THE SHELBY STORY: Part I – 1965 GT350
The Shelby story – from the beginning in late ’64 to the tragic Ford-Shelby divorce in 1970…….. I will try with the help of many Mustang magazines to give enough information so that upon sight of one of these prized collector’s items, we will have a good understanding of each year and the differences in each model.
The marriage of Ford and Carroll Shelby began in early 1965 with Ford attempting to enter the market of GM’s famous Corvette. Unveiled by Mr. Shelby, January 27, 1965, the Mustang Fastback had some mild exterior changes. The fiberglass hood with functional hood scoop and clean looking grill first caught the eye. With all Mustang emblems removed, a tri-colored running horse was located on the driver’s side of the grill. All Shelby’s in ’65 would be one color, a “take it or leave it ” Wimbledon White with a bold blue GT350 side stripe located below the door Also available as a dealer option were LeMans stripes running over the top and down the center of the body. The interior was a black only option with roll bar and a special flat wood-rimmed 3-spoke steering wheel. A special instrument pad located in the center of the dash surrounded a large oil pressure gauge and a tach. It had competition seat belts.
|A special fiberglass shelf replaced the rear seats and was the new location of the spare tire. It had to be a 2-seater sports car for SCCA rules. Later, when the rules changed, Shelby had to use a coupe because the fastback was considered a two- passenger, thus the famous Terlingua racing coupes. A special aluminum intake raised the 289 from 271 to 306 horsepower. Exhaust from the Tri-Y headers exited the body in front of the rear wheels. All ’65 Shelby’s had Borg-Warner T-10 4-speeds, with 9” Detroit “No-Spin” differentials.|
The primary difference was the extensive suspension work including a larger front stabilizer bar, special Pitman & Idler arms, lowered upper “A” frames, Koni shocks and traction bars. The front section was stiffened con considerably with an export brace and a Monte Carlo bar. The battery was located in the trunk. The wheels were 15″ 5-spoke Crager on Goodyear Blue-Dots The ’65 was the most race worthy of all Shelby’s. The only difference between the 37 Shelby “R” models and the “street GT350” was the engine. SCCA rules allowed only one change between the “B” Production class race cars and the cars sold to the public-a change in the engine or the suspension. At a price of $4,000 in 1965, the GT350 was not a hot seller. A buyer had to be a real car enthusiast. Future years of Shelby’s would see a change to satisfy the consumer and Ford’s needs. From all out Sport car to Boulevard racer. In 1966……..-Biff-
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