Image credits: © Shelby.

1965 Shelby Mustang GT350

Carroll Shelby was a formidable driver prior to building cars, and he had a talent for extracting the most performance from a car. With the expertise and experience gained on the track, Shelby cemented his legacy with the Ford Motor Company.

When the Ford Mustang was introduced in mid-year 1964, it was a sports car built for the masses, resting on the existing Falcon platform, and borrowing many of the mechanical components from existing vehicles. As the popularity of the muscle car scene continued to rise, Ford needed a package that could transform the Mustang into a proper sports car, capable of competing at the track against the Chevrolet Corvette and other rivals.

Ford was initially rebuffed by the Sports Car Club of America as the Mustang was viewed as a 2+2 design and thus not a true sports car. Ford executive Lee Iacocca asked then asked Shelby to help resolved this issue, in Shelby's worlds, to 'turn a mule into a race horse.' Shelby organized a meeting with the SCCA's Executive Director, John Bishop, and asked him what was needed to be done to transform the Mustang into a production 'sports car.' The result of the meeting was the 1965 Shelby GT350, a vehicle built to homologate the Ford Mustang for SCCA racing.

Shelby took the standard production Ford Mustang GT built at the San Jose plant, and transformed it into a racecar for the street at the Shelby American facility in Venice, California. They were given numerous performance modifications, and subtle styling updates to prepare it for competition. The Shelby GT350 quickly proved its worth, securing three straight SCCA B-Production championships for Shelby and Ford from 1965 through 1967.

Powering the Shelby GT350 was a 289 'Hi-Po' V8 fitted with a Holley four-barrel carburetor, aluminum high-rise intake manifold, 'Tri-Y' exhaust headers, a high-performance cam, and dual exhaust. The front suspension was lowered, fitted with a larger stabilizer bar, and the structure was strengthened with an 'export brace' and 'Monte Carlo' bar. In the back were traction bars, Koni shocks, and Detroit Locker rear-end. Ford engineer Klaus Arning, who had created the computer-designed suspension for the GT40 program, Shelby's 427 Cobras and the Daytona coupes, was tasked with designing the suspension modifications for the GT350. The work included relocated front upper control arm mounting points, Koni adjustable racing shocks, traction bars, and a one-inch diameter front sway bar. The stock Mustang rear axle assembly was replaced with a 9-inch unit from the full-sized Galaxie and equipped with a limited slip differential, with a choice of 3.70, 3.89, 4.10 and 4.33 ratios. Disc brakes were installed in the front with drums at the rear. Exterior changes included the iconic twin LeMans stripes from nose to tail (on most of the GT350 cars), a fiberglass hood with hood scoop and hold-down pins, and exhaust outlets just ahead of the rear wheels. The interior was given a woodgrain steering wheel, a tachometer, competition seat belts, and a fiberglass shelf in place of the rear seat. Some of the production cars were delivered with the Shelby-Cragar five-spoke mag wheels, while others had hubcapless steel wheels. Goodyear supplied 7.75-15 Blue Dot high performance tires were mounted on the wheels. Most of the cars had the manual transmissions and naturally aspired, 306-horsepower, 289-cubic inch V-8. Two 1965 prototypes were factory-equipped with a Paxton-supercharged V8, which brought horsepower into the 450 horsepower neighborhood.

On January 1st of 1965, one hundred Shelby-modified Mustang Fastbacks, many of them built at the San Jose assembly plant and awaiting completion by Shelby's crew, were lined up outside his Venice facility to be inspected by SCCA officials for homologation. Each wore Wimbledon White paint, a pinned fiberglass hood with an intake scoop, a single Mustang emblem on the Blacked-out mesh grille and Blue 'GT350' sill stripes. Inside was a black interior with the fiberglass shelf and covered spare tire in place of the rear seat. They had a center dash pod with an 8,000 RPM tachometer and oil pressure gauge, competition seats belts, a floor-mounted shifter and a wood-rimmed aluminum racing steering wheel. The modified engine was given a larger radiator for improved cooling, and a 6.5 quart aluminum Cobra oil pan with internal baffles installed for improved lubrication under hard cornering.

562 examples of the street-going GT350 plus 34 competition-only R-models were built in 1965 to homologate the Shelby GT350 for SCCA racing.


by Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2019

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Related Reading : Ford Mustang History

The Ford Mustang first appeared in 1964 and was immediately popular for its style and its capabilities. The largest engine offering of the time was the 289 V-8 K-code small block engine which was sufficient but enthusiasts wanted and demanded more power. The base engine was a six-cylinder power plant. The body style configurations included coupe, convertible and fastback. In its first year of....
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A pillar of American automotive lore, the Mustang is the vehicle the brought sporting dash and styling at a price that almost everyone could afford. Always extraordinarily attractive, the Mustang has been capturing the hearts of drivers for nearly 40 years. Introducing a whole new breed of automobile, the pony car, Ford wasnt content to stand on the sidelines while others jumped ahead. Rather than....
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1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM5R002

GT350 SFM5R002 was the first Shelby Mustang competition car built by Shelby American. It is the engineering GT350 on which parts were tested for all competition GT350s built by Shelby American. It was featured in the movie 'Shelby Goes Racing with Fo....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM5S003

This is one of three high performance 'HiPo' 289 Mustangs used to start the GT350 Mustang project at Shelby American in late October 1964 and was the prototype used to determine which modification and part sources were needed to produce the GT350 Mus....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

This Mustang was the 19th GT350 created and was purchased by Hayward Ford to race Seca Class B Production in March of 1965. It was first raced at Laguna Seca in May, coming ninth overall in the GT race driven by Dick Carter, and was also the first GT....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: 5S048

This Shelby was one of the very first GT 350's to race. It was actually the 24th GT 350 shipped from Shelby American to their dealer network. It raced numerous times from 1965 to 1969 in the northwest region of the SCCA. The 1965 GT 350's proved t....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: 5F09C294180

This car was one of the first 150 Shelby made. After its 'R' spec conversion, the car was raced at several famous venues in the United States. It then remained stored until Sir Stirling Moss purchased it and eventually raced it at as many events as h....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM5S041

Due to a heart defect, Carroll Shelby retired from racing in the late 1950's. One of his greatest racing accomplishments was winning the 24 Hours of LeMans in 1958 in an Aston martin. After his departure from racing he used his reputation to form the....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM5010

The Shelby Mustang was first shown on January 27th of 1965. The car was available only in Wimbledon White with a blue GT350 side stripe located below the door. The Shelby Mustang had a fiberglass hood with a functional hood scoop, and a tri-colored....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

1965 was the first year for Carroll Shelby designed Mustang - one of just 500 produced. This example was received by Shelby American on June 13, 1965 and work was finished on June 25, 1965. The automobile was shipped on July 23, 1965, to Dick Walla....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

This GT350 Mustang was shipped to S&C Motors in San Francisco in June of 1965 and was purchased by its first owner residing in Sausalito, CA. A year later it was purchased by a resident in San Bruno, California, who owned it from 1966 through 2005. A....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SMF5S472

There were just 562 Shelby GT350s produced in 1965. The 289-cubic inch solid lifter 'Hi-Po' V-8 was upped from 271 to 306 horsepower. The factory hood of the Ford Mustang was replaced with a lightweight unit, and the rear seats were cleverly removed ....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM 5S431

This Shelby GT350 is one of 525 sold in 1965. It was originally sold from Hi-Performance Motors of Los Angles, California. The odometer shows 18,000 original miles and it hasn't been driven since 1972. It is all numbers matching with original Koni sh....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: 5r100

This is one of the few original 1965 GT 350 'R' models ever produced by Shelby American. This particular 'R' model was sponsored by Dockery Ford of Morristown, N.J. for the 1966 season. As a finished car, the owners wanted it to be exactly the way th....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM 5S425

Most of the Shelby GT350 models are the same. A few production examples were delivered with the Shelby-Cragar five-spoke mag wheels, while others rode on hubcap-less steel wheels. Most had stripes on the hood and rear deck, while all had manual trans....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

This GT350 was purchased new from Ford in Charlotte, NC by a wealthy cabinet maker for his teenage son, Mike Cooper. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the teenager went completely wild with the car and his school career was brought to a close by his head teach....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: 5S558

This Coupe was the fourth from the last GT350 to be produced in 1965. It was delivered to Shelby American in June 1965 and the finished car was delivered to Warren Andersen Ford in Riverside, CA a month later. Its first owner was Lloyd Asbury of San ....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM5S059

Few names are as revered in the automotive world as the Shelby G.T.350. From the racetrack to the showroom floor, the Shelby G.T.350 put the blue oval firmly into the winners circle. ....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM5019

SFM5019 is one of the earliest Shelby GT350 Mustangs, and one of the first to be raced in 1965. The build of this Shelby Mustang is so early, that no street /'S' or race/'R' model designations had been coded into the Shelby serial/VIN number.....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM5S057

The first Shelby GT350's were built at 1042 Princeton Street in Venice, California next to factory Cobra racecars. With the introduction of both the Shelby GT350 and the new 427 big block Cobra, Shelby was forced to find larger facilities. ....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM5S492

From the beginning, Shelby GT350's have been considered collectible vehicles. As soon as enthusiasts could get their hands on one, Shelbys were often hidden away and lost to time. That was the case with SFM5S492, which was a 'barn-find' discovered in....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Chassis Num: SFM5S226

SCCA regulations required at least 100 street legal versions of the GT350 be sold to private customers in order for it to qualify for B/Production. During 1965, a total of 562 examples were sold. This particular example was originally delivered to Ad....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM 5S490

Chassis number SFM 5S490 was completed by Shelby American on June 29th of 1965 and was assigned as a company car to Jack Khoury. It was subsequently shipped through Shelby's Hi-Performance Motors of El Segundo, California, to Kansas City dealer Broad....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM5S111

This Shelby GT350 was one of the last examples of the 113-car batch comprising the first homologating series of the car's production. It was received by Shelby American's Los Angeles shop on December 21, 1964, with the Shelby modifications beginning ....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: 281

According to Shelby American factory records this chassis was received at the Shelby American Los Angeles, CA facility on May 17, 1965. Work started the same day and it was finished on May 25, 1965. It was shipped to Jerry Alderman Ford Sales, Inc. I....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: 5S051

Carroll Shelby's first Mustang was the 1965 Shelby GT350. In order to be race-eligible in the SCCA series, Ford's standard K-code Mustang fastback would have to be modified, a job it commissioned to Shelby. The result was a limited-edition high-perfo....[continue reading]

1965 Shelby Mustang  GT350 vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: SFM 5S089

This Shelby GT350 is an early example and is known as one of the 'double-digit' serial-number cars. It is one of the first 100 produced (numbers 015-113) for homologation purposes to qualify for SCCA racing. It has the trunk-mounted battery, which ap....[continue reading]

Coupe
Chassis #: SFM5R002 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM5S003 
Coupe
 
Coupe
Chassis #: 5S048 
Coupe
Chassis #: 5F09C294180 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM5S041 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM5010 
Coupe
 
Coupe
 
Coupe
Chassis #: SMF5S472 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM 5S431 
Coupe
Chassis #: 5r100 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM 5S425 
Coupe
 
Coupe
Chassis #: 5S558 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM5S059 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM5019 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM5S057 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM5S492 
Chassis #: SFM5S226 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM 5S490 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM5S111 
Coupe
Chassis #: 281 
Coupe
Chassis #: 5S051 
Coupe
Chassis #: SFM 5S089 


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