History of the First
1965 GT350; 5S003
1965 GT350 Mustang
"By the Numbers"
Other 1965 GT350
1965 GT350 Mustang Unique Parts (Updated: 7/13/21)
What makes the 1965 GT350 so unique? Some people go no further than the link to Carroll Shelby, the creator of the Cobra sports car. Shelby American was a very unique sports car manufacture, producing 289 and 427 street Cobras as well as various Cobra race versions designed for particular racetracks in the United States and Europe. Shelby American was also instrumental in the development of the GT40, the Sunbeam Tiger and the GT350 street and competition cars. The factory was open for a small window of time, from 1962-1967. During this timeframe, there was a gradual shift to rear mounted engines in racing cars, Porsche was running a rear engine car from the very beginning and their development of the 904 and 906 racecars were doing very well. Ferrari had just switched from the front-engined GTO to the 275 LM. with its powerplant located in the rear. The birth of the USRRC Can Am series was just around the corner, and again, the rear engined cars dominated. The Cobra marked one of the last truly successful front-engined sports cars.
Shelby American was in located in a popular hotrodding part of California. It was also the home to some of the best fabricators, designers, mechanics and racecar drivers. The climate was favorable to year-round warm weather, which permitted extensive testing for the cars at Willow Springs and Riverside Raceways. There was also a huge supply of local manufactures of speed equipment and parts needed for transformation of the regular Mustang into what we now refer to as the GT350.
The 1965 GT350 Mustang was a complete package, its development was well thought out, part by part. Perhaps the 260/289 Cobras and the Corvettes may have also been able to be put in this group, but there were few cars produced that were as complete as the GT350. The 1965 GT350 was performance orientated in just about every aspect; from its factory headers, glasspack mufflers and side pipes. Its suspension was designed by the Cobra team driver: Ken Miles with the addition of lowered front A-arms, larger front sway bar, Koni adjustable shocks, new pitman and idler arms to provide a quick steering kit. The suspension also was improved with the use of Detroit Locking 9-inch rear end, traction bars, large Fairlane station wagon rear brakes and the specially produced Goodyear Bluedot 7.75x15 tires rounded out the picture.
The reliable hi-po 289 motor horsepower was increased by 35 with the addition of the Cobra intake, 715 Holley and Cyclone headers. A set of Cobra aluminum valve covers and 6 1/2 quart "T" oil pan, were mated to a special 4 speed aluminum T-10 with nickel coated Sebring gears. The interior changes included 3 inch aircraft seatbelts, a Cobra steering wheel, and a special tachometer and oil pressure gauge located in a pod at eye level, in the middle of the dash pad. The rear seat was removed and in its place a fiberglass rear shelf with the spare tire mounted on top. The battery was moved to the trunk in the first half of the cars as well as the fiberglass hood reduced front-end weight. The engine compartment had increase stiffening with the addition of a Monte Carlo bar and export brace.
The only options on the street cars consisted of the twin blue Le Mans top stripes and the Cragar wheels. The finished car had no compromises, very little was needed to be done on these cars to autocross, hillclimb, drag race or gymkhana the car the weekends. And they were. If you had any extra money laying around after the initial $4,500.00 for the car, as far as you needed to look was the Shelby American Parts catalog to order virtually any of the competition parts for your car. The parts included anything from oil coolers, 48 IDA Webers, 4.11 or 4.88 rear end gears, a plexiglas rear window and racing seats.
The 1965 GT350 street car has become well respected over the years. The respect does not only come from the tie to Carroll Shelby or to Shelby American or its employees, but to its individual parts that when put together provided a total package, something of the like which was very rarely ever seen in a production car.
Here is a list of 1965 GT350 unique parts, taken in part from the SAAC Registry then expanded upon to list the manufacture of the part and the cost if you were purchase it in 1965 from your local Ford dealer. Remember, it is all relative, the average income in 1965 was around $6,500.00 and a modest home, at least in Seattle, was $17,000.00.
A special thanks to Jim Cowles of Shelby Parts and Restoration for providing some of the photos of restored 1965 GT350 parts seen below. You may visit his web site by going to our home page and hitting on the LINKS tab. Cowles has been around these cars for over 25 years; his restorations speak for themselves.
Parts List Under Construction . . . .