One of the first “pony cars” – fast and sporty (and with lots of horsepower under the hood) – was of course the iconic Ford Mustang. Introduced in mid-1964, it quickly became a best-seller. Only problem, it was considered a bit small, and lacking the full-throated power that buyers wanted. Ford’s Lee Iacocca felt that he could increase sales with more powerful engines and better handling, and in searching for a solution, he approached Carroll Shelby. Iacocca wanted Shelby to prepare and campaign the Mustang as a B Production SCCA racer (Sports Car Club of America).
Repeating his proven Cobra approach, Shelby first built 100 examples of the GT350 street model to qualify it as B Production car, then built a smaller series of racers (two team cars plus 34 customer cars). Given the go-ahead by Ford in August 1964, the Shelby American staff had only until early 1965 to develop the two models, arrange for the necessary parts to be made, and get the race cars into competition. Chuck Cantwell was the project engineer, Ken Miles did the mechanical development, and Peter Brock designed the graphics.
During the last week of 1964, Ford’s San Jose plant shipped Shelby American 110 specially built Wimbledon White notchbacks in incomplete form; most of their distinctive GT350 modifications would be accomplished in the Venice shop. To qualify the GT350 for SCCA production racing, as Ford had requested, Shelby had to build at least 100 street-legal examples in time for the 1965 season. For him and his busy employees, many of whom were by then deeply involved with 427 Cobra and GT40 work, developing an entirely different car for the street was far more difficult than creating a car for the track. After all, they had to satisfy not only themselves but their client, Ford Motor Company. In the case of the GT350, Shelby American was working on a production model with myriad options, and no doubt Ford was eager that these cars—aimed at a range of influential high-performance customers—would meet its usual quality standards.
Priced at $4,547, the GT350 street version differed only slightly from “R” Model, mainly in that it had a normal steel front bumper and valance, but no roll bar. Normally supplied with 15 x 5.5-inch steel wheels, the 306-hp, 2,800-lb hatchback could also be ordered with 15 x 6-inch Cragar/Shelby alloy wheels. A total of 521production models were built before August 1965, when Shelby American switched over to building the somewhat softened 1966 model.
This particular 1965 Shelby Mustang GT 350 (SFM5S381) was ordered on June 21, 1965 & shipped to Bennett Motor Company in Salt Lake City, Utah and remained in Salt Lake City until purchased by its current owner several years ago. This car was ordered with LeMans stripes which ended up being put on the car at Shelby American Inc. at no additional cost.
This car was owned and restored by (Thomas) Kirkham who is well-know for their hand-formed and built aluminum-bodied CSX Shelby Cobra’s that are built in an old MIG plant in Poland & sent to the United States for final assembly. The restoration work on the car is simply beautiful. The level to detail is amazing and this fully documented, ALL MATCHING NUMBERS 1965 Shelby GT 350 is (now) for sale privately and ready to go!
1. Order form #651051 dated 6/21/65 from Bennett Motor Co. to Shelby American.
2. Customer file invoice #A 567 dated 6/20/65 (paid for 7/2/65) from Shelby American to Bennett Motor Co.
3. Delivery receipt #145 dated 6/30/65 listing (4) GT350s shipped via truck from Shelby American to Bennett Motor Co.
4. Warranty and policy form #2306 dated 7/27/66 for replacement of the coil, wire and carburetor jets.
5. Warranty and policy form #2304 dated 7/28/65 for replacement of a bearing and gasket.
6. Customer file credit memo #P 3037 undated for the work done in #5 above.
7. Warranty and policy form #2310 dated 8/16/65 for replacement of the tachometer.
8. Customer file credit memo #P 2276 dated 10/13/65 for the work done in #s 4 and 7 above.
9. Warranty and policy form #1033 dated 9/23/65 for installing spring spacers and a steering wheel lock nut.
10. Warranty and policy form #2524 dated 11/11/65 for, I believe, installing a rear exhaust system.
11. Customer file credit memo #P 3040 undated for the work done in #s 9 and 10 above.