Of All Carroll Shelby’s Hustles, His Pit Stop Deodorant Is Our Favorite
Not one of ole Shelb’s most successful enterprises, but surely his cheekiest.
There ain't nothin' more American than good old-fashioned hustle, and Carroll Shelby played that game better than almost anyone. After racing until his heart medication couldn't let him on the track, Shelby turned to tuning ACs, Fords, and even the odd Dodge, establishing a dynasty of modified cars (and separately, chili seasoning kits) that still thrives even after his passing. But not all of the racing ace's ventures were runaway successes. At least one of Shelby's products didn't pass the public's sniff test, and that product was, ironically, a deodorant named Pit Stop.
Launched in July 1967 with Shelby's mug on the can, Pit Stop was sold as "a real man's deodorant;" a slightly ironic appraisal given women's successful inroads into motorsport as of the late 1960s.
"After a 24-hour race, you probably need a Pit Stop," reads the label. "No feminine frills [whatever the hell those are], but a pleasing masculine fragrance with effective deodorant control. Recommended for everyday use by non-race drivers too."
Pit Stop was available by mail-in order for $2 a can, which comes to over $15 today. When Pit Stop went out of production isn't quite certain, but it likely vanished from the market in the early 1970s, when one of its active ingredients was hit by a wave of bad publicity. No, not the zinc phenol sulfonate—which turns an apparently masculine shade of pink on contact with the air—but hexachlorophene, which was found to cause neurological damage in 1972. In other words, even if you could get your hands on a can of Pit Stop, you probably wouldn't want to actually use the stuff.
If you like the idea of having a piece of mid-century Americana as a garage ornament, you're in luck, because a can of Pit Stop is headed for the auction block later this month at Mecum's Indy Road Art 2020. And if this odd piece of Shelby memorabilia is bid beyond your price range, well, there's always that chili to cheer you up.
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