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Monterey | Lot 216

1965 Shelby GT350

$379,000 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California

25 August 2018


Chassis No.
SFM 5S053
  • Documented history from new
  • Early production “trunk battery” car
  • Offered with correct alloy T-10 transmission

The GT350 offered here, chassis no. SFM 5S053, is an outstanding example of a true automotive legend. Starting with Ford’s already exceptional “K-Code” Mustang fastback, Carroll Shelby and his team at Shelby American stocked the GT350 with numerous suspension upgrades, improved safety equipment, and provided the engine with approximately 35 more horsepower than the standard Ford “Hi-Po” 289 V-8. The end result was a production class-racing dynamo which easily met the challenge from other cars of the day, including the Jaguar E-Type, Sunbeam Tiger, as well as archrival Corvette. To this day, the GT350 remains an ever-popular choice for vintage racing and touring events around the world.

Chassis 5S053 is one of the earliest examples produced and known as a “two-digit” car. The early GT350s, numbers 015–113, were the group of cars produced for homologation for SCCA racing. Additionally, given the early production sequence, this example benefits from the trunk-mounted battery, which appears (approximately) on serial numbers 001–338. The battery relocation was found to be one of the more time-consuming modifications, and in the interest of saving time, the battery was left in the front of the car on later production examples. In addition to the relocated battery, the early production cars benefit from unique features, including their fiberglass hood design and construction.

According to the SAAC Shelby Registry, 5S053 was received by Shelby American on 23 December 1964; Shelby completed the car on 17 March 1965. It was shipped just three days later, on 20 March 1965, to Tasca Ford Sales, Inc. of East Providence, Rhode Island. The Shelby Mustang’s first owner was David A. Sartrys of nearby Bristol, Rhode Island. The car then spent time with several owners in Maine, Connecticut, and Maryland before finding a new home in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, in 1984. It is under this owner, Robert Varcoe, that the car is believed to have been comprehensively restored, leading to a 2nd place finish at the Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC) concours in Dearborn, Michigan, in early July 1986.

The car was then sold in August of 2000 to Matthew Morrison of York, Pennsylvania. It stayed with Mr. Morrison until 2007, when it was shipped across the country to Ayman Nassar of Palo Alto, California. The car has since passed through the hands of well-known West Coast enthusiasts, before returning to Connecticut and the care of the consignor.

Despite 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 of course to look good while doing both. GT350 5S053 is certainly no exception to this long-established rule. It presents in beautiful condition throughout and remains overwhelmingly original. It retains its correct engine block, heads, timing covers, and carburetor, as well as the proper date-coded GT350 fenders. Though an upgraded five-speed transmission is currently fitted in the car, the correct aluminum T-10 transmission is included with the sale.

This car will make an ideal companion for vintage touring or racing events, or, with appropriate detailing, a return to the show circuit, where it is sure to make a scene.

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