Car of the Month – March

1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R

 

Specs

  • Engine – Modified K-code 289 CID V8
  • Horsepower – 325 to 360 hp
  • Transmission – Aluminum case Borg Warner T-10M 4-speed
  • Curb Weight – 2,750 lbs
  • 0-60 time – 5.5 seconds
  • Top speed – 184 mph
  • Number built – 34
  • MSRP price –$5,995.00

Description

The Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R was a turnkey flat-out racing machine, which came about after Lee Iacocca, then president of Ford Motor Company, twisted Carroll Shelby’s arm to develop the Mustang GT350 sports car into a world-class race car. Shelby thought Ford’s new ’65 Mustang looked like a “secretary’s car” but reluctantly agreed. Only 33 ’65 Mustang Fastbacks plus one prototype were converted, and they were successful right out of the box.

The first GT350R made its debut in SCCA competition at the Green Valley Raceway in Texas. With Ken Miles driving, it ran in three events that weekend and won a preliminary race and finished second in the two feature heats. After that great debut, the rest of the cars hit the SCCA racing circuit, with Jerry Titus winning the 1965 SCCA B Production Championship, the Championship run-offs at Daytona and many other racing events throughout the late 1960s.

Among the performance options for the GT350R are the absence of a back seat, an external oil cooler, extra-capacity radiator, blueprinted race engine, hood scoop for engine cooling, fire extinguisher, straight-through exhaust, cooling ducts for front and rear brakes, Plexiglas windows, 32-gallon gas tank, roll bar, shoulder harness, fireproof interior trim, and magnesium racing wheels. All the units developed by Shelby American were painted in the American racing colors: Wimbledon White with blue stripes.

This serial number (SFM5R531) is the most complete original version of this famous race car, having all its engine parts and body panels confirmed as it left the factory. It is the 27th version built and the grandfather, in effect, of the 2015 Shelby GT350R, which also appears in this collection and shares the same build number.