A Close look at Shelby Mustangs

THE ORIGINAL: 1965 SHELBY MUSTANG GT350

The GT350’s design stood out among the Mustang herd. Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue rocker panel stripes was the original Shelby Mustang color. Rare Guardsman Blue Le Mans-style stripes that a contemporary reviewer feared would attract cops and now attract vehicle enthusiasts.

The first GT350 had a 1-inch thick Monte Carlo bar, a functioning hood scoop, and changed steering. The 15-inch wheels with low-angle nylon cord Goodyear tires increased handling. The tires, like most of the automobile, were rated for 130 mph.

Cobra was also the name of Shelby’s race vehicles, and many of the inside badges mirrored Shelby’s original Cobra design.

The GT350 had two versions, the GT350R. Only 35 of these R-spec cars were made. Those 35 were built to SCCA rules and ready to race.

A Close look at Shelby Mustangs

American driver and engineer Ken Miles piloted the GT350 to victory on Valentines Day, 1965, fitting given Miles’ legendary love for the GT350. The GT350 would reign as B-Class champ for three years.

The 1965 GT350 had a 289-CID K-Code engine that made 306 horsepower, a full 35 hp more than it could have produced without the upgrades. The GT350R increased it to 360 hp, an outrageous number at the time, especially given the car’s light body.

The first 300 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350s had the battery in the trunk. This was disliked since fumes reached the driver. Shelby’s first approach was to fit the batteries with covers and hoses that drove the fumes out the trunk holes. The battery was eventually placed into the engine area.

At the time, the original Shelby sold for $4,475. Only 513 1965 Shelby Mustangs were sold, making it a good investment. They can now fetch ten times their initial price.

Ken Miles’ GT350, 5R002, sold for $3.5 million at the 2020 Mecum Spring Classic. It’s the priciest Mustang ever sold.

SHELBY GT350, GT350H

The 1965 Shelby was a pure racecar, but Shelby added some consumer-friendly features for the 1966 model. He added fold-down backseats for greater trunk room, new colors, and lengthened exhaust pipes to reduce cabin noise. His team also included an automatic transmission option.

The ’66 eliminated the term Mustang from its moniker and had other external changes. Look for rear quarter windows and brake scoops on a ’66 to tell it apart from a ’65. The ’66 had the same modified K-Code 289 engine as its predecessor, making it a street-legal racecar.

The GT350H was a 1966 Shelby variant. Hertz, the car rental firm, commissioned Shelby’s “Rent-a-Racers.”

Only the paint job was different: black with gold stripes. Ford and Hertz changed their minds after a handful of the manual Hertz cars turned up at SCCA events with roll bars welded onto them. The remaining 800 Hertz cars were all automatic transmissions.

After their rental lives, the GT350 Hs were returned to Ford and sold to customers. Carroll Shelby owned an automatic GT350H, which he recently sold.

GT500 – SHELBY

“This is the first car I’m really proud of,” Carroll Shelby stated of the ’67 GT500. The 427 CID 1967 GT500 engine. The 427’s engine outperformed the GT350’s, yet both cars were offered this year.

This year’s GT350 model got a few race-inspired upgrades. It was the first car with a real roll bar across the roof. The hood gets a bigger — but still effective — air scoop. The spoiler lip was formed by the trunk lid and the tailpiece. The lip was less useful than the air scoop, but it complemented the car’s near-racer look. For 1967, the rear quarter windows were replaced by rear-facing air scoops that let air out of the cabin.

60 Seconds Eleanor

Overall, the Shelby Mustang came into its own in 1967, both visually and mechanically. In the 2000 film Gone in Sixty Seconds, starring Nicholas Cage, “Eleanor” was a 1967 Shelby GT500.

SHELBY COBRA GT350, 500, AND 500KR:

Shelby’s Mustangs recaptured some of its heritage in 1968, regaining the name Cobra. They were renamed Shelby Cobra GT350 and GT500. The 1968s feature shorter hoods with air intakes closer to the front. They also have new grilles that give this year’s vehicles a “shark-like” appearance. The GT350 now has a 302 cubic inch engine, while the GT500 has a 427 Cobra Jet.

The new top-notch Shelby was the GT500 KR, which stands for King of the Road. The GT500KR’s unrivaled combination of power and handling earned it the title. With the KR, Shelby upgraded the V8 Cobra Jet by adding a ram air hood scoop and other performance adjustments, resulting in a GT500KR capable of 440 ft-lbs of torque at 3400 RPM.

SOLD 1968

21 KRs had a white convertible top, and 1968 was the first year the Shelby Mustang was offered as a convertible.

The 1969 Shelby Mustangs were referred to as Shelby GT350s and Shelby GT500s, exactly as the 1966 models. The Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT500 bodies were lengthened by four inches in 1969.

The Shelby-Ford cooperation ended in the summer of 1969 due to sluggish sales and creative differences. For the next two years, Shelby only built his private brand of Mustangs at the request of a Belgian Shelby dealer. The “Shelby Europas” were limited to Europe in 1971 and 1972.

2007-2009 GT500

The GT500 returned in 2007. Ford’s SVT team worked with Carroll Shelby to build a suitable return. The 2007-2009 GT500s were great machines. The Tremec 6060 transmission worked well with the modular 5.4L engine’s 500 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque.

The engine’s power came from being supercharged rather than naturally aspirated, but it also had various body package and suspension improvements. Each year, 10,000 GT500s were built.

2010-2014 GT500

2010 had a four-cam 32-valve V8. The engine gained 40 hp over last year’s. That’s 4.6 seconds for this GT500 Shelby Mustang.

The large engines made the 2007-2010 Shelbys a touch front-heavy, hurting handling. With an aluminum engine block instead of the previous year’s hefty cast-iron engine block, the Shelby team was able to increase horsepower while decreasing weight by a whole 100 pounds.

Other changes looked tailored to the driver’s experience. Ford and Shelby upgraded the GT500 with EPAS and dropped the stance. The outcome was an automobile with more power and better steering. Then came the 2013-2014 Shelby Mustangs, which added even more horsepower.

These cars have a 5.8L 32-valve V8 supercharged engine. This engine could produce 662 hp and 631 lb-ft of torque. The GT500 lived up to its reputation, capable of 200 mph peak speeds and a 3.5-second 0-60 time. Though not inexpensive, its performance capabilities made its sub-$60,000 price tag unheard of.

GT350 2011-12

In 2011, Shelby presented a new Shelby GT350 to mark the “mule-turned- racecar’s” 45th birthday. It had a supercharged 5.0L V8. Reviewers noted that the GT350 outperformed the 2011 GT500.

First offered in white with blue stripes, the GT350 returned in 2012 with a selection of colors and, for the first time, a convertible GT350.

2006-2007 GT-H

In 2006, a Shelby GT was offered for rent by Hertz. This Shelby GT-H, like the 1966 model, had a striking black paint with gold stripes. The FR1 Power Pack from Ford Racing Performance Group offered the GT-H an extra 25 horsepower and 10 ft/lb of torque over the Mustang GT. It also included a Ford Racing handling kit to give it the original racetrack feel. Demand for the GT-H was so high that Ford produced 6,000 retail models in 2007.

Mustang 2007-2008

These Shelby GTs were built from stock Ford Mustangs shipped to Shelby American. Ford Racing and Suspension packages were installed together with performance exhaust and Hurst shifter.

GT500 Barrett-Jackson 2008-2010

Barrett-Jackson, a prominent auction house in Scottsdale, Arizona, has sold some of the world’s most valuable Mustangs. Barrett-Jackson has been so influential in Mustang history that Ford chose to manufacture a special edition Shelby in 2008.

Only sold in Arizona. In 2008, 100 were sold. It was basically a Shelby GT with the auction house’s characteristic red Le Mans hood stripes. In 2010, the auction house and Roush will produce 25 more of these cars.

2009 GT500KR

This Shelby started with a GT500, then added a supercharger, intercooler, cold air intake, and a specific calibration. A total of 1,571 40th anniversary editions were produced in 2009, equaling the 1968 production run.

Super Snake

Shelby American sent your GT500 to Shelby’s Las Vegas shop for a performance boost. These Mustangs could run from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, inspired by the rare Super Snake. Since Don Prudhomme is known as “the Snake,” this was inevitable. To memorialize him, the 2007-2010 GT500s received 100 drag racing packages. It had a supercharger, air intake, safety hardening, side exhaust, racing suspension, and drag tires.

Super Snake 2011-2014

Like previous Super Snake packages, this one included sending your new GT500 to Shelby for a slew of performance enhancements. A supercharger kit helped the engine reach 660 horsepower. The driveshaft and throttle body might be upgraded to 750 HP. This kit also included a short-throw shifter and a ton of Shelby badging. Black or white with a triple-gold stripe, the first fifty GT500 Super Snakes were sold in 2013.

GTS

Ford tried to offer a line between the base and GT in 1995, something for young people who didn’t care about luxury but wanted a car that performed well. Shelby resurrected the idea with the Shelby GTS. Between 2011 and 2014, V8 and V6 Mustang GTS upgrades were offered. A Borla exhaust, a Ford Racing Handling package, and a lot of Shelby lettering, improved upper grille, and elegant front fascia came with the GTS conversions. The general view was that you could buy most of the enhancements cheaper elsewhere, but not the entire “Shelby” experience for such a low price. The GTS package was only $9,950. Invest in a Shelby improvement.

50th

Shelby seems to have inherited Ford’s drive to commemorate every anniversary, so it’s hard to blame them for doing so. a total of 50 black and gold Super Snakes. Shelby also manufactured an anniversary Shelby GTS. There were 50 black and white units made.

2016-present: GT350R

The GT350’s return was perhaps expected. For one of the most iconic automobiles ever made. A GT350R? For sale? It’s both absurd and brilliant. Since their re-release, the GT350 and GT350R have racked up prize after award. Despite their differences, both cars have established themselves as enthusiast cars.

A flat-plane crankshaft instead of the more conventional cross-plane gives this version of GT350 a sound that is out of this world. In 2019, the GT350 got a new suspension, summer tires, and a gurney flap.

3 GT500s in the desert:

With 760 horsepower, the 2020 GT500 may be the most powerful production Mustang ever manufactured. The Predator cross-plane crankshaft form of the Voodoo engine will power the GT500.

Ford now limits it to 185 mph, but given the reputation of Mustang tuners, we expect it to go far faster.