The Ford Mustang Shelby: A Timeless Classic of Power and Style
The Ford Shelby Mustang, a fifth generation mustang, was one of Ford’s powerhouses that were intended to compete with the Corvette. Ford manufactured the Shelby from 1968 through 1970. The Shelbys that were produced prior to that, in the years 1965, 1966 and 1967, were actually Mustangs that had undergone special modifications by Carroll Shelby’s company. These were called Shelby Cobras.
The Shelby Era
Carroll Shelby modified regular Ford Mustangs to create the legendary Shelby Cobras. In 1965, the Ford Cobra made its debut. The first Shelbys for the following production year, though, were actually 1965 Ford Mustang bodies. The Shelby serial number was placed over the 1965 Mustang serial number. These were actually “carry over” cars with the majority of their features coming from the 1965 models. One difference, however, between the 1965 and 1966 Ford Mustang Shelbys was that the 1965 model had a 289 engine that was painted black. In the later 1966 models (the “carry overs”) and for the remainder of the time that the Shelby was produced, the engine was painted blue.
Shelby also created a line of special Shelbys, GT350s, which were used by Hertz as car rentals. These cars were not sold to the public; they were produced solely for Hertz. However, when they were retired as rental cars, they were sold to the public. Only 1000 were produced. The breakdown included 800 were made Raven Black, 50 were in Candy Apple Red, 50 were in Wimbledon White, 50 in Sapphire Blue and 50 in Ivy Green. They all had gold Le Mans stripes and rocker panel stripes. Today, these special cars are a hot item among collectors and enthusiasts. They are very rare and very much sought after with several bringing in prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A new Shelby was unveiled in 1967. Its tail light panel closely mimicked the Mercury Cougar version. It sported a flip up spoiler and on each side; there were two sets of air scoops. It was also the first car manufactured in America to have a factory roll bar. In addition, a convertible prototype was made in this year. It did not quite make the grade and Ford had decided to scrap it. However, before Ford could destroy this convertible Shelby prototype, it was stolen. Later, Ford was able to recover the car and they sold it as a 1968 Shelby Mustang.
The Ford Era
In 1968, Ford began to produce the high performance Shelby Mustang. This Ford Mustang version of the Shelby Cobra had power steering, hydraulic camshaft, and a single carburetor. It was the proverbial muscle car with mass appeal. It had plenty of horses under the hood and rocked the classic Shelby look with sporty scoops and spoilers. In the summer of 1969, Carroll Shelby ended his agreement with Ford. He began to have less and less input in the production of Shelby Mustangs. Ford continued production of the Shelby Mustang in 1969 and eked out some in 1970, but the 1970 models were actually just 1969 models that had been left over from the previous year. For the time being, the Ford Shelby Mustang era was over.
A New Generation
In 2006, at the New York Auto Show, Ford unveiled their new Shelby GT-H version of the Mustang. Like its 1966 ancestor, it had many of the same features and was only available as a rental at Hertz. A mere 500 cars were built in celebration of the original Shelby’s 40th anniversary. A convertible version debuted as a Hertz rental in 2007. The new generation of the Ford Shelby Mustang had dawned.