Year of manufacture1965
Number of seats2
1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 Coupé
Registration no. KBD 161C
Chassis no. SFM6S155
Engine no. 5R09K242435
Ford created a new class of car almost overnight with the introduction of the Mustang sports coupé part way through the 1964 season, catching the rest of the US auto industry off guard. Brainchild of Lee Iacocca - subsequent saviour of the Chrysler Corporation the Mustang is one of the most remarkable automotive success stories of modern times and arguably the pinnacle of his long career with Ford. Aimed at the affluent young, for whom a car was as much a lifestyle statement as means of transport, the Mustang succeeded brilliantly, achieving sales in excess of a quarter million by the end of '64. This remarkable debut was followed by a staggering 524,791 sales in 1965, earning Ford a fortune.
Legendary Texan racing driver Carroll Shelby's team had been campaigning Ford's Mustang 'pony car' with considerable success in North America, winning the SCCA's B-Production title three years running in the mid-1960s. Capitalising on his success, Shelby began manufacturing modified Mustangs, which were officially sanctioned and sold through selected Ford dealerships. The first Shelby Mustang - the GT350 - arrived in 1965 powered by a modified version of Ford's 289ci (4.7-litre) small-block V8 producing 306bhp, with options of a 340-360bhp unit in competition trim or 400bhp supercharged. A four-speed Borg-Warner manual gearbox was the stock transmission on early Shelby Mustangs, though a heavy-duty, three-speed automatic soon became available as an option.
The running gear was up-rated appropriately to cope with the GT350's increased performance, though outwardly there was little to distinguish Shelby's GT350 from the standard product apart from a pair of broad 'racing' stripes down the body centreline. On the open road there was, of course, no comparison.
One of the great iconic muscle cars of the 1960s, the Shelby Mustang continued to be based on the stock version, receiving the latter's styling changes and mechanical improvements while retaining its own distinctive special features until production ended in 1970.
This Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 was delivered new finished in its present colour scheme of white and blue, and remained in the possession of its first owner - Tuscon, Arizona resident Donald R McClain - until 2002 (see original owner's manual and copy title deed on file). Correspondence on file dated November 2002 states that Mr McClain kept the car in the west of America until his stint in the Armed Services was finished in August 1967. He then moved to Connecticut to take a job as a pilot and drove the Mustang extensively into the mid-1970s before laying it up for 20 years. The car had 130,000 miles recorded when it was taken off the road.
Once he retired, Don McClain retrieved the Mustang and began its restoration. It needed some floor repairs because of the salty New England roads, while in 1974 a rear quarter panel had been replaced following an accident (a Ford item was used). The car retains its correct original engine, which was rebuilt around the time of its importation, while the carburettor, air-cleaner, paint and exterior trim were new in 2002. It also has its original Cragar wheels; the rare wheel brace and jack; the correct aluminium-cased T10 four-speed manual transmission; a Detroit Locker differential; over-ride traction bars; and lowered front control arms.
A letter on file from the Mustang Owners Club of Great Britain confirms that this car was manufactured during 1965 at the Shelby American factory in California, USA. The Shelby American World Registry states that the first 252 Shelby Mustangs that were released for sale at the beginning of the 1966 model year by SheIby American were actually built late in 1965. 'SFM6S155' falls into this batch of cars as indicated by its production number, '155'. The aforementioned letter goes on to state that this situation came about because Shelby American wanted to continuously send cars to dealers while the 1966 styling changes were finalised and implemented on the coming year's model. Therefore they took the unusual step of building a batch of cars at the end of the 1965 model year that incorporated the 1966 model's proposed styling changes while retaining some of the features unique to the 1965 model.
Since coming to the UK towards the end of 2002 the car has had two private owners, the first of whom was one David Rothschild of Putney, London SW15. In 2003 Mr Rothschild sent the GT350 to muscle car specialist Tony Faulkner-Stevens of Dragon Wheels in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire - this country's leading Mustang restorer - for various works including a full engine rebuild and performance upgrade. The engine work was undertaken by Knight Racing Services of Daventry with the aim of achieving a maximum output of 350 horsepower and the ability to achieve 6,000 revs. This involved fitting new World Products high-performance unleaded-compatible cylinder heads and a careful blue-printed rebuild using after-market forged connecting rods and fully matched internal components (see Dragon Wheels' invoices on file). Other enhancements fitted at this time include a thermostatically controlled electric radiator fan; up-rated front suspension coil springs; original-style Shelby side-exit exhaust system; and a stainless steel tank-to-pump fuel line.
Acquired by the current vendor circa 2007, the Shelby has been the subject of considerable expenditure on maintenance and servicing at Blakeney Motorsport in recent years, bills for which are available. The aforementioned correspondence and history dating back to its original supply in 1965 is contained within a lever-arch file (inspection recommended). Described by the vendor as in generally good condition, with excellent interior and very good paint, this desirable Shelby Mustang GT350 is offered with a current MoT and V5C registration document.