Karissa Hosek ©2019, courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
  • One of 152 Hertz GT350s produced for 1969
  • Well-preserved example in Black Jade
  • Documented by a Deluxe Marti Auto Works Report
  • Formerly of the Sam Pack Collection
  • An excellent example of Shelby power

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1969 Shelby GT350
Years Produced:1969–70
Number Produced:935 (GT350 Sportsroofs, both years, plus 152 Hertz models)
Original List Price:$4,434
SCM Valuation:$75,500
Tune Up Cost:$250
Chassis Number Location:Tag under windshield
Engine Number Location:Front right-hand cylinder bank
Alternatives:1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6, 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440+6, 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 207, sold for $98,000, including buyer’s premium, at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction on August 16, 2019.

In the spring of 1964, Ford had a hit on its hands with the new Mustang. Executives knew competition was coming, so they had to establish the car’s performance credibility.

Shelby was the man for the job, and the initial GT350s that emerged from his California shop in 1965 were the toast of the SCCA.

But as they say, nothing good ever lasts. By 1968, Shelby produced 4,451 cars, but instead of emerging from Shelby’s hangar at the Los Angeles airport, those cars rolled out of the A.O. Smith shop in Ionia, MI. Many saw that geographical closeness to Dearborn as a metaphor for the shift from race car to production model. These cars were viewed as high-end Mustangs with wood-trimmed dashes and Thunderbird tilt wheels.

The last of the (original) Shelbys

The new ’69 Mustang was designed without significant input from the Shelby team. Ford stylists created a bold look utilizing fiberglass panels; functional scoops adorned the fenders and quarter panels, and the hood featured five NACA ducts and vents. The interior was based on the Mustang Deluxe Interior with several Shelby-specific items: toggle switches for the driving and dome lights, a wood T-handle on the automatic shifter and added gauges at the base of the console. Keeping in line with the car’s performance image, both convertibles and coupes had padded bolt-in roll bars.

Snake and horse from the same barn

Beneath the Shelby body were the regular-option heavy-duty suspension and brakes. Likewise, engines were essentially dressed-up Mustang powerplants; the GT350 featured the new 290-hp 351 Windsor topped off by aluminum intake manifold and Autolite 4-bbl with standard Ram Air induction. In short, GT350s were well-optioned Mach 1s.

The motoring press was less than impressed, seeing the car as a far cry from the race-winning original GT350. Brock Yates in Car and Driver wrote the numerous badges were there to “reassure the owner that he is driving the real thing and not a neatly decorated Mustang (which he is).”

The cost for Shelby cachet was steep. The GT350 list price of $4,434 was about 40% more than a Mach 1’s $3,139 sticker.

Despite (or perhaps because of) the focus on style over performance, Hertz came back for more cars, ordering 152 well-equipped fastbacks for its “Hertz Sports Car Club” program.

Sales were disappointing, with 3,153 for all models — far below the ’68 record tally. Sales were so bad that 789 unsold ’69s were given new VINs and sold as 1970 cars. Shortly thereafter, Shelby pulled the plug on his creation.

This GT350

This car looks to be in very nice condition, and being a former Hertz car, it’s well equipped with a/c and automatic as well as a radio, tilt wheel, tinted glass and fold-down back seat. It looks great in its Black Jade — a sophisticated hue which changes from black-green to gray, or even silver, depending on the light. If Ford wanted to move the Shelby upmarket, this color certainly helped.

The catalog doesn’t detail any past restoration work, but prior inspections by ACC analysts note a possible respray. The fiberglass hood doesn’t have the bow seen in some examples, which is a plus. The interior looks original and presents well with only minor issues. The engine bay is spotless, with only a modern battery indicating it’s not just off the showroom floor.

Well sold, comparatively

This $98k sale marks it as well sold compared with the ACC Pocket Price Guide median of $75,500. Another price guide suggests $98k as the price for a perfect Condition 1 car, so RM Sotheby’s got all the money here.

This car has made two prior auction appearances according to the ACC Premium Auction Database: In 2008, it sold in the same condition for $77k at RM’s sale of the Davis Collection (ACC# 116372); at that time our analyst called the price “spot-on” for condition. Two years earlier, before the market crash, it sold for $101,200 at Worldwide’s Hilton Head sale (ACC# 43685). It’s also worth noting that five years ago, the price guide pegged it at $60k–$80k, which is in line with other recent sales, so overall the market for late GT350 coupes looks fairly flat.

It’s interesting to see how the GT350 compares to its closest kin: the ’69 Mach 1. The price guide gives it a median value of $38,500, so the Shelby has certainly outpaced the Mach in appreciation. Of course, rarity has to be taken into account (there were more than 72,000 Mach 1s built), but considering you can get much the same driving experience for much less money in a Mach 1, we can really see the premium applied for Shelby’s name and sharp looks here. Call this one well sold. 

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)

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