Carroll Shelby, one of America's best known automotive designer, race car driver and businessman made many contributions to the performance car industry. Carroll Shelby raced successfully in the U.S., Europe and Latin America. Many might have heard of Carroll Shelby's Cobra which is what he was best known for. What Shelby accomplished with the Ford Mustang model is legendary.
The First Production Model Mustangs
Following are the specs for the first production model Ford Mustang in 1965. These are from the standard non-Shelby modified models.
- 108.0 wheelbase
- 181.6 inches length
- Weight of 2583-2650 pounds
- 101 HP six cylinder engine and a 164 HP V-8
Production totals for the 1965 model year 501,965 for the 2 door hardtop, 101,945 for the convertible and 77,079 for the fastback model. The 1965 Ford Mustang was considered to be a sporty compact car with it's distinctive long hood. The Ford Mustang was by far the most successful model built by the Ford Motor Company during the 1960's.
The Mustang Based Shelby GT 350
Ford's relationship with Carroll Shelby began decades ago. In 1964 the Ford Motor Company approached Carroll Shelby with the idea of asking him to make the 1965 model year Mustang a performance car. What Shelby was able to accomplish with the Cobra, Ford wanted to do with their new Mustang model. Ford Motor Company was well aware that they had a potential winner with their new Mustang model and making it into a true top performance car would go a long way in competing against the Corvette which had it's start in the 1950's. Ford hoped the new Shelby R racing models would give Corvette a run for it's money.
Shelby accepted the offer and began work on the Mustang in the summer of 1964. By early 1965 a new car was created. This was the Shelby Mustang GT 350. It didn't take long for Shelby's touch to be noticed. The racing car version Shelby produced, the Shelby GT 350R had won an SCCA race against some top performers as Chevrolet's Corvette. More than 500 Shelby Mustang GT 350's were built in 1965.
The 2007 Shelby Ford Mustang GT 500
Carroll Shelby produced two versions of the 2007 Mustang GT. One was a 319 HP version and the other 500 HP. Both cars were quite popular when introduced. The Shelby Mustang GT featured in this photo article is a 2007 Shelby SuperSnake Convertible with a six-speed manual transmission and producing 625 HP. Production of the Shelby GT started in December 2006 and the performance car went on sale to the public in January 2007.
A supercharger upgrade kit gets that extra power from the engine. It's also said that an additional tuning kit can deliver horsepower in excess of 725. Today, collectors with Shelby GT models can avail themselves with an assortment of upgrade packages. The upgrades can offer 650+ HP as well as 750+ HP with the sleek designs that Shelby Mustangs are so noted for. Some have said that the Shelby SuperSnake looks like it's going 200 MPH standing still.
Building the 2007 SuperSnake
It's important to note that the Shelby SuperSnake is manufactured by Shelby Automobiles and not Ford Motor Company. Shelby has their own performances additions put on the vehicle. In developing the 2007 Shelby SuperSnake, Shelby's team worked together with Ford at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and in Dearborn Michigan. Ford Racing and Team Shelby designed the aggressive suspension and engine package specifically for the this vehicle. The aim of the project was to blow away any other performance car on the planet.
Included in Shelby's 2007 SuperSnake is a Ford Racing performance exhaust system, Shelby designed 20 inch Alcoa wheels, front brake cooling ducts, a carbon deposit hood featuring Shelby design, a 6-speed manual transmission with 3.73:1 rear axle ratio and Carroll Shelby signature embroidered headrests, floor mats and other Shelby specifically designed components.
Four additional AutoMuseumOnline photo articles you'll find interesting are the First Corvette American Sportscar .... the Gullwing Mercedes ...the 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo...and the 1964 Sunbeam Tiger V-8.
A Collectors Car
As you probably already know, the Ford Mustang in general has been and still remains a valuable collector's car. With high performance racing modifications or not, the Ford Mustang found it's permanent place in American spots car history, in many ways the same as the Chevrolet Corvette has.
Vintage and classic car values are affected by national financial problems like recessions and depressions. It's interesting to note that some high performance collector cars have become more appealing to investors and collectors alike during times of financial uncertainty. A collector's car is a hard asset and may very well outshine and be a safer bet than the stock market. As of this writing many well known classic automobile auction houses claim that prices have been relatively stable during the recent deep recession. The really nice high performance cars have apparently fared better than the average classic which have indeed seen softer prices.
(Photos from author's private collection)