Whilst being a tremendous sales success for Ford in the 1960s, the Mustang lacked a proper performance image in the marketplace and did not fit within the Ford Division Total Performance program. Lee Iacocca, then Ford general manager, approached Shelby American and asked them to build high performance variants of the Ford Mustang from 1965 to 1968.
In January 1965, the Shelby Mustang GT350 was put on sale. This car benefited from stiffer springing, wider wheels and tyres, race instruments, bucket seats and some glass fibre body panels. The 289bhp engine was treated to a new carburetor and manifold, resulting in a measured 306bhp (the 350 in the name referred to a marketing claim of 350 bhp).
To prove that it worked, this new GT350 was entered into many racing series, dominating the 1965 SCCA Class B Production National Championship and also winning the new Trans-Am championship in 1966 and 1967. This gave Ford the performance credentials they desperately lacked, cemented Carroll Shelby’s performance tuning credentials and turned the Mustang into a runaway sales success.
In 1967 Ford altered the design of the Mustang, mainly so that Shelby could shoehorn a big block V8 into the engine bay. This new design resulted in the Shelby GT500 which used the 428 cu-in (7,003cc) engine producing 350bhp.
4,115 GT350’s and 2,050 GT500’s were manufactured by Shelby; 936 of the 350’s used the famous black and gold colour scheme and are known as GT-350H due to them being rented out through Hertz.
From 1968 through to 1970, production was taken back in house by the Ford Motor Corporation.
Shelby GT500 (1967) – Vital Statistics
|Power||265 kW (355 bhp) @ 5400rpm|
|Torque||570 Nm (420 lb/ft) @ 3200rpm|
|0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)||5.8 seconds|
|Maximum speed||209 km/h (130 mph)|
|Fuel consumption (average)||22.3 l/100km (12.7 mpg)|
|Fuel type, tank capacity||Petrol, 64 litres|
|Engine|| “Ford Cobra” FE 428|
Police Interceptor Series Engine,
Two 600 CFM Holley four-barrel
carburetors mounted on a mid-
rise aluminum intake manifold,
|Cylinders and valves||V8, 16v|
|Transmission||3 speed automatic,|
4 speed manual