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2019 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350 First Drive

Pontiac, MI - The GT350 history was born from Ford's desire to have the Blue Oval badge shine on the track. When it arrived in 1964, the Mustang was very pretty and very popular, but not really that sporty. Ford decided to entrust a batch of them to Carroll Shelby, the man behind the Cobra; the automotive designer had slipped big Ford engines into a small British AC chassis to make that unique model.

Ford wanted to succeed on the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) circuit and needed muscle to do it. But to be able to enter a car there, it was first necessary for the company to build a minimum of 100 models destined for the real world, the road. So off went a batch of cars built in San Jose, California, to Shelby's small workshop on the grounds of the Los Angeles airport. The cars arrived without a hood, or a rear seat or a radio, and equipped with steel wheels.

On site, Shelby's team modified the 289 engine slightly to pull 306 hp from it, the suspension was lowered, the brakes were modified for more bite and a fiberglass hood was added. Obviously, beautiful stylized wheels replaced the manufacturer's steel wheels.

All Shelby GT350s would be white with a blue stripe on the lower rocker panel; the two blue stripes on the hood and roof were optional. A total of 562 Mustang GT350s were produced in 1965 including a prototype, four pace cars, two racing R prototypes and 34 R racing cars.

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