1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350 'GT500 Eleanor' Sportsroof Coupé Registration no. Not UK registered Chassis no. 8F02J208160
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. When the factory introduced a 390ci 'big-block' V8 option on the Mustang for 1967, Shelby went one better, installing Ford's 428ci (7.0-litre) Cobra Jet V8 to create the GT500, one of the great, iconic musclecars 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. One of the most famous of all Mustangs is that known as 'Eleanor', the Shelby GT500 that starred in the 1974 B-movie Gone in Sixty Seconds, which was remade in 2000 with Nicholas Cage starring as the car-thief central character. Indeed, such is the continuing level of interest in this type of car that production of the GT500E has resumed in the USA with Carroll Shelby's blessing, using recycled original Mustang bodyshells. Currently registered in the Republic of Ireland and presented as an 'Eleanor' clone, this restored 1968 GT350 Sportsroof (fastback) Coupé was purchased by the current owner from Exotic Cars at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas within the past year or so. We are advised that the car is equipped some very trick items including a competition engine, up-rated suspension, manual gearbox, hydraulic clutch and nitrous oxide injection.