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Shelby Mustang GT350
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  Ford Shelby Mustang GT350
 

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Country of origin:United States
Produced from:1965 - 1966
Numbers built:1965: 562
1966: 1,373
Price new:$4,547
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
Download: All images
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Click here to download printer friendly versionWith the Cobra, Carroll Shelby had firmly established the competition credentials of the Ford small-block V8. In 1964, the American manufacturer tasked Shelby to do much the same with the newly introduced Mustang road car, using the same '289' V8. To that end three early production Fastback Mustang GTs were pulled from the production line and send to Shelby American in California. These would become the first two racing cars and the first road going production model created for homologation purposes.

Intended to be raced in the SCCA B Production class, there was relatively little room to develop the Mustang. The SCCA executive director John Bishop told Shelby that he could either modify the production car's suspension and brakes or the engine but not both and still qualify for the B Production class. Shelby assessed the situation and determined more could be gained by the tackling the suspension and brakes as the engine was already quite powerful even in standard trim.

The first order of business was to strip the production Mustang to its bare minimum, removing much of the interior including the back seats. Further weight was shed by replacing the engine cover with a fibreglass example. The Shelby Mustang was also fitted with a new fibreglass bumper to aid engine and brake cooling, while the fenders were slightly flared to make room for the wider, 7-inch wheels. The competition cars were also fitted with lightweight plexiglass windows and additional fibreglass panels.

The Mustang's suspension was tweaked with the addition of Koni shock absorbers, while larger brakes and a beefier rear-end were also fitted. Shelby started with the 'High-Performance' or 'HiPo' version of the 4.7-litre V8, which produced 271 bhp in stock trim. It was fitted with a large, four-barrel Holley carburettor and produced 306 bhp in street legal trim. The 'R' competition cars used a blue-printed version of the familiar V8, which was good for between 340 - 360 bhp. It was mated to a sturdy Borg Warner T-10 four-speed gearbox.

Dubbed the Shelby Mustang GT350, the car was officially launched in January of 1965. For homologation purposes, 100 examples had to be produced. The cars started life as a regular Mustang, which were shipped partly assembled to a facility at Los Angeles International Airport where they were completed with the high performance Shelby components. The Shelby Mustang road car was available in white only with blue stripes and GT350 logo on the sills. The famous front-to-back striping was one of the few options.

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  Article Image gallery (134) Specifications User Comments (1)