Highly Correct Double-Digit 1965-Year Model GT 350. Matching-Numbers, Accompanied by SAAC Authentication Letter.
1965 Shelby GT350 Mustang
Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue Le Mans Stripes
More than fifty years ago Carroll Shelby put his name on the first 1965 Mustang fastback. Packing the potent 289/271 hp engine and a host of precise improvements, Shelby American transformed the Mustang into the now legendary Shelby GT 350. The already potent Hi-Po “K-Code” engine package was robust from a power perspective, but it needed just a bit of clever suspension engineering, fine tuning, and a dose of Shelby’s spicey marketing to drum up media interest. Bolstered by Ford racing dollars and track support, it didn’t take long to get the word out – if you wanted a capable American performance car that could compete against any of the high-priced European offerings, the GT350 was a great choice. Not only was the GT350 a superb performance car, utilizing the proven Mustang platform, enthusiasts could enjoy American reliability and sports car handling without worrying about costly maintenance or difficulty acquiring parts. The Shelby GT350 immediately distinguished itself on the racetrack, besting Jaguars, Tigers, and Corvettes through the corners or down the backstretch.
As the inaugural offering, the 1965 model was built to meet the minimum homologation efforts for SCCA racing. Although eventually 521 1965 GT350s would be built that year, the San Jose Ford plant constructed and delivered the first shipment of 100 cars to the Shelby American Inc., Venice, CA assembly plant, all of which were painted Wimbledon White and trimmed with black interior. The first of these 100 cars, now referred to as “Double Digit” cars, are distinguished by their serial number signifying construction within that first production sequence. These double-digit cars featured details unique to early series production models developed specifically for the 1965 model year including a rear mounted battery, a weight distribution decision to improve cornering. Ultimately deemed too costly a modification, the later series cars retained their front-mounted batteries as delivered from the Ford factory. Other Shelby modifications included converting the rear seating area to a lighter weight storage platform, relocation of the spare tire atop the storage platform, a 16” Shelby Cobra steering wheel, Koni adjustable shock absorbers front and rear, anti-tramp bars fitted above the rear axle, cables to limit rear axle travel, a prop shaft safety loop, aircraft style 3” safety belts, Autolite battery (rear mounted in early versions) and a special dash binnacle mounted at the center of the dash including a tachometer and oil pressure gauge. Rare in number when produced, many were raced, damaged, or modified as the years progressed. Locating an original example with known history from new is both rare and remarkable.
Authenticated March 17, 2021 by Howard Pardee/SAAC Registry (certificate on file with the car) and retaining its original matching numbers engine, this Shelby GT350, SFM5S077 is a documented double-digit example built within the first 100 cars. Constructed February 19, 1965 and completed March 31, 1965, the 289 Hi-Po engine, Borg Warner T-10 4-speed side loader transmission, 3.89:1 Detroit Locker rear end, and suspension modifications were prepared per build specifications and then tagged for the installation of special-order items per customer order. SFM5S077 was outfitted with R-Model magnesium racing wheels (American Racing Torque-Thrust). The original engine is reported to have been outfitted with three two-barrel Holley carburetors (Six-Pack) atop a specially built Shelby intake manifold. Though documentation for this being fitted from Shelby American is not on file with the car, the current set up is very original and properly prepared for the car.
Upon completion, SFM5S077 was shipped to District Sales Office 9 (DSO number marked on the radiator support) Paradise Ford Sales Inc., Scottsdale, AZ along with two other Shelby cars, 068 and 075, all three of which were ordered and processed through Paradise Ford. Copies of documentation accompanying the car include the sales invoice dated March 31, 1965 for $3,646.00 plus $220.00 for “special alloy wheels” totaling $3,955.50 including freight. A $4.02 warranty service receipt is also documented on December 2, 1965 with service for a cracked air filter seal, processed through Paradise Ford. The first owner took possession of the car and immediately pulled the engine for blueprinting along with some conversions performed to bring the car to “R” model racing specifications. The fuel tank was replaced with an R model unit for quick fueling, the front apron was changed out with an open center front valence panel, and the six-pack carburetors were replaced with four twin downdraft Weber units. Though racing history is not known with certainty, according to documentation on file the car was never significantly damaged during the period it was raced. In 1976 the second owner returned the car to the original configuration utilizing a Mustang front valance (stamped steel date coded to 1970) and a standard Ford gas tank. Today, these items are regarded as the only non-original parts that make up the car in its current condition. Even the original order six-pack carburetors are mounted in place, as they were when ordered new and delivered by Shelby American.
During the restoration process, every effort was made to retain all original parts, many of which had survived for so many years unmolested and retained with the car. Great care was given to preserve the original matching numbers engine and all body panels as originally delivered on the car with the exception of the front valance panel which had been replaced when new for racing use. Correct factory finishes and hardware were applied throughout the car with particular care given to the mechanical features, correct Shelby parts, and authentic finishes. In recent years SFM5S077 has been driven with regularity by the current owner with general care and detailing provided as needed. As an early production car, this GT 350 is not only one of the most highly desired first year double-digit examples, it must be counted as one of the more desirable examples in existence today, complete with the shelf mounted spare tire, trunk mounted battery, and spring-delete fiberglass hood with front mounted retaining pins.
Today this Shelby GT 350 presents in excellent overall condition. The Wimbledon White paint is glossy and properly prepared, reflective of the original factory finish but now showing some flex cracks behind the driver’s entry area and a bit of general paint aging in select areas. Overall, the paint presentation is driver level and suitable for touring events. The Guardsman blue metallic body stripes are correctly applied with correct metal flake and smooth coverage. The stripe width and proper matching rocker panel stripes are correctly done as well. The hood, doors, and trunk lid show excellent panel gaps and proper fitting to the body panels. The exterior chrome and various polished trim, emblems, and badges are all in excellent condition, having been properly finished per original specifications. The glass, lenses, and lighting have very nice factory finishes overall with newer rubber and gasket material installed during the glass out restoration, all of which still appear in excellent condition. The rare CS aluminum wheels are in exceptional condition with correctly polished surfaces, showing no significant scratches or marks and correctly finished satin cast recessed areas, capped in the center with CS emblem chrome plated hubs. The tires are newer type BF Goodrich Radial TA 215/65 R15. The car is outfitted with correct side exit exhaust, a feature unique to 1965 models only.
The interior has been faithfully restored using correct interior components, proper materials, and attention to detail including the instrument panels, contoured Shelby tach and oil pressure binnacle, a beautiful dash pad, very nicely finished instruments, and authentic pleated door panels. A minor concession to driving pleasure, a pair of 1970s stereo speakers most likely installed in period are mounted in the lower spare tire tray behind each seat back. The interior is finished off with low pile carpeting and wide Shelby racing seat belts. Of particular note, the extremely rare and original 16” wood rimmed Shelby steering wheel is in excellent condition including the center emblem which houses the COBRA name and insignia.
Under the all fiberglass hood, correct for an early ’65 GT 350 the original matching numbers 289/271 HiPo engine has been rebuilt using proper components including the impossibly rare factory ordered Holley Six-Pack carburetors, concealed beneath the distinctive COBRA air cleaner. The painted finishes throughout the engine compartment have been applied with originality in mind, using correct hardware, hose clamps, hoses, and wiring. The finish overall is beautifully done and properly presented without overkill or overdone polish beyond the original style castings and satin paints used when new. The car was certainly prepared for show during the restoration and yet though some time has lapsed since the restoration was completed, SFM5S077 continues to be an excellent representative of the earliest series Shelby GT350.
Underneath the car, the stamped factory steel, welds, and fasteners appear to have no significant deviations from originally constructed factory cars. The larger capacity cast aluminum COBRA oil pan is in excellent condition, as is the casting for the T10 transmission, correct leaf springs, and small chamber mufflers fitted to the side exhaust. Certainly, exhibiting evidence of use over the years, the red oxide paint is still in place on the unibody floor, though finishes are more authentic than fully restored, likely a combination of original and restored components, once again in support of the history.
The car starts easily and settles into a potent and familiar HiPo V8 idle that delivers a snappy sound from the side exit exhaust. The racing heritage is immediately felt as you climb inside, clasp the racing seat belt, grip the wooden racing steering wheel and select first gear. Acceleration is brisk off the line and power progressive as the engine winds into the higher revs and the six-pack carburetors open up to deliver even more than 306 horsepower from the already potent stock Hi-Po 289. SFM5S077 is very nicely sorted, and like all 1965 Shelbys, the lighter V8 engine delivers great handling as well as fine braking from the combined front disc/rear drum set up. Ride is composed and solid when underway at freeway speeds; jaunty but in keeping with racing of the period. The end result is a very well-resolved performance car with legendary handling and plenty of power on tap. The car is accompanied by a Shelby GT350 owner’s manual, 1965 Mustang owner’s manual, spare keys, a box of older Shelby American Auto Club newsletters, a spare heater fan, spare differential pumpkin, car cover, scissor jack and tire tools, and a set of GT350 branded floor mats.
This early series double-digit 1965 Shelby GT 350 is not only a wonderfully equipped and rare Shelby, it’s ready for enjoyable driving and showing without the mechanical needs so many rare and often fussy performance cars demand from their owners. Correctly prepared from a highly original example and preserved over recent years, this original engine six-pack optioned Shelby is a well-balanced performance car, eager to deliver the best in driving excitement, behind the wheel of a motorsports legend.
The above vehicle information is complete and accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time it is posted to this website. Corrections or additional information is always appreciated. All advertised prices exclude government fees and taxes, any finance charges, any dealer document preparation charge, and any emission testing charge. Vehicles are subject to prior sale. All advertised to be true but not guaranteed. We assume no liability for errors or omissions.
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