Jerry Heasley
November 27, 2014
Photos By: Jim Paine

“I didn’t think at first I had any interest in the car,” Jim Paine said. Parked for about 40 years, covered with parts, the hood and front nose section pulled and laying on the shop floor, the ’67 Shelby G.T. 350 was “pretty scary” at first sight to Paine. However, as the car enthusiast from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, circled the historic Shelby in this dimly lit early 20th century red brick building in Canton, Ohio, he began to realize what he had found was most certainly the real deal.

On closer inspection, Paine could tell the disheveled heap had never been altered. The engine and transmission looked original. Nobody had cut the fenders. The interior was intact. Paine could see traces of rust and corrosion on metal parts under the hood. The chrome around the taillights where the car butted up against a wall for all those years was beyond repair. However, the floors were solid and the body panels also appeared rust-free.

This ’67 G.T. 350 has been out of circulation for about 40 years.

As Paine walked around the ’67 he asked questions on his cell phone with his longtime friend, Rick Parker of Columbus, Ohio. Parker has owned and restored many Shelby Mustangs. The original color was Brittany Blue, Parker explained as Paine fed him codes off the Shelby. Was the engine under the hood the original 289 High Performance? The answer was yes. Did the 289 still have its original Hi-Po Autolite four-barrel? Yes, it did. What was not to love?

Parker looked up the VIN in the Shelby Registry. This ’67 sold new at Marv Tonkin Ford in Portland, Oregon. G.T. 350 production for 1967 was 1,175 units, far less than the ’67 G.T. 500 at 2,048, Parker pointed out. As the information mounted, Paine says he started to fall in love with the car.

His courtship had begun with a tip about an old Shelby in a warehouse in Canton. Marsh Beldon, owner of the Canton Classic Car Museum was the contact. “I called him and asked if I could come down and take a look at the car. He said. ‘Well, we don’t have a title for it.’ I think he was a little bit reluctant to show me the car because he was at that point of thinking he would keep it.”

Inside the wood wheel was intact, ditto for the automatic shifter, inertia-reel shoulder harnesses, tachometer, and twin-pod gauge cluster beneath the radio. The interior, like the rest of the G.T. 350, was intact.

Funny thing, Beldon had found this Shelby in a Rare Finds kind of way. About 10 years earlier, he purchased an old service station with contents in a section of Canton he was restoring. “They were putting up Victorian homes and actually moving homes from different parts of town. The service station was an eyesore. It had been there forever,” Paine said. The gas station’s contents would be a dream come true for many of us—an Edsel, a ’51 Mercury, and a ’67 G.T. 350 parked for no one really knows how long, but Beldon was told maybe 30 years. Beldon proceeded to park these three cars in his warehouse with other old cars. Ten more years passed. Oddly, the trio remained parked together, like old roommates.

In May 2014, Paine made his call. Beldon agreed to let Paine drive over from Pittsburgh (two hours) to look at the G.T. 350. “We negotiated and negotiated,” Paine said. “It took a long time. It took months, and finally he said, ‘you know it doesn’t fit my museum. It doesn’t fit what I’m into, which were the old Lincolns, the ’30s cars.’”

Paine bought the car in June 2014, but had to wait until August while Beldon applied for a lost title. Paine, meanwhile, verified the Shelby VIN had been assigned to the Ford VIN for this car. Everything checked out and the deal went through. Paine sent the car to Rick Parker’s Signature Auto Classics in Columbus for a rotisserie restoration. Paine is elated with his Rare Find. This factory Brittany Blue fastback came with the highly desirable in-board lights. All the parts seem to be there, including the fiberglass Shelby hood and the front nose section.