1965 Shelby GT-350 Mustang Boosts Ford’s Reputation

1965 Shelby GT-350 Mustang

The 1965 Shelby GT-350 Mustang was in a vague way Ford Motor Company’s idea. But who did they turn to when it came time to build it? ¬†Who built the Shelby Cobra based on Ford powerplants? Who did Ford ask to take the GT-40 to Europe to beat Ferrari in Grand Prix racing? It was always the same answer. Carroll Shelby was their “go-to” guy back in those days. He was the one who knew the racing establishment and the hot rodding community in California. What more could you ask for?

Ford wanted Carroll Shelby to give their new Mustang a racing heritage, so he homologated his 1965 Shelby GT-350 for competition in the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) BP class. Road & Track magazine found it a little crazy that Shelby built 100 streetable Shelby GT-350s just so he and his buddies could go racing. Shelby might have been one of the first to homologate a Detroit production car just to win a manufacturers trophy. But both Shelby and Ford were dead serious. Of the 562 GT-350’s produced, only about 30 were R codes (specifically built for racing), but Shelby made the parts easily available for owners to tune these cars themselves.

Legendary Motorcar Company, a premier restoration facility with an international reputation, has just listed this 1965 Shelby GT-350 which they say is fully documented and is a numbers matching original. Valued as one of the top GT-350s in existence, it is being offered for sale by Legnendary‘s esteemed sales division. Click here to view dozens of photos.

Today we value this 1965 Shelby GT-350 as one of the most important cars in history. The GT-350 took it to the Chevrolet Corvettes, the XKE Jaguars, Sunbeam Tigers and others in the SCCA production class. The Shelby GT-350 was a standard Mustang Fastback with the same body (except for the fiberglass hood) and the same basic interior seats and trim. Everything else was designed and engineered by Shelby, including the front suspension, rear suspension, battery relocated to the trunk, took out the rear seat, added custom headers and wider wheels with performance tires. They also added a limited-slip differential, Warner T-10 gearbox, tach and oil gauge, wood trimmed steering wheel, disc brakes in front, heavier rear drums and Koni shocks at all four corners. When they got to the track most Shelby GT-350s were further enhanced with rollbar, bigger gas tank, bigger radiator and oil cooler.

The HiPo Ford 289 used a high-rise manifold with Holley 4-barrel carburetor rated at 306 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. The Warner T-10 had an aluminum case to save weight. All GT350s were white with blue Lemans racing stripes. List price for the GT-350 was only $4,311. They were sold only at Ford dealers who carried the Shelby Cobra.

The 1965 Shelby GT-350 accomplished what Ford and Shelby had hoped it would, taking the B production SCCA championship that year. They also won in 1966 and 1967. The reputation of the Shelby GT-350, much like the Shelby Cobra, was set in history. Today cars such as this 1965 Shelby GT-350 at Legendary Motors are much sought after by collectors. They are a true investment quality purchase.

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1965 Shelby GT-350 Mustang base 289 ci V8

vinyl interior on the 1965 Shelby GT-350 Mustang

 

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