Shelby Mustang GT350 1965-1970

When the dynamic Texan, Carroll Shelby worked his magic on the best-selling Ford Mustang, he created a classic. The rare top-of-the-line. 350-bhp Shelby Mustang GT350 was a great champion – And you could rent the street-legal 306-bhp version from Hertz for $35 a day.

“Rough.. nasty.. noisy.. hard steering..unbelievable.. love it!”  were the comments most testers made back in 1965, and it hasn’t changed since. The special Detroit Locker limited slip differential makes loud ratcheting noises on slow corners, then locks with a bang when you hit the accelerator. The engine is saller than most other American muscle cars of the time, but the GT350 is a winner at the track or on the street. Suspension is stiffer than the stock Mustang and really helps the car negotiate sharp turns. The high-performance 289 offers lots of torque and tons of upper end power.

Engine is mounted in the front, driving through a special Borg Warner T-10 four-speed transmission to heavy duty rear axle taken from a Ford Galaxie station wagon. The mustang monocoque  is steel with Shelby adding a rear seat replacement panel and fiberglass hood (with air scoop). Shelby added a wooden steering wheel – a sports car must-have at the time.

The Ford ‘Hi-Po’ 289

Basically a Mustang GT unit, the high-performance 289-cubic inch ford small block started at 271 bhp before Shelby began working on it, a substantial improvement on the 101 bhp of the first six-cylinder Mustangs. The engine of the GT350 street car with a Holley four-barrel carburetor developed 306 bhp, and the mighty GT350R had another 44 bhp. The main modifications were a higher compression ratio, high-lift cam, larger valves, and improved breathing with the performance carburetor.

The high performance 289 V8

Shelby modified Ford’s ‘Hi-Po’ version of the small-block V8 with 10.5:1 compression ratio, improved valve timing and better breathing. This gave 306 bhp at 6,000 rpm.

Improved front suspension

The standard mustang front suspension was improved for the GT350 with stiffer springs, revalved Koni shocks and relocated control.

Rear-exiting exhaust system

The original GT350s had side-exiting exhausts which were noisy and not permitted on some states. 1966 models were given a conventional rear-exiting exhaust system.

Ford’s Mustang was selling well, but it lacked the high-performance image of the Corvette. So Ford asked Carroll Shelby to develop The GT350, which beat the Corvette on the race track and outperformed it on the road.