1965 Shelby GT350
$375,000 - $425,000
RM | Sotheby's - AMELIA ISLAND 6 - 7 MARCH 2020 - Offered on Friday
- One of 562 GT350s built in 1965
- Documented by the SAAC Registry
- Originally used for Shelby public relations purposes
- Sold through Hi-Performance Motors in Los Angeles, California
- Two-year-old restoration by marque experts at Cobra Automotive
Starting with Ford’s already exceptional “K-code” Mustang fastback, Carroll Shelby and his team at Shelby American loaded the GT350 with numerous suspension upgrades and improved safety equipment and beefed up the engine, adding approximately 35 horsepower over the standard “Hi-Po” 289 V-8. The result was a production class-racing powerhouse that easily met the challenge from other cars of the day, including the Sunbeam Tiger and Jaguar E-Type, as well as Ford’s arch nemesis, the Chevrolet Corvette. Shelby American produced only 562 of these tough-and-ready GT350s in 1965, and they are considered the most desirable and collectable among all Shelby Mustangs.
Chassis number SFM 5S205 was received by Shelby American on 20 March 1965; work began on the car on 29 April 1965 and wrapped up on 7 May. It was noted that the driveshaft was defective upon arrival at Shelby American. Nearly a month after completion, Shelby American also determined that the transmission had a defective shift fork. Shelby proceeded to install a new transmission, and Ford was invoiced $146. Upon completion the GT350 was used by the factory for public relations purposes, including demonstrations. When its promotional duties wrapped up, the GT350 was shipped to Hi-Performance Motors in Los Angeles, California, on 17 September 1965. The dealership was invoiced $3,192.30.
While original ownership is unknown, the GT350 remained in California for most of its life. It was purchased in 1971 by Don Burke of Northridge. Under his ownership the car was campaigned in Solo I and autocross events. In 1980 it was purchased by Stephen Connor of Simi Valley, California. The car was used at track events at Willow Springs, Riverside, Ontario, and Laguna Seca for the ensuing decade. In 1991 the GT350 was restored by New Life Shelby & Mustang and would go on to win second place in the concours held at the SAAC-17 in Portland in July 1992. It was offered for sale through Hemmings in October 2015 and purchased by current ownership in early 2016, residing for the past few years in Florida.
Today the GT350 presents beautifully, finished in the traditional Wimbledon White with Blue Le Mans stripes. It features a driver’s-side Talbot mirror and rides on Shelby Cragar wheels wrapped in Goodyear “blue dot” tires. It is powered by a K-code 289 cu. in. V-8 engine backed by a four-speed manual transmission. The battery has been relocated to the trunk, and power disc brakes bring the car to a safe stop. The interior is equipped with bucket seats, three-inch lap belts, and the original fiberglass package tray that carries a covered full-size spare. Additionally, it features a wood-rimmed steering wheel, radio, and the Shelby tachometer and oil pressure pod. Rubber Shelby floor mats protect the front and rear carpet.
Debuting more than 50 years ago, the GT350 remains a dramatic and visceral driving experience. There is nothing subtle about the car; it is designed to go fast, handle well, and look good while doing so. SFM 5S205 is certainly no exception to this long-established rule. An immaculate, rust-free example, it presents in beautiful condition throughout and is the ideal entrant to vintage rallies or shows.