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1966 SHELBY GT-350

 CARS > MUSCLE CARS > 1966 SHELBY GT-350

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GTO 1964-1967

Shelby Mustang

Hemi

 

 



Adding Flash to the 1966 Shelby

To differentiate the 1966 Shelby from its predecessor, the designers at Shelby American took steps to add flash and, beyond the scooped hoods and striping scheme, visually separate the GT-350 from its Mustang Fastback brethren. Most obvious were the triangular Plexiglas C-pillar windows and the functional lower rear quarter-panel scoops that ducted air to the rear brakes. Three basic 1966 Mustang colors—Raven Black, Candyapple Red, and Ivy Green—plus Sapphire Blue (a 1966 Thunderbird color called Bright Blue Metallic) also became available after the first 252 cars were made.

The 14in wheels offered on 1966 models moved a step away from 1965's 15in pure utility (painted steel) and the Cragar/Shelby option. The standard wheel became a painted Magnum 500, and an attractive cast-aluminum ten-spoke wheel became optional. Reminiscent of the 1963V2 Falcon Sprint V-8s, the 1966 Shelbys had 9000rpm tachometers centered atop the dashpad.

Engines in the 1966 cars were internally unchanged, with only a mid-year change in valve cover design marking their uniqueness. Late in the production year, Shelby American made available the Paxton supercharger factory option that had been tested as early as car 0425 during the 1965 model year and car 0051 in the first weeks of 1966 production. Car 0051 received the only known factory application of GT-350S (for supercharged) side stripes.

To some, the model changeover represented a first-stage devolution of the Shelby Mustang. Compared to anything else out there, the slightly restyled car was tremen-dously exciting, eye-catching, and powerful. To the hard-core enthusiasts, the concept, with all its "if only" stipulations, had become diluted. Many did their best to order 1966 GT-350s with the 1965 Shelby in mind: Wimbledon White with no Le Mans stripes, Detroit Lockers, Koni shocks, and a deleted rear seat. Still, things had changed. There was no going back.

Still, Carroll Shelby was an inventive marketer. In coordination with selected Ford franchised dealers, he aggressively promoted a line of Cobra brand speed equipment, from complete high-rev racing engines and ring and pinion gear sets to chrome air cleaners and oil cooler adapter kits. Shelby Parts and Accessories, working out of the West Imperial Highway plant, advertised for mail order CS/Shelby logo aluminum valve covers, cam and tappet sets, tachometers, intake manifolds, and exhaust headers; one dollar would have bought a respondent the Shelby catalog plus tuning tips and a decal.

Additionally, a subsidiary called Shelby Accessories working out of El Segundo, California, marketed driving gloves, Shelby Cobra logo cuff links, ball caps, windbreakers, T-shirts, sweatshirts, beer and cocktail glasses, mugs, ashtrays, jacket patches, decals, artists' prints of racing scenes, Snell-approved driving helmets, and the capper, the renowned Pit Stop, "A Real Man's Deodorant!"

For a period of time, Shelby even succeeded in having his accessory product line included in the catalogs of both Sears and J.C. Penney.

Included among the 2/380 Shelbys constructed for 1966 were six convertibles, essentially an end-of-production special order for Carroll Shelby. Produced in six different colors—Springtime Yellow, Candyapple Red, Ivy Green, blue, Wimbledon White, and pink—they all had stock Mustang air conditioning with underdash evaporators. As can best be determined, all had ten-spoke wheels, except the red convertible which had 14in Magnums. With Vehicle Identification Numbers ending in 2375 through 2380, these were the only Shelby convertibles created during the 1966 production year. Since then, on two occasions, additional groups of convertibles, created essentially from used Mustang convertibles, have received Carroll Shelby's blessings. No matter how they are judged now and in the future, they are not to be confused with the six original, San Jose-sourced K-code convertibles built by Shelby American.

 


 
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1966 SHELBY GT-350

 CARS > MUSCLE CARS > 1966 SHELBY GT-350


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TITLE: Muscle Car Used Car History Vehicle History Report at Auto Lemon - Used Car History Check

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Cars Topics: car consumer reports on automobile, brake, buying car, car care, car cost, car safety, cooling system, drivetrain, electrical, exhaust, emission, fluid check, fuel system, ignition system, lubrication system, suspension and steering.