1965 Shelby Mustang GT 350 R Competition
|Model History||Auction sales research||Specifications||Body styles and Chassis Data|
The first obstacles to tackle were to convert the car into a two-seater and improve its engine and suspension. A minimum of 100 cars had to be constructed to satisfy homologation requirements. The 100 car rule was proving a little difficult to satisfy, so the decision was made to create both a racing and a street version. A common suspension was used for both versions. The racing version was given a competition engine. Ken Miles worked on developing the vehicles suspension while Bob Bondurant worked on the vehicles handling. Peter Brock, of Shelby American, was given two fastback cars to develop an identity for the new car that would be identifiable to the public.
Since the 100 car rule had to be satisfied in a short amount of time, the project was put under significant pressure to be completed. The cars had to be completed by January of 1965 in order to compete that season. The cars were given 289 cubic-inch Ford V8 engines and matted to a four-speed Borg-Warner aluminum gearbox. The rear end's were 9-inches and had a 3.89 gear ratio. The Ford and Shelby duo had meet the homologation requirements and were given permission to race in SCCA competition for the 1965 season.
The last fifteen cars, with chassis numbers 94 through 108, of the first batch were created into the racing versions. The standard versions produced 271 horsepower. The fifteen racing vehicles had no side or rear window glass, heater, defroster, interior upholstery, interior headliner, insulation or sound deadening material, or exhaust. All non-essential items had been removed to reduce the vehicles weight.
The second batch of racers had chassis numbers 209 through 213. The final four racers had chassis numbers 527 through 540. This totaled 34 and 26 are believed to have survived in modern times.
The 350 R produced between 325-360 horsepower with a single four-barrel Holley carburetor. Additional improvements to the engine included Aluminum hi-rise intake manifolds borrowed from the Cobra. The wheels were American Racing five-spoke magnesium measuring 15x7. Additional welding to the body increased the body's strength. The front and rear bumpers were removed and a fiberglass apron was added. A hood scoop was added to increase the engines breathing and cooling capacity. Some of the cars had Mustang bucket seats while others, mostly the earliest of cars, were given fiberglass racing seats.
There is sometimes confusion on how the vehicle got its name, the '350'. Shelby had asked Phil Remington what the distance was between the race shop and the production shop. Remington had replied, '350 feet'. The name of the car was given GT 350 and the racing versions had an 'R' attached to the end of its name. Other stories have the birth of the name coming from the engine output or the square root of the total floor area in both factories.
The first Ford Shelby Mustang GT 350 R was sent to the Green Valley Raceway in Texas for Ken Miles to compete in the B-Production race held on Valentines Day. In its inaugural debut, it crossed the finish line ahead of the competition. The car was later made into the Shelby team's test car and used by Jerry Titus to test components in racing conditions. In 1965, Titus won the B-Production Championship.
Some of the earliest privateers to order the GT 350 R were Scuderia Filipinetti, Bob Johnson, and Comstock racing. Mark Donohue drove chassis number 105 and had tremendous success with the vehicle. Many of the cars did rather well in each event that they were entered, often beating their rivals, the Chevrolet Corvette.
The last batch of five cars were hard to sell. The price tag of $5,995 was not cheap but it was a very fair price for such a potent racer. These cars were eventually sold to a group of Peru individuals who ran the cars in competition mostly against each other.
In 1965, the GT 350 R won five of SCCA's six divisions. Jerry Titus won the Championship run-offs at Daytona and became the B-Production Champion. He was followed by many other Mustang GT350Rs. Bob Johnson finished second; Tom Yeager in sixth and Mark Donohue finished in 10th. The following year, the GT 350R repeated its victory this time with Walt Hane driving the winning car and being crowned the B-Production Champion.
This 1965 Ford Shelby Mustang GT 350 R Model with chassis number 5R 108 was offered for sale at the 2006 Gooding & Company Auction held in Pebble Beach, Ca. It is powered by a 289 cubic-inch V8 and produces 350 horsepower. It has a four-speed manual gearbox with front disc and rear drum brakes. The vehicle sits atop a 108-inch wheelbase and suspended in place by a independent front and live-rear axle suspension.
This vehicle was delivered as a chassis to the factory on December 18th of 1964. It was made ready for competition in September. Its first owner was Bill Steele of Texas who immediately entered the car in racing competition. At the SCCA national meeting at Green Valley, the car was driven by Mexican Grand Prix and sports car driver, Pedro Rodriguez. Rodriguez beat the factory prototype, chassis number 5R 002, of Jerry Titus and went on to win the B-Production race.
The vehicles next owner was Freddy van Beuren, Jr. who had the car given a green-and-red stripe in Mexican livery. van Beuren won the SCCA Southwest Division title in 1966 and was 3rd at the Riverside run-offs. It was entered into the Daytona 24 Hours race where it completed 313 laps before retiring prematurely. It was raced at Sebring where it was driven by van Beuren and Paul Jett to a sixteenth place finish, and first in the 'Up to 5-Liter' category.
In 1967, van Beuren drove the car at the B-Production Championship at Daytona where he emerged victorious.
It was later sold to Sidney Finkel who raced the car through 1972 and later put it into storage for 10 years. It was later purchased and restored to its Mexican Livery and 1967 Championship winning-state. Since that time it has passed through several more owners and has been a faithful visitor and participant at many historic and vintage racing events.
At auction, this very historically significant GT 350 R was still finished in its Mexican Racing Livery and wearing number 18. The name 'Pedro Rodriguez' can be found on the roof of the vehicle just above the drivers-side door. Bidding was strong, with the final winning bid being $748,000.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
|Auction Sales Information|
|Auction||Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction|
|Auction||The Scottsdale Auction - Gooding & Company|
|Lot was not sold|
|The Scottsdale Auction - Gooding & Company||1963-1967|
|Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction||1956-1975|