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SHELBY GT-350 COMPETITION MODEL

 CARS > MUSCLE CARS > SHELBY GT-350 COMPETITION MODEL

Used Car history 
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Muscle Cars

GTO 1964-1967

Shelby Mustang

Hemi

 

 



The Shelby Success Formula

Step one was to turn a Mustang Fast-back into a production sports car, the "street" Shelby GT-350 with its essentially unmodified and Ford-warranted 289ci Hi-Po engine and its highly modified Shelby American-designed suspension. That car would be reasonably priced and reasonably functional for highway use.

Step two was to build 100 of the cars, a few for racing but the majority for dealer showrooms. Shelby American's Cobra manufacturing facility in Venice, California, would be adapted for that process and, eventually, selected dealerships across the nation would sell the cars.

Step three called for the creation of a race car in compliance with the SCCA's edict regarding the modification of either the engine or suspension. That was easy. By changing a Mustang into a street Shelby, the suspension already was optimized; that left the door open for Shelby American to internally modify the race car engines. Only weeks into production, when the SCCA's representatives inspected the Shelby American plant, they found 100 white fastbacks with blue stripe schemes. The racing community learned in the November 7,1964, issue of Competition Press and Autoweek that the "Cobra-Mustang" racing effort had been approved for B/Production in 1965.

While the more numerous street Shelbys allowed the marque to be homolo-gated by the SCCA, the competition, or R-Model GT-350s, wrote the headlines. The gunsmoke and tire rubber Ford wanted for its Mustang image campaign, the victories noted at regional tracks and in the national press, and the brain-rattling reputation of the Shelby cars came directly from the race cars. The R-Models came directly from the minds and wrenches of successful competitors and mechanics versed in optimizing the 289ci engines. The GT-350 victories would come from both Cobra team veterans and regional independents.

If San Jose's knockdown models destined to be street GT-350s were devoid of certain parts, the Mustangs headed for R-Model status were downright bare. They were expressly built with the goal of eliminating excess weight. Many things were deleted: steel hoods, hood latches, grille bars, Mustang badges, rear seats, radios, exhaust system, sound deadener, seam sealer and undercoating, window regulators, side glass, backlight, gas tank, door panels, headliner, heater/defroster system, and carpet. The R-Models reached Shelby American at fighting weight. Furthermore, at Shelby American, a lightweight fi-berglass apron, ducted for brake and engine cooling, replaced the front bumper, the rear bumper was removed, and thin aluminum panels were riveted over the holes created when the heavy C-pillar air extractor vents were removed.

To replace the missing back and side Carlite glass, pull-up Plexiglas side win-dows in aluminum frames were installed in the doors and a molded Plexiglas rear window filled the space, saved weight and, with a slot at its forward edge, provided additional ventilation to the interior. All told, nearly 500 lb were eliminated in the building of Shelby competition models.

The High Performance 289ci Mustang engines were removed from the R-Models-to-be and dismantled at Shelby American. The heads went to Valley Head Service for porting and polishing, internal components were balanced, and reassembly was done to blueprint specifications. Each four-barrel competition engine received a camshaft that pushed the power curve toward the top end, a fully degreed harmonic balancer, and a 7qt Aviad oil pan, which required a custom-made anti-sway bar.

To keep the engines alive, Shelby modified the oiling system and installed an oversized radiator; an oil cooler was positioned low and just aft of the radiator. A spun-aluminum plenum directed air from the stock hood scoop to the 715 cfm center-pivot Holley. A dual-plane high-rise aluminum intake manifold, large tube headers, a Stewart-Warner electric fuel pump, and a straight pipe exhaust system topped off the performance R-Model changes. Finally, each R-Model engine was tuned on a dynomometer. Horsepower readings gen-erally registered in the neighborhood of 350.

To deal with the realities of racing, the R-Model GT-350s also received slightly flared and re-radiused wheel openings, 34gal baffled gas tanks (actually two stock Mustang tanks welded together, then painted black), quick-release gas caps fitted with splash collars, gutted dash panels equipped with six CS analog gauges, two lightweight and snug racing seats, 3in competition harnesses, and a four-point rollcage for both rigidity and driver safety.

In spite of the Le Mans and lower body stripes common to the street and race GT-350s, an R-Model, with its Goodyear Blue Streak 6.00/9.30x15 racing tires, fiberglass rear window and front valance, and American Racing's aftermarket GT model five-spoke 7x15in magnesium wheels, looked much meaner than a standard Shelby. To complete the assembly process, each R-Model was tested by Shelby American company drivers at Willow Springs.

 


 
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SHELBY GT-350 COMPETITION MODEL

 CARS > MUSCLE CARS > SHELBY GT-350 COMPETITION MODEL


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

Cars Directory : Auto, Automobile, Automotive, Car, Cars, Vehicle, Vehicles, Used Cars, New Cars, Used Car, New Car Price

Site Description: Car Consumer Reports and Consumer Guide 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. Offers Free VIN Check, VIN Check

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.