The 1965 Shelby GT350 had a 306-horsepower V8 Engine and was available in just one color scheme that helped make it instantly recognizable. These cars were all Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue rocker stripes or, for about 28 percent of those produced, Le Mans top stripes that ran the length of the whole car. The cars were often called Cobras in reference to the two-seater sports cars Shelby also produced at the time.
These Mustangs also had Cobra emblems and optional valve covers to tie them more closely to the Shelby brand. They started out as stock Mustangs with 4-speed manual transmissions and 9-inch live rear axles, but Shelby America added high-riser manifolds, Tri-Y headers, and larger rear drum brakes with metallic-linings.
Kelsey-Hayes front disc brakes were also added. The ’65 Shelby GT350 was not built for pleasure cruises, but specifically for racing under SCAA rules and was the B-Production champion three years in a row.
In 1966 they made it more comfortable with rear seats, color options, and an optional automatic transmission for the public. The trend continued with more options, and weight, being added over the years. This reduced their competitiveness and by 1969, Carol Shelby wasn’t even involved with the program.
Ford designed the final two years of the original Shelbys in-house with plenty of power, but not the racing prowess of the early models making a 1965 Shelby GT350 a breed of its of its own.