The marriage between Carroll Shelby and the Ford Motor Company began in early 1965 when Ford wanted to take a shot at the performance market dominated by GM's Corvette. Unveiled by Shelby on January 27, 1965, the modified Mustang fastback had a few subtle exterior changes: a fiberglass hood with functional scoop, a clean-looking grille and a tri-colored running horse on the driver's side of the grille. All Shelbys in 1965 were Wimbledon White, with a blue GT 350 side stripe below the door. Le Mans stripes running down the center of the body were available as a dealer option. The interior was available in black only and featured a roll bar and a flat-rimmed, three-spoke wooden steering wheel. A special instrument panel in the center of the dash held a large oil-pressure gauge and tachometer. The GT 350 also featured competition seat belts. A special aluminum intake manifold increased the solid-lifter, Hi-Po 289's horsepower from 271 to 306. Exhaust from the Tri-Y headers exited in front of the rear wheels. All '65 Shelbys had Borg-Warner T-10 four-speeds with 9" Detroit "No-Spin" differentials. Extensive suspension work was a GT 350 hallmark, with a large front stabilizer bar, special steering box, lowered front lower A-frames, Koni shocks and traction bars. The front section was stiffened considerably with an export brace and a Monte Carlo bar. The battery was relocated to the trunk for improved weight distribution on the first 300 cars. The GT 350 pictured has all matching numbers, with history documented in the Shelby American World Registry. It has undergone an extremely thorough nut-and-bolt restoration by one of the top Shelby restoration shops in the country. It recently finished second in the Shelby Nationals and sports an R-type racing front air dam. (Original chrome bumpers are included in the sale.) More desirable than the considerably more common 1966 models, this pristine '65 Shelby GT 350 represents the best of American muscle car engineering at the time.

SCM Analysis


The car described here sold for a high bid of $68,200, including commission, at the RM Classic Car Auction held in Amelia Island, Florida, March 11, 2000.

Under the banner of “Total Performance,” Ford was hell-bent to become the performance car manufacturer in 1965. General Motors had (again) withdrawn their official support of motor racing, netting the 427 Galaxie forty-eight wins in NASCAR competition that year. Even the mom-and-pop Fairlane was available with a Hi-Po 289, but it was the Mustang that shook up the competition in the showrooms and the race track with over 500,000 cars sold that year. Only 35% of the Mustangs built had a six-cylinder engine. Clearly, performance was the name of the game and Ford upped the ante with the group of fastbacks shipped to Shelby for “treatment.” Priced at almost $2,000 more than a box-stock Mustang 2+2, the GT 350 wasn’t a cheap pony, but even at $500 more than a ’65 Corvette (with fuel injection), Ford easily sold all the cars built, with a view of bigger production numbers in 1966.

It is interesting that Ford did not seek out homologation or SCCA approval for the coupe or fastback in ’65. A clever move, allowing Shelby to submit the cars in GT 350 guise as production sports cars and not sedans. This allowed the Shelbys to have a go at the “B Production” Corvettes, something they couldn’t have done as sedans. Result? Three B Production championships on the track and buyers who were willing to spend more than the price of a ’65 Corvette fuelie just to have a replica of Shelby’s white racer.

Today, this is still true with top-notch, restored cars valued at $65,000, tidy, well- preserved cars at $55,000 and tired street cars at $40-45,000. This car, described by the SCM auction reporter as condition 1, would be hard to duplicate with the scarcity of GT 350s currently on the market. Its second place at the Shelby Nationals shows that this car passed the scrutiny of the SAAC judges as genuine and proper. This GT 350 was a fair deal, and a good investment, at the purchase price of $68,200.

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