Shelby G.T. 350, serial number 6S163. Photos courtesy Bonhams Auctions.
Before Ford’s San Jose plant transitioned its Mustang assembly line from the 1965 to 1966 model year, it supplied Shelby American with 252 1965 Mustang K-Code fastbacks that would form the basis of the 1966 Shelby G.T. 350. Known as “Carry-Over” cars, these Shelbys blended the best features of the 1965 and 1966 models, making them among the most desirable G.T.350s. Not all the 252 built are accounted for, but one missing car, serial number 6S163, recently reemerged after four decades in storage. On June 5, this rediscovered Carry-Over 1966 Shelby G.T.350 will cross the auction stage in Connecticut, offered at no reserve as part of Bonhams Greenwich Concours d’Elegance sale.
The first-year 1965 Shelby G.T. 350 quickly earned a reputation for being fast and capable, though not particularly civilized. As Randy Leffingwell points out in Shelby Mustang: Racer for the Street, Shelby’s order to Ken Miles and Phil Remington was quite specific: create a race track-capable car that wasn’t too stiff to drive on public roads. The definition of “too stiff” employed by Miles and Remington, however, turned out to be a bit different than that of the car-buying public.
Buyers who regularly drove their 1965 G.T. 350 on the street soon complained about the loud and startling noises made by its Detroit Locker differential, or the harsh ride served up by the car’s stiffer springs (coil springs in front, leaf springs in the rear) and Koni shocks. Then there was the absence of a rear seat, omitted to make room for the rear axle traction bars that intruded into the cabin through a hole cut in the floor and plugged with a rubber boot.
For 1966, Shelby civilized the G.T. 350 slightly, to appeal to a broader audience. Instead of the loud side-exit dual exhaust of the 1965 models, the 1966 cars would use a quieter dual exhaust that emerged through the rear valence, behind the car and its driver (a change also necessitated by California and New Jersey motor vehicle laws, which prohibited exhaust exiting ahead of the rear wheel). The Detroit Locker differential was made optional, with Ford’s No-Spin differential becoming standard-issue. The over-riding traction bars, which also transmitted road noise to the cabin, were eliminated in favor of under-riding bars that didn’t required cutting holes in the floor pan. Front suspensions no longer had their upper A-arms lowered, and Koni shocks were only used on production through 6S952 before being replaced by Autolite adjustable shocks.
The 1966 Shelby G.T. 350s also gave buyers the option of including a rear seat, and Plexiglas C-pillar windows (designed by Peter Brock) replaced the previous model’s louvered vents, greatly improving outward visibility. A dash-mounted tachometer replaced the earlier model’s expensive binnacle (which included the tach and an oil pressure gauge), and in a further concession to cost, the wooden steering wheel was made optional.
The 252 Mustangs delivered to Shelby American were 1965 models mechanically, but these would carry most of the design cues of the 1966 Shelby G.T. 350s. All were Wimbledon White from the factory, but the blue full-length stripes were, in many cases, left off at the buyer’s request. Rocker panel stripes were now vinyl with vinyl letters, instead of the painted stripes and vinyl letters used in 1965. The C-pillars featured Peter Brock’s Plexiglass windows, and a Shelby-logo gas cap replaced the Mustang gas cap found on 1965 cars. The galloping Mustang was moved off-center on the new horizontal bar grille, to the driver’s side, and visible through the windshield was the prominent tachometer mounted atop the dash.
Underneath, the Carry-Over models received the modified front suspension and Koni shocks, along with the over-riding traction bars on the rear axles. Wheels and tires remained 15-inches for these Shelbys, while the rest of 1966 production received smaller 14-inch wheels as standard equipment (with 15-inch wheels remaining optional). The battery remained under the hood, not relocated to the trunk, and CarryoverGT350.com advises that Carry-Over Shelbys used an exhaust that exited the rear valence (though at least one example, the car to be sold in Connecticut, currently sports a side-exit exhaust like the 1965 cars).
As with the 1965 models, power for all 1966 models came from Ford’s K-code 289 V-8, upgraded by Shelby with a high-riser intake manifold, a 750 cubic-foot-per-minute Holley four-barrel carburetor, headers and a low-restriction exhaust to produce 306 horsepower, compared to the stock engine’s 271hp. The majority came with Borg-Warner T-10M four-speed manual transmissions, though a three-speed automatic (as used in most Hertz Shelby G.T. 350 models) also joined the lineup for 1966. In the hands of a capable driver, the G.T. 350 was said to dash from 0-60 MPH in under seven seven seconds, on the way to a 14.7-second quarter-mile at 91 MPH.
6S163 runs at an in-period autocross event.
Shelby G.T. 350 6S163 was reportedly used as a dealer demonstrator and competition car by a Ford dealership in Framingham, Massachusetts. Sold to a local customer, the car racked up 55,000 miles over the next 10 years, but circa 1976, the car’s one-and-only owner parked the Shelby in a storage garage, where it sat for the next four decades.
Offered in “as found” condition, with five Cragar Shelby mag wheels, the unrestored G.T. 350 is said to include every receipt and service document since new, including the original bill of sale. Offered at no reserve, Bonhams expects the Shelby to sell between $90,000 and $120,000 when it crosses the auction stage in Connecticut.
For more details on the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance auction, visit Bonhams.com.