The Mustang was introduced to great fanfare in 1964, right in the middle of Ford’s ’Total Performance’ era. Despite its modest origins, Ford saw a performance future for it but their vision was obscured by the advent of the muscle car on America’s drag strips. The Mustang muscle credentials would soon be issued, but for the time being, the most muscle under its hood came from the high performance K-code 289 V-8, not enough to allow Mustangs to show their full potential on the drag strips.
The full racing version of the Shelby Mustang was the GT-350R, which had a 350 hp (some even 400 hp) engine, racing suspension and a fiberglass airdam with a large central hole for extra air in front which replaced the bumper. The GT-350R won the SCCA production car championship in 1965, 1966 and 1967, giving the Mustang the so desired competition car heritage. The 1965 championship was in fact snatched from the Sunbeam Tigers run by Doane Spencer’s Hollywood Sports Car team, making it a complete Shelby show that season.
GT-350R was only the second 1966 Shelby Mustang GT 350 to be built on a 1966 Mustang platform. It was restored some years ago to its present R-model configuration including conversion to a Ford competition-type top-loader 4-speed transmission and adding a roll cage, oil cooler, side exit exhaust and R-model front apron with oil cooler air intake.
It has subsequently been maintained and prepared for vintage racing and long distance high speed tours and events and is now powered by a fresh high performance engine displacing 345 cubic-inches with a .020’ overbore and .40’ longer stroke which dyno’ed at 470 horsepower at 7,000 rpm with a 750cfm 4-barrel carburetor, roller camshaft and vales measuring 2.02’ intake and 1.65’ exhaust. It has uprated dual circuit brakes with proportioning valve, a fuel cell, an onboard fire system and full safety equipment to current European historic competition standards. The body has been modified with brake cooling ducts and a lightweight composite rear window. It rides on lightweight Torque Thrust-type alloy wheels. Notably, other than the R-model front apron, the external appearance is stock GT 350.
It has competed in many recent European racing events including the 2000 Tour Auto and has been accepted at the Historic Le Mans Classic, for which high intensity head and driving lights were added.
Over $60,000 has been spent to make this one of the finest Shelby Mustang GT 350 historic race cars. It is as dramatic in its appearance and presence as it is in its performance.