1966 Shelby Mustang GT350: The Ultimate American Muscle Car


If you’re a car enthusiast, you’ve probably heard of the Shelby Mustang GT350, a true American classic. The 1966 model year marked a turning point for the GT350, with a slew of upgrades and changes that made it an even more powerful and sought-after muscle car. In this article, we’ll dive into the history of the 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350, explore its features and specs, and examine what makes it such a beloved and iconic vehicle.

Overview

The Shelby Mustang GT350 was first introduced in 1965 as a high-performance version of the Ford Mustang, designed by Carroll Shelby and his team of engineers. It was a car that combined the power of American muscle with the handling and precision of a sports car. The 1966 model year saw a number of upgrades and changes that made the GT350 an even better-performing car.

History

Origins of the GT350

The story of the Shelby Mustang GT350 begins with Carroll Shelby, a former race car driver and designer who had already made a name for himself in the automotive industry. In 1964, Shelby was approached by Ford with the idea of creating a high-performance version of their new Mustang.

Shelby and his team set to work on the project, taking the stock Mustang and adding a number of upgrades and modifications to create a true muscle car. The resulting GT350 was a success, and Ford continued to produce the car through the mid-1960s.

Changes for 1966

The 1966 model year saw a number of upgrades and changes to the GT350. The biggest change was the introduction of a more powerful engine, a modified version of the Ford 289 V8 that produced 306 horsepower. Other changes included a redesigned grille, revised suspension, and a number of interior upgrades.

Production Numbers

In total, 1,370 Shelby Mustang GT350s were produced for the 1966 model year. Of these, 1,000 were street models and 370 were competition models.

Design and Features

Exterior Design

The 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 had a distinctive and aggressive look, with a redesigned grille, hood, and rear fascia. The car also featured racing stripes, side scoops, and a rear spoiler.

Interior Design

The GT350’s interior was designed with performance in mind, featuring a number of upgrades over the standard Mustang. These included high-back bucket seats, a wood-rimmed steering wheel, and a roll bar.

Engine and Performance

The GT350’s modified 289 V8 engine produced 306 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque, making it one of the most powerful muscle cars of its time. The car was also equipped with a four-speed manual transmission and a limited-slip differential.

Suspension and Brakes

The GT350’s suspension was revised for 1966, with stiffer springs, heavy-duty shocks, and a thicker front sway bar. The car also featured front disc brakes, a rarity for production cars at the time.

 

Wheels and Tires

The GT350 came equipped with 15-inch wheels and Goodyear Blue Streak racing tires, which provided excellent traction and handling.

Legacy and Impact

Racing Success

The Shelby Mustang GT350 was a successful race car, competing in a number of events and winning a number of championships. In 1966, a GT350 driven by Jerry Titus won the SCCA B-Production national championship.

Popularity and Collectibility

The Shelby Mustang GT350 was a popular car in its day, and remains a beloved and collectible vehicle today. Its combination of power and performance, along with its iconic design, has made it a highly sought-after car among collectors and enthusiasts.

Influence on Automotive Design

The Shelby Mustang GT350 had a significant influence on the automotive industry and car design in general. It set a new standard for performance and handling, and helped to popularize the idea of a high-performance street car.

Buying a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350

If you’re in the market for a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350, there are a number of factors to consider before making a purchase.

Price and Value

The price of a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 can vary widely depending on its condition and originality. A fully restored example can fetch upwards of $150,000, while a car in need of restoration can be had for much less.

Condition and Restoration

When buying a GT350, it’s important to inspect the car thoroughly and ensure that it’s in good condition. Rust and other forms of corrosion can be a major issue, as can mechanical problems and other issues. If you’re considering a car that needs restoration, be prepared for a significant investment of time and money.

Documentation and Authenticity

When buying a GT350, it’s important to ensure that the car is authentic and has the proper documentation. This includes the car’s original Shelby VIN tag, which should match the car’s body and engine numbers. It’s also important to verify the car’s history and any modifications that may have been made over the years.

Conclusion

The 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 is a true American classic and an icon of the muscle car era. With its powerful engine, sleek design, and racing heritage, it’s no wonder the GT350 has captured the hearts and imaginations of car enthusiasts around the world. Whether you’re a collector, racer, or just a fan of classic cars, the 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 is a must-see and a must-have.

 

FAQs

  1. What makes the 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 special?

The 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 was a high-performance muscle car that combined the power of American muscle with the handling and precision of a sports car. Its distinctive design and racing heritage make it an icon of the automotive industry.

  1. How many 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350s were produced?

A total of 1,370 Shelby Mustang GT350s were produced for the 1966 model year, with 1,000 street models and 370 competition models.

  1. What kind of engine does the 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 have?

The 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 is equipped with a modified version of the Ford 289 V8 engine, which produces 306 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque.

  1. Can you still buy a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 today?

Yes, it’s still possible to buy a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 today, although they are rare and highly sought-after vehicles.

  1. How much does a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 cost?

The price of a 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350 can vary widely depending on its condition and originality. A fully restored example can fetch upwards of $150,000, while a car in need of restoration can be had for much less.






Related Posts

The Legend Reborn: A Modified 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 6-Speed with an Unrivaled 45-Year Legacy

The 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 is an automotive icon revered for its timeless beauty, thrilling performance, and rich heritage. This brilliant white example, equipped with…

Experience the Timeless Allure of the Iconic 1957 Oldsmobile

The 1957 Oldsmobile is a automotive icon that exemplifies postwar American car design and embodies the essence of a true classic. With its dramatic styling, powerful…

The Legendary 1966 Pontiac GTO

The Pontiac GTO is an icon of American muscle cars. While muscle cars had existed before, the 1966 GTO really put them on the map and…

1963 Ford Galaxie: American Muscle Car Legend

The 1963 Ford Galaxie evokes a feeling of nostalgia and simpler times. This full-sized beauty defined the pinnacle of style and performance in the early 1960s,…

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air

In the heart of a forgotten barn, an automotive gem lay in pieces, waiting to be revived. The year was 1955 when the classic Chevrolet Bel…

1958 Chevrolet Nomad: A Classic Beauty Revived

In the realm of classic cars, few stand as tall and proud as the 1958 Chevrolet Nomad. With its captivating design, unparalleled charm, and a history…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *