There was a time, maybe as recently as a decade ago, when Shelby Mustangs were still fun drivers cars. Then something happened and they became six-figure pieces of art that were out of reach for many enthusiasts for whom owning a GT350 was the ultimate way to have fun on the road. If youve been priced out of the Shelby market, or maybe you simply want a great Mustang that you can drive and enjoy the way Shelbys were meant to be driven, have another look at this Sapphire Blue 1965 Mustang that has been upgraded to GT350 specifications.
Starting with a solid 1965 Mustang fastback, this one was stripped to bare metal in preparation for a ground-up restoration. New quarters were installed with a few small patches here and there, then it was prepped for that two-stage Sapphire Blue paint, which is a cool take on the original Shelby color scheme. Wimbeldon White stripes were added, following Shelbys template, as well as rocker panel graphics and GT350 callouts. Panel gaps are good, and this pony looks arrow-straight now that the paint has been wet sanded and buffed. Its hard to hide a crooked early Mustang body, and you can see how well this one fits together by checking the line that runs from the headlights back to the rear quarter panelsvery nicely done. A fiberglass hood was installed, just like the real Shelbys, as well as the brake scoops in back.
The bumpers have been re-plated, the stainless has been polished, and even Shelby-exclusive details like the plexiglass windows in the quarter panels have been properly installed. The grille has been upgraded to the Shelby style horizontal bars with a simple Mustang emblem instead of the horse in a corral emblem on standard Mustangs. Headlights, glass and lenses are all in good to excellent condition.
The original GT350 was about as close to a race-ready car as you could buy in 1965, and much of that attitude came from the 306 horsepower K-code 289 cubic inch V8 under the hood. This car carries an era-correct 289 that has been fully rebuilt with upgrades that even Carroll Shelby would approve. The block was bored .040 oversize, and the stock crank and rods were reconditioned and topped by a set of TRW aluminum pistons. Factory heads have been ported to squeeze a little more power out of the small block, while an Edelbrock intake and a Holley 650 double pumper carb supply the fuel. Correct Tri-Y headers dump into a dual exhaust system that features glasspack style mufflers, although the early Shelbys carried side exhaust, although were certain youll appreciate the rear exhaust trumpets after taking this one for an extended drive. For a little dress-up, Shelby cast aluminum valve covers and air cleaner were sourced and installed, giving the tidy engine bay a little Cobra venom. The Ford Blue on the block shines vividly against the satin black engine bay, and the detailing is exceptionalcorrect hoses and clamps, an Autolite battery, and even a finned aluminum oil pan round out the list of Shelby-appropriate components.
There was only one transmission available in your GT350, Fords rugged toploader wide-ratio 4-speed manual. Capable of surviving behind 500 horsepower 427s, this transmission proved itself in combat over and over. Out back, theres an equally durable 9-inch that uses 3.89 gears, just like the original Shelbysthese cars arent about top speed or even pleasant highway cruising, theyre all about maximizing performance on the track and that means making all four gears useful. The floors have been given a correct coat of red oxide primer, and theres just a hint of Sapphire Blue overspray, although its almost too nice and neat underneath to be accurate. Efforts were made to duplicate factory inspection markings on the suspension, and the brakes are manual discs and drums just like the first Shelbys. Theres even a set of traction bars on the rear suspension, a small detail that many Shelby tribute cars omit. Wheels are 15-inch American Racing Torque Thrust Ds that were a popular item when this car was new, although it now wears a set of fat 215/60/15 BFGoodrich T/A radials.
Shelby didnt do much to the Mustangs interior beyond stripping out the back seat to make way for a spare tire shelf and adding competition-style seat belts. True to form, this car sports a black bucket seat interior without a console, although the back seat was retained for practicalitys sake. A wood-rimmed steering wheel does an awfully good impression of an original Shelby piece, and a set of Pyrotect seat belts have been added for safety. The gauges appear to be original, and theres a correct AM radio still in the factory location. A Shelby tachometer has been added atop the dash to keep it in the drivers line of sight and Ol Shel himself has signed the passengers side of the dashboard. The rest of the interior is simply a beautifully restored Mustang environment, with fresh carpets, a new headliner, and correct door panels. In back, the trunk has a correct mat and full sized spare with matching cover.
Documentation is extensive, including a build book with photos, receipts, specifications, and even a certificate of authenticity from Carroll Shelby, presumably certifying that it is indeed his signature on the dashboard. This car also comes with a Mustang owners manual, a GT350 owners manual, a Shelby Accessories Installation Manual, a Wiring Diagram Manual, a 1966 Shelby Unique Parts Manual, and a 1965 Mustang shop manual. Together, these materials make it easy to ensure that your tribute Shelby is as correct as it can be.
Theres most definitely a reason why Shelby GT350s are so valuable todaytheyre wonderful, fast, fun cars that carry a lot of history with them. For many people, the essence of the automotive hobby is to have fun with the hardware, and doing it with a tribute car like this one is a great way to have all the fun without the financial headaches. No, this car isnt 100% accurate, and nobody is claiming it ishowever, it does have all the flavor of a real GT350 and costs a fraction as much. This is a fast, fun early Mustang that is instantly recognizable at any show youre likely to attend. Have fun with your car, thats what this one is all about. Call today!