This section of pages will be about my 1968 GT350 Shelby Cobra.
This section of my Shelby web page gives me a place to document things about my car and share some pictures. I dedicate this page to my sister, Tena, Mustang fanatic that she is. Tena lives about a 1,000 miles from me so I can’t easily show her my car. So second best I am putting these pages together for her.
Where did I find it? What I have done to it over the years? And more importantly, what did I end up with today? I’ll include some pictures of the process.
I found my car in 1982. Yes, I have owned my Shelby for that many years. I was looking for a fastback Mustang to drive while my ’66 Mustang Coupe was going to be restored. I got my Coupe as a senior in High School. It was time to fix the body. I looked at a lot of Fastbacks. None of them caught my eye. Most were in pretty poor shape. I did find a ’66 GT 350 stored in a body shop but it didn’t have a drive train or engine. A friend told me about seeing a red Fastback in a trailer park for sale about 30 miles from me. Read the story in the links below of how that meeting went when I purchased it.
When i got this car, it had definitely seen it’s better days. It had almost 100,000 miles on it. Practically everything was worn out. Cars built in 1968 were not intended to last that many miles or years. Classic 60’s Mustangs were not designed to last forever. In fact, if you were car shopping in those days and ran across a car with that many miles, you walked past it. But this car was special and well worth saving. Although, even in 1982, this car was not considered to be as special as it would later become. It was just a unique Mustang, a very sad looking unique Mustang.
Step one was to make is safe to drive. It needed almost everything from brakes, tires, a new clutch, cooling, etc. It was hard to prioritize what to fix next. My pocket book also wasn’t that big. The very first thing we did was replace the rusted out floors. Biff told me day two when we were checking out my new acquisition to check the floors. He said to put my finger up from the bottom. I hit the carpet. The floors were pretty much gone. Biff had the torch so we cut out the bad floors and welded in patch panels.
The brakes were tolerable and it did run even though the clutch slipped a bit. The exhaust was rusted out in places so that was first. Then new tires making sure they were all the same size. The clutch was going to be replaced when I pulled the engine which we did about a year after I acquired the car. Turned out the engine was in very good shape. The prior owner had told me it had been freshened up recently.
Step two was to fix the rust and cosmetic issues then get it repainted. I bought new fenders and quarter panels from Noah Yoder Ford. The Yoder Body shop had the car for almost a year doing the body work and paint. Since then it’s been in a steady process of restoration. I have replaced or rebuilt almost everything on this car. I’ve owned it long enough to have been able to do it gradually. Although, it has been an on and off thing over the years
During the last 5+ years I have seriously upgraded the braking, the suspension and, now, the engine. There were some issues that needed attention. I could have taken the approach of keeping it NOS, like it came from Ford. I decided to make the car better than stock. I wanted a performance street car. Something fun and reliable to drive. Even though the ’68 Shelby GT 350 was a pretty cool car in itself, if I had to fix or replace parts I might as well upgrade and make it a better Mustang. The labor was going to be the same regardless of the parts replaced. So that is what I did. I think of it as the Shelby approach, make the car better.
Tonight on the Barrett Jackson auction there was a ’66 GTO on the block with a lot of added and upgraded things like disc brakes and A.C. They referred to it as “enhanced.” Yes, I have enhanced my Shelby Mustang.
For perspective, some years ago a neighbor introduced me to Street Rods. You know 30-40-50’s cars that were upgraded with newer technology. It didn’t really occur to me at that time, but the 60’s cars are the new Street Rods. Take an old car and upgrade it. Technology in cars continues and cars from the 60’s greatly benefit from newer brakes and suspension or a cam or engine swap. The term used today is to “restomod” the car. Restoration and modification.
If you just want to see some pictures of it, use this link to go to a gallery. CLICK HERE for links to the pictures
My Shelby Cobra GT350 today
My Shelby Cobra is a restored 1968 Mustang that runs and handles better than it did when it was brand new. Here is a summary and overview of my car:
- The body of the car was repaired with new Ford front fenders and quarter panels. Yes, in 1982 you could purchase fenders and quarters directly from Ford. It also got new floors to replace the rusted out ones. The car was repainted in 1983, the original Candy Apple Red color.
- The seats are recovered with NOS deluxe comfort weave interior. New headliner. New Chrome and screws all through it. New carpet.
- 1968 Ford 302/5.0L with 310 HP – Blue Printed and Balanced in 2019 – original block and crank
- Holley Brawler 4 barrel carb – with dual fuel feed and mechanical secondaries, new in 2019.
- Cobra aluminum hi-rise intake – dual plane intake that came stock with the car
- Edelbrock aluminum heads – new in 2019
- Comp Cam and lifters with roller tipped rocker arms – new in 2019
- Tri-Y headers & larger exhaust system – new in 2010
- 4 speed TopLoader rebuilt with ALL new gears and syncros plus a Hurst T-handle Shifter – The 4 speed was factory installed. The Hurst shifter added about 2008 when the transmission was rebuilt.
- 3.89 rear end – factory installed
- OpenTracker Racing blueprinted front and rear suspension, This lowered the car an inch on both ends.
- Wilwood 4 piston discs – installed in 2017
If you would like to hear an audio of my car running with the Comp Cam, click below.
If you want to delve a bit deeper into those items above, there is a menu below with links to the specific things I’ve done to this car. I put an intro over view on each page discussing what the item is with details & specs added below.
Or if you’d just like to see some more pictures of this vehicle,
The first two links on the menu below are two versions of how I found my car, bought it and managed to get it home back in 1982 . Biff Hitzeman was with me, and wrote his own version. He and I used to be editors for our Mustang club’s newsletter. We wrote these pieces for the newsletter we called Ponytalk.
The other links will give more specific info about what I did with specs on what the upgraded parts were. There are specific details such as Vendor and part numbers. This is a record for me as well.
My GT 350 Enhancement Menu
Here are links to pages about finding my car, the upgrades I’ve done and picture links to my Shelby Cobra Mustang:
- Finding my Shelby Mustang – My version of the story
- Rebuilding the Engine
- Edelbrock Aluminum Heads
- Comp Cam, Elgin Roller Tipped Rocker Arms and Comp Springs
- Article on Small Block Ford Build: Choosing Camshafts from DIY Ford
- Icon Forged Pistons
- Big Block radiator (3 Core)
- High Performance Summit Racing water pump
- Blue Printing and Balancing the engine
- The 1968 Ford 302 Mexican Block story
- Pertronix pointless ignition
- Tri-Y Exhaust Headers and Exhaust Pipes
- Ignition, Wires, Plugs and the Battery
- Holley 600 CFM Brawler 4 bbl Carburetor
- Upgrading the Suspension
- Brake Upgrade – Wilwood 4 piston disc brakes
- Stock Specs on 1968 Shelby includes current specs
- The 4 Speed Toploader Transmission & Hurst Shifter
- Clutch and Pressure Plate – McLeod 75213
- Tires and Rims – 15″ 10 spoke aluminum rims with Goodrich TA’s
- Pictures of my car through the years
- Read about the history and evolution of the Ford small block engine at CarTechBooks
- Ford engine specifications from the CrankShaftCoalition
- What makes a Shelby Mustang unique?
I lowered this car about an inch on both ends. I did it primarily for the looks. But lowering a car’s center of gravity improves the handling of the car. If you didn’t read what I wrote on another page, let’s just say once you start down a path on a car like this, you can’t go back very easily. Going forward means fixing or adjusting. In this case, the new front springs raised the front end of the car about an inch higher than the rear. This was a bit unexpected since the front springs were a good inch lower than the stock springs, and I put mid-eye leaf springs in the rear. The rear must have dropped more than an inch, probably closer to 2 inches. John at Open Track Racing told me that was how the stock suspension looked. I think he might have been correct. Regardless, I wanted the front and rear to be more level.
Samaritan Tire cut half coil off the front springs lowering the front 1 inch. So the car sets level now. It is real subtle but it gives this car a more aggressive stanch. I wouldn’t have expected those results, I’d recommend lowering your Mustang using shorter coil springs in the front and mid-eye leaf springs in the rear.
You really can’t tell much difference from the two pictures above. The early 1984 pic with the steel rims and hubcaps shows the car setting pretty comparable to the after recent picture. That early picture shows a lower than stock setting due to the tired front springs and rear leafs. When we put the new shorter performance springs on the front end, the car actually went UP two inches. So my car was setting about 3 inches lower than stock. That is why my front tires would rub the fenders if I cut the wheel sharply.