What’s that noise? It’s a Mustang! No, no, it’s one of those hot Mustangs that just came out! Oh my God, I want one – I gotta have one! Look at it go! Please, please God, give me one! I promise to be good, really! Really!
Sad to say, He never gave me one then, but 10 years later, I did pick up a beaten up 1968 Shelby Cobra GT350 Convertible for $700. Yes, everyone, especially my parents laughed at me, but I fixed it up according to my limited funds – and although it didn’t have to snarl of the 1965 Shelby, it did have the looks! So there!
Back to our story. The 1965 Shelby was a ground-breaker. There was no kidding around this car, this was the real thing. And while the later Shelby’s were pussy-footers, this car made no bones for what it was a true performance car.
Take the engine. It was the typical Mustang 289, yet it was loaded with performance parts. High rise intake manifold, real exhaust headers, a hot cam shaft, a 715 cfm Holley carburetor, and a Cobra oil pan made up the package. The engine put out 306hp.
The rest of the car was pure performance. The suspension was difficult, the brakes were manual, everything was hard, but one thing was for sure, once you got up to speed, the car was a dream! It really corned, braked and stopped.
The car was outfitted with a unique glasspack exhaust system, and the rear seat – well, they removed the seat. You don’t need to carry passengers in a race car!
Most of the cars came with blue racing stripes, and you could have any color on the car as long as it was white.
All the fuss was made for a car that ended up selling only 562 examples that year, and that includes the 34 Competition cars. From an accountant’s point of view, the car was a complete disaster.
Unfortunately, they made the right noises, and so the 1966, while still a ”true” performance car, they started to dilute the car, while keeping the same image. Gone was the loud exhaust system, the hard suspension and they even sold 1000 cars to Hertz, the rental car people. In 1967, the Shelby Mustang was starting to feel the accountant’s pen, and while the car maintained the performance image, it was more and more susceptible to comfort options. By 1968 on, there was no kidding around; while the Shelby name was there, he’d already left town.
Yet, today, car collectors remember the 1965 Shelby. It was really something.