’69 Shelby GT350 still packs a punch in style

When the Ford Mustang was introduced in 1964, it was an immediate winner, but it wasn’t a performance car.

Three engines were available: a 101-horsepower, 170-cubic-inch straight six cylinder; a 164-horsepower, 260-cubic-inch V-8; and a 210-horsepower, 289-cubic-inch V-8 engine. With its styling so popular, Ford sought to make it a performance vehicle in addition to just a “sporty” car. They needed something to compete with the Chevrolet Corvette. Ford Motor Co. contacted Carroll Shelby.

This car started out as a Ford Mustang, but there’s no Ford identification on this edition’s car and it is officially registered with the California DMV as a 1969 Shelby GT350H. Shelby America took the partially built Mustang and created the Shelby GT350. The front fenders, trunk lid and hood, along with other parts, are made of fiberglass while the rest of the Mustang body is steel. The suspension is different as well.

Shelby needed a model designation for this new car. Often the moniker has some significant meaning. In this case, “GT” stands for “Gran Turismo,” used frequently by different car manufacturers from time to time for performance models, but what does the “350” indicate? Could it be the engine size or horsepower? No, says owner Chuck Sellman, of Dublin. Evidently, model designation was not a high priority for Carroll Shelby, as one day he asked one of his key managers how far it was from the office building to the workshops. The manager answered it was 350 feet, and thus this model was called the “GT350.” But what about the “H?”

These Shelby GT350 models were pretty pricey, about $6,000 ($45,500 today), yet they were highly desirable. Shelby and Hertz put a deal together in which Hertz bought 1,001 “rent-a-racer” cars and had them available at their rent-a-car locations all over the country. The letter “H” was added …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

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