The Classic Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 was launched in 1967 as an antidote to the weight gained by the general mustang facelift. Carol Shelby was already successful at building and racing cars, notably the British AC re-worked by Ford into the AC Cobra. The first Mustang to get the Shelby treatment was in 1965 and that was the Shelby GT350. Although the GT's were successful in various race classes the Mustang BOSS range were to take over where the GT left off.
The Mustang Shelby GT500 was built around the Fastback version initially but in '68 Shelby started producing convertible 350's and 500's. Whilst at least the fastback had race pedigree they were street legal cars that anyone would be happy enough to own and run. Except the stripped down GT350R version that was custom built for track or strip.
When the GT500 was introduced in 1967 the Shelby GT's already loosing their track credibility largely due to the direction it was going in. Too many bits added for styling and too little emphasis on performance led to a car that looked great on the street but limited on the track.
The car ceased being produced by 1970 and a Mustang badged GT would not appear again until 1982. From 2007 Shelby GT500 Mustangs hit the streets again with the latest chassis and some serious muscle and great Shelby Cobra styling.
Shelby had used Ford power plant to good effect in his previous race machines. The 350GT would start out life with the small block 289-ci V8 High performance engine that would give it a respectable 306-hp.
The GT500, however, would be loaded with a 428-ci V8 big block developing some 355-hp. There were thoughts of bigger and better and a single prototype was afforded the 427-ci 520-hp Ford racing engine. The car was suitable nicknamed the Super Snake and I bet that's what it did.
The first Mustang to be given the Shelby treatment came to life in 1965 as the Mustang Shelby GT350. From the outset Shelby as a racer wanted to build a true race car and that's what he got.
A car that could compete in SCCA racing had to have a production of 100 cars. Ford wanted a proper production model one that could sell as a Hot street machine to boost the Pony cars image. This slight conflict of interests was accommodated initially but would always inhibit the Shelby as as the years proceeded.
There were plenty of styling details to the Shelby Mustangs. Starting off with the GT350 that had a simple triple side stripe with the G.T.350 embedded on the side fender. This detail would be carried through until 1968. Later models would change slightly with the loss of the dots and positioned towards the nose of the car.
Not all GT's would sport wide central front to back twin or triple stripes but this strong detailing carries forward on Shelby's right to this day. That along with famous Cobra logo.