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1965 Shelby Mustang GT 350

After Ford released their new Mustang 'pony car' in 1964 the company’s vice-president, Lee Iacocca, contracted Shelby American to produce a version of the car that would be suitable for racing in order to enhance the new cars sporting reputation.

While this car is an original 1965 GT305, it was not one of the 34 GT350R models specifically built that year for racing and designed to follow the SCCA Pro Racing rules and specifications. Rather, this was one of the standard dealer cars, which has been subsequently 'restored' to race configuration.  Copyright © Historical Aviation Film Unit

Founded by former racing driver Carroll Shelby in 1962, the Shelby American company developed their first ‘Cobra’, a Ford V-8 powered car built by AC Cars in the UK to Shelby’s specifications, and raced the type for several years in the early 1960’s. In 1965 Shelby American won the World Manufacturers’ GT Championship, making them the only American manufacturer to win the prestigious series before or since then.

The 1965 GT350 was not built for comfort or ease of driving, but the 1966 model was much more comfortable for casual drivers, as it included rear seats (the 1965 model is two seat only), colours other than Wimbeldon White, and optionally, a 3-speed automatic transmission.   Copyright © Historical Aviation Film Unit

The original Shelby Mustang GT350 is essentially a high performance Ford Mustang built and tuned by Shelby American, and as a nod to Shelby’s racing pedigree the GT350 sported the same ‘Cobra’ (snake) emblem on the grille as had been used on Shelby’s own Cobra cars (at least until the 1969 model when it was removed).

The owner of this Mustang provides some extra background information about the car, then takes it for a spin around the Manfeild Motorsport Park in Feilding, New Zealand.

All GT350s that were produced in 1965 were finished in the standard Wimbledon White colour scheme with Guardsman Blue rocker stripes along the sides of the cars. However, of the 562 GTO350s built that year, only around 28% left the factory with the wide blue Le Mans 'racing' stripes on the top of the body—having said that, today you would be hard pressed to find an original 1965 GTO350 that does not feature the stripes!

A look inside the Mustang, with the original Shelby signature on the dash.   Copyright © Historical Aviation Film Unit

In 1967 the ultimate GT500 model was launched, featuring the Ford Cobra 7.0- litre engine, but by 1971 production of all Shelby Mustangs came to an end.

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