1965 Shelby GT 350
Year of manufacture1965
This historic GT350 R was ordered new by Tasca Ford Sales Inc. of Rhode Island, and completed at Shelby American on June 12, 1965. Tasca Ford performance sales manager Dean Gregson planned to campaign it, but a falling out with Bob Tasca meant that Gregson went to Harr Motor Car Company of Worcester, Massachusetts, for sponsorship. In 1965, Gregson completed the Shelby driving school and competed in SCCA National events. A talented driver, Gregson finished 1st in Class at Lime Rock, Indianapolis Raceway Park, and 1st Overall in A and B production classes at Bryar, New Hampshire. Gregson’s enthusiasm was apparent, but also resulted in the car landing on its roof twice during this winning period. Gregson achieved 1st Place finishes 10 times in 12 starts, plus two drag race class wins. Additionally, at Indianapolis Raceway Park, Gregson won the SCCA national drag race title in the B Sports class.
The Shelby was acquired in 1968 by Dave Roberts of Hanover, Massachusetts, who raced it 17 times during the 1968 season, winning at Lime Rock and never placing lower than 3rd. This streak also included double wins in the rain at Indianapolis Raceway Park and no DNFs for the entire season. His success continued into the 1969 and 1970 seasons.
In 1971, Bob Fordyce of Sunland, Florida purchased the car, flared the wheel wells, and won the SCCA Southeastern championship. According to the Shelby Registry, he clocked 172 mph at 8,600 rpm at the 24 Hours of Daytona. In 1973, the Shelby ran the 12 Hours of Sebring and finished on the podium in its class, and in 1974, the GT350 finished 14th Overall there.
The GT350 was purchased in 1977 by Alan Bolte of Santa Monica, California. Bolte refurbished the car and, between 1979 and 1986, entered it in 51 vintage events with 12 wins and 24 podium finishes – the longest unbroken string of R Model competition wins at the time, and it included running the Monterey Historics eight times. Once, at the Palm Springs Road Races, the Shelby was even driven by Innes Ireland. The string of success was broken in 1986 at Laguna Seca when the rear axle walked its way out of the rear end, sending the car into the barriers at high speed. After this heavy accident, Bolte retired from racing and commenced a restoration to 1965 specifications. According to the consignor, Bolte had planned to complete a full rebody of the car using a Mustang shell and, in preparation for that rebody, had removed the Ford chassis number on the driver’s side inner fender apron. Bolte’s planned full rebody ultimately did not happen, however, as the replacement shell was sold to a local Shelby expert, and the consignor thus believes that Bolte instead restored the original body shell.
Completed in 1997, the GT350 R was on display at the Shelby American world headquarters in Las Vegas in 1999. In 2002, the car was purchased by Tommy Thompson of Phoenix. In 2005, after more great vintage racing performances, the Shelby was honored as the winner of the HMSA Briggs Cunningham Trophy, the top award given each year for the best performance of a race car with the most original preservation and presentation.
In 2003, the GT350 R was invited to the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed, where it was judged by a panel of experts as being an extremely significant Shelby Mustang. This car’s top performances at contemporary vintage events added to the car’s original history of track records, podiums, and 1st Place finishes as the Shelby received the highest marks and was placed on Goodwood’s list as one of the top 24 most important Ford race cars. The Shelby was raced up the hill there, competing against current and former F1 drivers in front of over 160,000 enthusiasts and received updated FIA papers.
In 2007, Alan Bolte purchased the Shelby back from Mr. Thompson and kept it until his passing earlier this year. This is a significant GT350 R with an incredible racing history, both in 1960s SCCA racing and more contemporary vintage racing. Having received several prestigious awards commemorating its success, among all its other accolades, this GT350 R demands serious consideration, and prospective buyers are encouraged to look through its extensive history file.