Shelby Cobra History / Carroll Shelby History

Many people who know about the 1966 Shelby Cobra learned it from the movie “Gone in Sixty Seconds,” about a man, played by Nicolas Cage, who had to steal several collector cars in a 24 hour period or be killed by a ruthless gangster. But a real 1966 Shelby Cobra was sold a few years ago for more than $5 million, which was a record price for an American car sold at an auction.lets have a look at the History of Shelby cars in the 1960s and how they hit the limelight at the time.

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1964-1965

In September 1964 Ford Motor Company and Shelby America formed a partnership to build high-performance Mustangs. Ford starts shipping stripped down Mustangs to Shelby and lets him do whatever he wants to them. The first 1965 Shelby GT 350 race and production cars were built in late 1964. They were only offered in white, and Shelby added a blue stripe down the side with the words GT 350. Under the hood Shelby put in an aluminum intake, which pushed the horsepower from 271 to 306; they also added a Borg-Warner T-10 four-speed transmission. The suspension received a larger front stabilizer bar, Koni shocks, and traction bars as well as a 1″ sway bar. On the more cosmetic side, the Mustangs were fitted with fiberglass hoods with functional scoops. The rear seat was removed to make way for the spare tire and competition seat belts were put in. These models were put on the market in January of 1965. They did not sell fast, but car enthusiasts were buying them, which was the target market.

In March of 1965, Shelby America moved production of the Mustangs to the Los Angeles International Airport. They started work on what would be the 1966 model. The 1966 GT350 would be offered in more than one color. It was available in black, red, green, and blue. Shelby America also offered a supercharged version of the GT350 as well as a convertible model. In November of 1965 Shelby works out a deal with Hertz to build Shelby GT 350H. He was initially given an order for 200, which is later upped to 1000.

1966-1967

The 1967 model year of the Shelby cars offered a new style. Ford was building a tougher looking car, and Shelby made it even more muscular by adding two scoops to the side and a spoiler. Many of the body components on the GT 350 were made of fiberglass. The biggest addition to the Shelby lineup was the GT 500. The Shelby 500 was the big-block version of the Shelby Mustang. It had a huge 428cu in. Police interceptor motor, which produced 355 horsepower. You could buy the car with either a C-6 Automatic Transmission or a Ford Toploader 4-Speed manual. It came with power steering and brakes. The 1966 Shelby is said to be still the fastest street legal car available, reportedly able to do 0-60 in just 3 seconds.

1968-1970

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There were not a lot of changes made for the 1968 model year, except for some pretty extensive name changes. The Shelby Mustangs for this year were called the Shelby Cobra, and the GT500 was released as the GT500KR for King of the Road. Most of the changes were cosmetic, and Shelby produced a large number of convertibles for this model year.

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In 1969 Ford completely redesigned the Mustang line. Shelby made some dramatic cosmetic changes to the car, he extended the entire nose of the car using fiberglass and put five scoops on the hood alone. The engine was the same but was also offered as a 351. 1969 would be the last year of the Shelby Mustangs. As sales slowed dramatically, the partnership between Ford and Shelby America ended. The remaining 1969 models would be updated to 1970 specifications and sold. In December of 1969 Shelby America closed its doors. It would be the end of an era for American muscle cars. Experts consider the 1969 Shelby Cobra to be the epitome of high-performance muscle cars.