While Ford’s legion of Mustangs have long been regarded as quick but powerful cars, the Shelby Mustang all but cemented the company’s future racing pedigree.
While the name ‘Ford’ is often associated with the family style sedans that we see on an everyday basis right here in Australia, in a different time the Ford Motor Company pioneered vehicles that partnered innovation, practicality and style. So much so, that Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford is now regarded as the pioneer of the assembly line mode of production. In turn, this revolutionised the automotive industry, and ultimately helped Ford to sell millions of cars around the world.
After the death of Henry Ford, the company was determined to retain its status as an automotive titan in the United States marketplace. It wasn’t long until the 1950’s arrived, and Americans in particular were jubilant at the prospect of no war, higher incomes and a better overall lifestyle. The major car production firms at the time were all too aware of this, and began to pay serious attention when it came down to delivering the people what they wanted – fast cars, without sacrificing comfort.
As a means to give the people what they want, the first Ford Mustang arrived to the American marketplace with nothing short of a roar. In continuous production since 1964, the Mustang is currently the longest-produced Ford car nameplate and has remained just as popular now as it once was over sixty years ago.
As the namesake of the “pony car” automobile segment, the Mustang was developed as a highly styled line of sporty coupes and convertibles derived from existing model lines, initially distinguished by “long hood, short deck” proportion, it spawned Ford’s competitors to release their own similar models as a means to keep up. However, not all Mustangs were created equally, and the Shelby Mustang is still regarded as the jewel in the Ford crown – so how did it come to life?
The Shelby Mustang Gallops Into The Market
Though there are many variations of the Shelby Mustang, the one thing they all have in common is a blend of performance features and race-inspired looks that turn heads. In a nutshell, the Shelby Mustang is a high-performance variant of the original Ford Mustang, and was produced by Ford between 1965 and 1967 as the first generation, along with a second generation between 1968 and 1970. The name plate was also given to a revival of the Ford Mustang for it’s fifth generation, which was released to the global marketplace as recently as 2005.
However, the first Shelby Mustang wasn’t brought to life by the same folks at Ford that created the original ‘pony car’. Amidst their ongoing feud with Ferrari, Ford enlisted the services of renowned automotive legend Carroll Shelby and his team as a means to develop their race program. Born and bred in Texas, Shelby was quite simply a man that had been obsessed with speed his entire life, with just a handful of his more illustrious career highlights including piloting land based vehicles and airplanes in World War II, racing Aston Martins professionally in Europe, and being named Sports Illustrated’s “Sports Car Driver Of The Year” not once, but twice. Needless to say, Shelby was a man who knew his engines, and how they needed to be able to perform to meet market demand.
When tasked by Ford with building a race car out of the existing Mustang, Shelby responded to the call by asking “you want me to make a racehorse out of a mule?” – but mule or not, the very first Shelby Mustang GT350 hit the market in 1965. The first GT350 featured a number of additional exterior details that set it apart from the other Mustang models, such as a one-inch thick Monte Carlo bar, a pronounced functional hood scoop, and modified steering. The handling was also significantly improved thanks to the new fifteen inch wheels, which were originally fitted with low-angle nylon cord Goodyear tires. Like most things on the car, the tyres straddled the worlds of Main Street cruising and the racetrack, and were rated up to a whopping 130mph.
Today, the humble Shelby Mustang is a name synonymous with speed and style. It’s popularity proved to be one of longevity, and is regarded as one of the most sought after classic cars in the automotive community. While Ford’s pony car stable collection is certainly vast, not many hold the high esteem that the Shelby Mustang has managed to maintain all of these years later.
Getting Your Hands On A Classic Car
Finding a fellow vintage auto enthusiast can feel a bit like finding a needle in a haystack, but rest assured that Classic’s Garage understands the thrill more than most. Having spent forty years collecting anything and everything from matchbox cars to hub caps, he’s successfully followed his passion to source, collect and stock beautiful and low mileage classic automobiles from around the world. With extensive experience in the automotive industry, it was only a matter of time before Wayne expanded on his love of vintage, iconic vehicles to share his knowledge and passion with the public.
Although his passion is for automobiles built before 1978, with a particular love for Buicks, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Oldsmobiles and even Fords, Wayne is just as passionate about the stories of the owners. Just like the cars, he has found that his fellow classic car enthusiasts all have wildly different attractions and logic behind their passion or hobby, and this often translates into how the car is presented. If it’s even remotely different, rare or just plain unusual, Wayne will overcome the relevant logistical and geographical challenges of bringing the cars to his showroom in Australia.
Classic’s Garage is a showroom conveniently located at Seventeen Mile Rocks, that specialises in the restoration and sales of vintage automobiles. In fact, he’s got a medley of fully restored models in stock right now, which can be viewed online via Wayne’s Collection. If you’re on the hunt for Brisbane classic cars – quite simply, Wayne is your man. If you would like to arrange a viewing or inspect any other of our classic vehicles, please get in touch with us today.