1966 Ford Shelby Mustang GT-350
On loan from: Rich Lacy, Osceola, NE
Notable: Very rare car with Carroll Shelby’s (and others) signature on glove box
Original cost: $4,547.00 base price ($2,000 more than a 1965 – 66 V-8 Mustang but only $200 more than a Corvette)
Number made: 2,378
Engine, etc.: This car has 447 hp with Shelby upgrades and Paxton supercharger (340 hp “real world total”).
Original engine: V-8, 289 hp; 4-speed manual; with bolt-on Paxton supercharger, 360 hp; 108” wheelbase; 2,800 lbs.; top speed 130 mph; 0-60: 5.7 seconds – the fastest American production stock car on the road.
Carroll Shelby was a Texas chicken farmer who drove for Enzo Ferrari in the 1950’s. One of his greatest accomplishments was winning the 24 Hours of LeMans in a 1958 Aston Martin. He then worked with Ford to put larger engines into small lightweight cars including Mustang.
His most popular project from a sales standpoint was the Shelby GT350, introduced in 1965 and the GT500 the next year. The cars were barely street legal, the suspension was stiff, and the engine potent. They were trendsetting high-performance “pony cars”.
The 1965 cars were available only in Wimbeldon white with a blue GT350 side stripe below the door. The Shelby Mustangs had a fiberglass hood with functional hood scoop. They featured competition seat belts, wood-rimmed three-spoke steering wheel, special instrument cluster, and black-only interior.
The Hi-Po engine boosted horsepower from 271 to 306. The only gearbox offered was a Borg-Warner special aluminum T-10 four speed manual. To improve weight distribution, the battery was located in the trunk. The suspension was given special attention with a large front stabilizer bar, lowered upper “A” frame, Koni shocks and traction bars.
Few changes were made for the 1966 models. The hoods were replaced with a steel version due to customer complaints about weakness and lack of quality. Air-intake scoops were added to force air to the rear brake pads and the C-pillar rear quarter panel was replaced with triangular windows. Four colors were offered. Rear seats were optional and could be folded down. This allowed the cars to continue sports car racing in Sports Car Club of America but be versatile off-track. An automatic was offered though it took away from the sports car appeal. The battery was returned to the engine compartment. Customer complaints about noise led to moving the exhaust system exit further behind the driver.
The optional Paxton centrifugal supercharger boosted horsepower beyond 400. Shelby built a fleet of GT-350H models for Hertz Rent-A-Car company which leased them at major airports but soon ceased after finding that many were raced on weekends. The 1965-66 GT-350’s remain some of the hairiest and most memorable American cars ever built.
See also: http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/NA/Ford_%20Mustang/1966_Ford_Mustang/dirindex.html (Original sales brochure and GT 350 specification sheet)