (aluminum air-cooled) helicopter engines, those cars would not be worth a million bucks each today.”
Chris Feltenberger believes Chevrolet’s partnership with Callaway in creating the Sledgehammer Corvette was the greatest automotive team up, pointing out that the car topped out at “254 mph.”
Charles Johnson nominated the Buick-McLaren deal that resulted in the powerful and imposing Grand National. And Mike Sessa saluted the Volkswagen-Porsche pairing that resulted in the 914.
Tom Johnson made light of the question by nominating AMC and Renault, who partnered to create the much-maligned Alliance and Fuego. “Well, they tried anyway.”