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Friday, May 6, 2016

Shelby GT350 Barn Find is a True ‘60s Time Capsule

BOLD RIDE

Copyright © 2016 Bold Ride LLC.
 
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Few vehicles in this world excite the performance car masses quite like the vaunted Shelby GT350 Mustang. When it arrived new in 1965, it was nothing short of a phenomenon—both on road and the racetrack—and today collectors go wild for these pieces of GT350 history. 
 
But not this one. In fact, until recently no one really even knew this car still existed. In 1976, its original owner rolled it into storage and that is exactly where it has sat over the 40 years since.

Now, the barn find Shelby GT350 has emerged from its life-long resting place, and will go up for auction at Bonhams’ June event in Greenwich, Connecticut. It’s said to be preserved in “as found” condition, and if you’ve got enough coin, it’s estimated to bring between $80,000 and $120,000 when the gavel drops.

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Interestingly, it’s no ordinary Shelby GT350 either; this Mustang fastback is said to be one of Shelby’s rare “carryover” cars.

In mid-1965, Shelby was beginning to transition from building ’65 GT350s to pumping-out ’66 GT350s, which famously brought with them updated styling. However in order to keep the production lines moving all summer, Shelby needed a large glut of stock Mustang GTs ready for modification. The reason? Ford’s Mustang plant would shut down for a period while machinery was retooled.

A claimed 250 ‘65 Ford Mustang GTs (and two ’66 prototypes) were preemptively sent to Shelby before the factory lines halted, allowing Shelby to “carryover” production from 1965 cars to ’66 cars.

 This was one of them, and according to Barn Finds, these rare birds mix some unique features from both years—for instance the black-painted 289 HiPo V8, lowered A-arms, axle housings, and traction bars from the ‘65s, with the new grille, rear scoops, side stripes, gas cap, and steering wheel of the ’66s.



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According to the auction house, this Shelby GT350 was originally used as a demonstrator and competition model by a Ford dealership in Framingham, Massachusetts. After that tenure it was sold to its first (and only) owner, accumulating 55,000 miles between 1966 and 1976. At that point it was put into storage, and it had been there ever since, remaining markedly absent from even the Shelby American registry.

The car is ‘lost’ no longer, though. And despite its rather shabby barn find appearance, it still looks like a superstar. Talk about automotive archaeology. The question is this, though: leave it as-is, or restore it?