1965/66 Shelby Mustang GT350
The Ford Mustang was the car that jumpstarted the pony car revolution and rejuvenated the term ‘High Performance’ in American automobiles. But FoMoCo wanted more!!! Dearborn had a vision of it’s pony car winning races and even more sales success. So Ford hired Carroll Shelby to repeat his Cobra magic with the Mustang and in 1965 the Shelby Mustang GT350 was born. From it’s debut, both in Street and Race configuration, they humbled all opposition on the road, racetrack and dragstrip.
Then it was model year 1966. Ford felt that the Shelby operation should try to pay its way, and in order to sell more cars, some of the raw performance macho was compromised.
Still, the 1966 Shelby wasn't that much different for the 1965 model. It was just toned down a bit. It was as fast as the 1965, and with the addition of the optional Paxton Supercharger, it even had better acceleration.
Visually, only minor changes differentiated it. Functional rear quarter panel scoops were added and the stock Mustang air extractor vents were replaced with windows. This actually enhanced the sleekness of the fastback body. In addition, the 1966 Shelby could be had in colors other than white, such as red, blue, green and black.
The loud side exhaust system was replaced by a conventional system that exited behind the axle and used two conventional mufflers. The Detroit Locker differential and Koni shocks became options and the springs were softened a bit.
The first 252 1966 models were actually leftover 1965 models. These still had the lowered front suspension while most other 1966 models did not. Some later 1966s used a different type of traction bars which fit underneath the rear springs.
In the interior, because the standard Mustang five dial gauge panel was used, the center dash pod was eliminated. In its place stood a 9000 rpm Cobra tachometer. The Mustang rear seat replaced the fiberglass shelf, and with the exception of just 82 cars, all 1966 GT350s had the fold-down rear seat. The standard steering wheel was the Mustang optional Deluxe wheel with a GT350 logo.
Also enhancing and broadening the GT350's appeal was the optional high performance Ford C-4 three-speed automatic transmission. Automatic equipped GT350s got a Ford 600 cfm carburettor instead of the Holley 715 cfm unit.
Wheel selection was greater for 1966. The leftover cars came with either the silver painted steel wheels or the Crager mags, which could also be had on later cars. The standard wheel on later cars was a silver painted 14" Magnum 500. . The 14" Shelby aluminum 10 spoke wheels became optional on later cars. Some cars also came with plain 14" inch silver painted wheels.
1001 GT350s were sold to Hertz Rent-A-Car for use as rental cars and were designated GT350H. Most were painted black and most had gold stripes. Chrome Magnum 500 wheels were standard on these cars. Although Hertz again used Shelby Mustangs as rental cars in 1968-69, these did not received any special Hertz designation or identification.
In 1966, the Paxton Supercharger was also made available as an option. This belt driver centrifugal supercharger boosted horsepower to approximately 400hp.
As a group, the 1965-66 Shelby Mustangs are considered to be the purest in concept. Uncompromising, they delivered pure performance, with comfort and economy being secondary !!!!! . Early model Shelby GT350’s are one of the most sort after collector cars you can find.
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