The Shelby Mustang is a high performance race-proved version of the Ford Mustang built by Shelby American from 1965 through 1970.
Ford’s ‘new breed’ Mustang first appeared in 1964 and was immediately popular for its style and capabilities. The Mustang was also perceived to have plenty of potential to develop and improve. The body styles included coupe, convertible and fastback. In its first year of production over half a million Mustangs were produced. In ’64 the standard Mustang cost around USD$2,400, and more than 22,000 of them were sold on the first day the model was on sale! Over the first four months 100,000 Mustangs were sold, over 418,000 in the first year, and the runaway success was underscored when the 1,000,000th “pony” car was sold in 1966.
In 1964 Ford attempted to enter the Mustang into SCCA racing to gain more popularity for the car and to prove its sporting potential. The car failed to qualify initially since it had seating for four while the SCCA racing rules for sports cars required seating for two.
To overcome this hurdle Ford turned to the legendary Carroll Shelby. It was Shelby who had helped them secure a LeMans victory with their GT 40s, and his renowned Ford powered Shelby Cobras had dominated the SCCA circuit for many years.
In order to qualify for the SCCA, Shelby American produced 100 two-seater examples ahead of the New Years day 1965 deadline.
Under the precision moulded custom fiberglass hood of the 1968 GT 350 fastback the 302 cu/inch engine was standard equipped with an “high velocity, high volume” Cobra aluminum intake manifold and advanced design Holley cathedral float 4-barrel carburettor capable of producing 250 horsepower. 1968 also marked the year that Ford took over production of the Shelby Mustangs with operations moving from Los Angeles to Livonia, Michigan.
The aesthetic changes for the 1968 Shelby were minor. The vehicle received side trim while the front and grille were restyled for a much simpler more aggressive appearance. Le Mans type air extractors were fitted to the rear quarters of the roof, brake air scoops set in lower rear quarters, while the fibreglass boot deck sported an integral rear spoiler. The headlights reverted to the single unit with fog lamps mounted in the grille opening. The bonnet was again fibreglass with repositioned scoops and extraction louvres.