Phillip Pietri, courtesy of Mecum Auctions
  • 1966 Ford Mustang Notchback No. 16 built by Shelby American
  • One of 16 1966 SCCA A/Sedan Group 2 cars
  • Largely unrestored and never raced
  • Painted orange by original owner
  • Sat from 1977 to 2014
  • Copy of letter from Rick Kopec of Shelby American Automobile Club verifying authenticity
  • 289/350-hp Trans-Am spec engine
  • Aluminum high-rise intake
  • Holley 715 CFM carburetor
  • BorgWarner close-ratio T10 4-speed transmission
  • 18-quart Ford Galaxie radiator
  • 11.3-inch front disc brakes
  • 10 x 2.5-inch rear drum brakes
  • Koni shocks and one-inch sway bar
  • Lowered A-arms and four-point roll bar
  • Maintenance on critical systems only
  • New master cylinder and rear wheel cylinders
  • New front calipers and pads
  • Rebuilt proportioning valve and new rubber lines
  • Heads hot-tanked, blasted and Magnafluxed
  • Oil pan dropped and pump flushed
  • Original calipers and pads included

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1966 Ford Mustang SCCA A/Sedan Group 2 Racer
Years Produced:1966
Number Produced:20 (four Group 1, 16 Group 2)
Original List Price:$5,500
SCM Valuation:$100,000–$400,000 (depending on race history and condition)
Tune Up Cost:$400
Distributor Caps:$15
Chassis Number Location:Stamped on top of left front fender apron
Engine Number Location:Tag attached to engine under coil bolt, casting numbers on passenger’s side rear of block, above starter
Club Info:Mustang Club of America, SAAC
Alternatives:966 Shelby GT350, any Group 2 Trans-Am racer
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot T219, sold for $135,000, including buyer’s premium, at Mecum’s Indy 2015 sale in Indianapolis, IN, on May 14, 2015.

Raise your hand if you think race cars are cool. That’s what I’ve always thought. We all want to drive them. Every car guy at some point in his life fantasized about the satisfaction of victory from behind the wheel. It’s what men do.

In the early days, a race car started life as the same cars we drove on the streets, and the manufacturers liked it that way. Race on Sunday, sell on Monday. There was a simplicity to it.

In 1965, the only man cooler than race cars themselves was Carroll Shelby. Shelby’s race teams made a significant statement in 1965 with the GT350R, and Ford wanted in on the action. Coincidentally, in 1965, the SCCA decided to create a manufacturers championship series for the 1966 season. The professional series, The Trans-American Sedan Championship (Trans-Am for short), got Ford’s attention. They were after the Manufacturer’s Trophy, and who better to help them get it than Carroll Shelby?

Ford goes racing

Ford believed wholeheartedly in the GT350R competition cars that Shelby had built and wanted to duplicate the recipe. In order to be compliant with the new FIA Appendix “J” rules for sedans, the cars needed to be just that: sedans. The fastback GT350R didn’t qualify.

Ford fixed that problem by coming up with a short run of 20 notchback cars that were sold to Shelby American directly (according to window stickers) for modification to Group 1 and 2 specs. Four of the 20 cars were converted to Group 1 specs and the remaining 16 to Group 2 specs.

All 20 notchbacks were produced in Wimbeldon White with black interiors. In keeping with the el-strippo weight-saving tradition of race cars, all were deleted of hubcaps, stabilizer bars, front seat belts and outside mirrors. One was even heater-box delete. The fun stuff did include the 271-hp Hi-Po 289 with a 4-speed and a 3.89:1-ratio “no-spin” locking rear differential, disc brakes, GT fog lamps and heavy-duty suspension. While Ford was proud of their package for the street, they knew that for track dominance, the Shelby magic wand would have to be waved.

The Group 2 cars got a full complement of Shelby gauges and a wood-rimmed steering wheel. Group 2 specs required that all sedans retain seating for four, full door panels and a dashpad. In the trunk went a 32-gallon fuel tank with a flip cap and splash bucket. The suspension rework included lowered front control arms and traction bars that most other racers left out of the equation. These can be a valuable clue to authenticity on these cars.

Runs like a Shelby

The real magic was under the hood. A GT350R-spec engine replaced the Hi-Po unit, which only sounds like heresy. These mills were balanced, blueprinted, ported and polished all to GT350R specs. Induction was courtesy of a Cobra hi-rise aluminum intake topped with a Holley 715 CFM carburetor. A larger finned oil pan, an oil cooler and a high-capacity radiator rounded out the package to keep the internals from becoming externals.

On the track, these cars were only slightly off of the GT350R pace due to added weight. So we know the cars were potent, but the slight rub here is that these are still Ford cars as opposed to receiving new serial numbers from Shelby. This ensured that, if these cars won, Ford — and not Shelby — received the Manufacturer’s Trophy.

Adding to the rub was the fact that many privateers purchased their own notchbacks and acquired all the modification components directly from Shelby’s shelves. That leads us to our subject car.

Garage find

This car was the last produced and is claimed to really have no race history at all. It is known that the car was first purchased by one of Shelby’s employees, and by 1969, it was on a used-car lot. This may point directly to the demand at the time for these cars, when any Tom, Dick or Harry could build one himself. It was presumably driven on the street until about 1977 when, according to recent pictures, it was stuffed in a garage and covered with random automotive junk like a depressing episode of “Hoarders.”

Under examination, it looks like the car is in rather raggedy condition and just sort of complete. It is stated that the original owner was responsible for picking the dashing shade of “unsightly orange,” as it should be properly named, which is now disturbingly oxidized for being indoors all of those years. No doubt, this car was basically forgotten about for 38 years before the basics were addressed to make it run again. It appears that the steering wheel is incorrect, the oil cooler was better utilized elsewhere, the air cleaner grew legs and walked away, the fog lights found a new home, and the one-size-fits-all top radiator hose is fooling nobody.

So what’s good? Well, maybe that it was never raced. This could be the tightest body of the bunch depending on what happened to it on the street.

No mention is made of miles, which is usually a moot point when talking race cars, but is this a race car? If this car became a unibody wet noodle, all that is left is the story of its origin and not much else. Personally, I think this is a cool car, but all of the others have better history and some have been restored to high standards.

Value in lineage

In 2013, car #12 sold for an amazing $400,000. That car has the most documented race history of all 16 cars and has been very nicely restored to 1966 race spec. If you invested another $100,000 in a restoration of car #16, would you have another $400,000 hit? I would not think so because of its history, or lack thereof. Very nice clones of this car that have all the eyeball and twice the performance sell in this same price range when done to a high level.

So where do we peg the price? In comparison with a GT350R, with which it shares build lineage, it’s a steal. If you want to give a history lesson, you can tell everyone about what great cars all the others were on the track, just not yours. That takes a little zip off of ownership.

This feels like strong money for a story that is just okay. But in reality, it has that Shelby race lineage — not Shelby street-car lineage — and that will always bring a premium even though it does not carry a Shelby serial number. There is not a big market here, so I don’t think anyone walked away the supreme victor on this transaction. But as a mostly all-there Shelby-built racer from the era, it certainly satisfies that simple race car cool factor. I’ll call it market price.

(Introductory description courtesy of Mecum Auctions.

Comments are closed.