1966 Shelby GT350 Coupe
Chassis no. SFM6S2032
Impressed with the record of Carroll Shelbys Ford-engined AC Cobra, when Ford decided to market a serious performance version of the new Mustang they approached Shelby to built a Corvette beater. The starting point was a white 1965 Mustang fastback with no rear seats or hood. Shelby was then given his way with it.
An aluminum intake manifold pushed the 289s horsepower from 271 to 306. Shelby added his own headers, dumping in front of the rear wheels. A fiberglass hood was given functional scoops and blue stripe was applied to lower side, with bold GT350 aft of the front wheel opening. All external Mustang emblems were removed, and Shelby added his own equine badge on the left side of the grille. Koni shocks were fitted along with Koni traction bars at the rear. A larger front stabilizer and a one-inch sway bar completed the package. Interiors were all black, with a three-spoke steering wheel and competition seat belts. The open area for the rear seats was utilized to mount the spare tire. All cars had the Borg-Warner T-10 4-speed transmission. Just 562 were built for 1965, 522 S (for street) models, 36 R (racing) cars and four for drag racing.
A more ambitious program was undertaken in 1966. In addition to white, GT350s became available in red, green, blue and black, all with white stripe and GT350 logo. During the year, hoods were changed to steel because the fiberglass was proving troublesome. The grille emblem became smaller and a new GT350 gas cap was adopted. The Koni shocks became optional to Ford heavy duty units, and many of the Shelby suspension components gave way to standard Ford items. Total 1966 Shelby Mustang production totaled 2,378 cars. This included 1,367 standard fastbacks, four drag racing cars, and six convertibles. In addition, one car was supercharged and 1,000 were supplied to Hertz as performance rental cars. The first rent-a-racers, most were driven hard and put away wet, some, reportedly, after serious competition. As a result, Hertz began to order these GT350-Hs with automatic transmissions.
This 1966 Shelby GT350 was purchased new by Don Nesbitt of Salisbury, North Carolina. It was restored during the 1980s, then converted for vintage racing at the beginning of the 1990s. It was further tuned for competition by Cobra Automotive in Connecticut, then sold to a new owner who continued to race it. Over the years it has competed in events under the auspices of the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, Historic Sportscar Racing, Sports Car Club of America, Vintage Sport Car Drivers Association, Vintage Sports Car Club of America and the Shelby American Automobile Club. One of the first cars to be built up by Cobra Automotive, it carries their serial plate #004 and Vintage SCCA log book #031-901.
As built by Cobra Automotive, it had a vintage-legal 289 cubic inch engine with a Motorsport block, billet main caps, JE pistons, Crower rods, 351W heads, a roller cam, ARP studs, Aviaid oil pan, MSD ignition, a blueprinted Holley carburetor, billet March pulleys, Hooker headers and an R-model oil cooler.
The current owner raced it in the Reno and Portland Historic Races, and at the Coronado Speed Festival at San Diego in 2006. In 2007, it ran in the Wine Country Classic at Infineon Speedway, formerly Sears Point, and achieved second in class at Reno. Events for 2008 have included the Wine Country Classic and the Reno Historics. It has but two hours on a rebuilt engine, including new pistons, rods and crankshaft, and is now configured to Historic Motor Sports Association General Racing specifications. Painted in correct Shelby red with a black interior, it is competition ready, a turn-key vintage race car.