Monterey | Lot 162
1965 Shelby GT350 R
$720,000 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
24 August 2018
- Delivered new to the Comstock racing team in Canada
- Formerly part of a noted American private collection
- One of only 36 GT350 R models built for 1965
Finished on 20 April 1965, the Shelby GT350 R offered here, chassis no. 5R096, was initially ordered by Ford Motor Company of Canada to be used by the Comstock Racing team of Toronto. According to the SAAC Shelby Registry, this would be the second privateer car to be shipped. Finished in Wimbledon White with no Le Mans stripe, upon its arrival in Canada it was quickly repainted in the Comstock team colors of white with green stripes. Furthermore, the GT350 R was equipped with Weber carburetors, which were legal under Canadian racing rules. Following its first race at Mosport with Eppie Wietzes, it was driven again by Wietzes and Craig Fisher at the 500-mile race at Mosport on 23 August 1965, where it won 1st overall. This was a huge accomplishment for both the drivers and the car, especially considering that it drove the last two hours of the race without functioning brakes!
After being listed for sale the following year, 5R096 would remain in Canada and was purchased by Stan Ward and was repainted blue. With Ward, it would race around Eastern Canada at Harewood Acres in Ontario; Argentia in St. Johns, Newfoundland; and St. Jovite in Quebec, which would later become known as Mont-Tremblant. Unfortunately, the engine blew while he was racing at Harewood, which destroyed the aluminum oil pan. It was then purchased by Brian Burgess of Toronto and, subsequently, the car moved south of the border. Passing through Mike Gaffney of Bloomington, Illinois, it was traded to Richard Leuchner of Noank, Connecticut, who began a restoration. Sold mid-restoration to Texas, the GT350 R eventually wound up back with Leuchner in 1982. After passing to Dave Mathews of Guilford in 1995, the restoration was finally completed in 1996 and the car was returned to its Comstock specifications and livery.
Following being shown at SAAC-21 at Lime Rock in July of 1996, 5R 096 was purchased by a renowned American collector to join his world-class collection of sports and racing cars, and was subsequently converted for vintage racing. He used his new GT350 R mostly overseas on long-distance rallies, which included the Rallye du Maroc Classic in 1999 and the Tour Auto in 2000 and 2001. The car proved to be quite competitive, finishing 18th overall and 2nd in class at the Tour Auto in 2000, and 2nd in class yet again the following year.
The GT350 R was purchased by its current owner in 2003; he imported it to Switzerland and continued to vintage race it. More recently, the engine was returned to original specifications in 2015 with further historic racing in mind. Since then, the car has competed in the Jarama Classic in 2016 and 2017 in addition to the 2016 Dix Mille Tours, the 2017 Spa Classic, and the 2017 Hungaroring Classic.
A competent and highly eligible entrant for historic racing across the globe, 5R096 has proven to be highly competitive in motorsport throughout its life. Restored in its original Comstock livery and prepped for historic racing, it begs to return to the track with its next owner.