While it’s sadly set to bow out soon, the current Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang is a worthy heir to the original’s name. The first Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang came on the heels of the original Cobra and Daytona Coupe. It was the Cobra and GT350 that established Carroll Shelby’s relationship with Ford. A relationship that led to the original Le Mans-winning, Ferrari-beating GT40. Since then, Shelby Mustangs have evolved into worthy supercar rivals. And now, 2 of the earliest and rarest Shelby GT350 Mustangs are coming up for sale.
1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R prototype
Mecum is in charge of both Shelby GT350 Mustangs going up for auction. And the 1965 GT350R shown above is particularly special.
This is the only Shelby GT350 ever raced by Ken Miles, who won the 1966 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring in the GT40. He also came in 2nd, in-between 2 other GT40s, at that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
But a year earlier, Miles drove this 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R in its first race win. It wasn’t only the GT350R’s first win, it was also the first Mustang to win a race period. Impressive, considering this was a development mule for future ‘R-Model’ Mustangs. And afterward, Petrolicious reports, it won the 1966 SCCA B Production Championship, and raced for several years in Mexico.
The original 1965 Shelby GT350R, usually referred to by its ‘5R002’ VIN, looms so large, Road & Track explains, it’s inspired multiple enthusiast clones. However, according to former Shelby employees, because of time and budget, it wasn’t ever perfect. That’s why a few years ago, the ‘Original Venice Crew’ got together to bring their idealized GT350R vision to life.
The ‘real’ 1965 R-Model Shelby GT350 had a 4-speed manual and a 360-hp 4.7-liter V8, Car and Driver reports. OVC’s version has a 460-hp 5.4-liter V8. It also has a reshaped front bumper and grille, to improve cooling. That’s in addition to new front and rear brake cooling ducts.
But the biggest change is the independent rear suspension. It was originally intended for the GT350R but was cut for budget reasons. A Ford Mustang wouldn’t get IRS until the 1999 SVT Cobra; the base model not until 2015. But, even if Miles didn’t have IRS, his Shelby GT350R is still an incredibly important Mustang.
1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Paxton prototype
Today, a Ford Shelby Mustang with a supercharger isn’t anything new. That’s what powers the GT500 after all. But in 1965, no Mustang offered a supercharged engine.
However, as Street Muscle explains, the owners of supercharger supplier Paxton Automotive got wind of the upcoming Shelby GT350. They borrowed one from Shelby and installed a supercharger to its 306-hp 4.7-liter V8, RM Sotheby’s reports. They then faced off in a drag race against Shelby’s personal 289 Cobra. Which, Mecum reports, the supercharged Mustang won handily. Likely because, although the Cobra was lighter, the Paxton-supercharged Shelby GT350 was putting out 443 hp.
After that, the Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang could be ordered with a Paxton supercharger. However, the one being auctioned off is particularly special. For one, it’s one of only 2 1965 models with the supercharger installed at the Shelby factory. Usually, Bring a Trailer reports, they were a dealer-installed option. Secondly, Business Insider reports, it’s the only one left with its original engine. It also still has its original paint and interior.
Sale date and pricing estimates
Both Shelby GT350 Mustangs will be sold at Mecum’s Indy 500 auction, which is scheduled for July 10-18, 2020. So, there’s still time to get your funds in order. And you’ll likely need that time.
The Paxton prototype has previously been sold at auction in 2014 by RM Sotheby’s. It sold then for $572,000. Hagerty reports GT350 values haven’t really declined in the past few years. For comparison, a supercharged 1968 model sold on BaT in January 2020 for $60,500.
Ken Miles’ 1965 GT350R will likely command a higher price. A race-going, non-R 1965 GT350 sold on BaT in 2019 for $156,000. Hagerty reports original R-Models regularly go for $1,000,000. The original Bullitt Mustang went for $3,740,000.
If you want to score one of these super snakes, then, you’ll need some deep pockets.
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