Jim Smart
July 1, 2008
Photos By: Mark Houlahan

Elvis impersonators; wealthy, gray-templed, middle-aged Wall Streeters doing that counter culture Easy Rider thing on well-dressed Harleys; daredevil bungee jumpers quaking in their shoes on high bridges; armchair aviators who spend their lives joy-sticking a flight simulator on personal computers [Hey, wait a minute!-Ed.]; pseudo tough guys playing war games in the woods with paintball guns. What do all of these people have in common? They aspire to be something or someone they're not. Of course, this isn't a bad thing, as imitation has always been the sincerest form of flattery.

People who build Mustangs to look like a classic Shelby model are an integral part of this "wanna be" crowd. They like what they see in real Shelby Mustangs, so they build a replica they can afford. There has always been a lot of controversy about Shelby clones. Purists despise them. Even the most daring hobbyists approach them cautiously, yet the masses continue to build them. There are more Shelby replicas than there are authentic Shelby cars (this holds true for most desirable classic cars, such as Z/28 Camaros and Hemi 'Cuda convertibles).

Do something over the top, and everyone wants to be like you. Carroll Shelby had no idea the sensation he created 44 years ago when Ford's Lee Iacocca invited him to give the new Mustang a performance image. All Shelby and his team at Shelby American did was turn the already-striking Mustang into a high-performance ponycar. They made it handle. They gave it more power. And they splashed on graphics with exciting body nuances to make the car more visually stimulating. It goes without saying that Shelby created a persona that people remain nutty about to this day. Young people who weren't even a flicker in the universe 44 years ago love classic Shelby Mustangs for their adrenaline-charged attitude.

When Lin Ramsey decided to build a '67 Shelby GT350 clone, he had no intention of trying to pass this car off as the real thing; he just knew what he wanted. He caught wind of this '67 Mustang fastback from his car club and a friend at his local Napa Auto Parts store. In fact, the car wasn't for sale, but there was the feeling it could be purchased given the right kind of perseverance. It was a restoration project that was collecting dust and progressing very, very slowly.

Lin set up a meeting with the owner and looked at the car. It lacked a driveline and interior and was obviously a long way from completion. This is where the absence of drive to complete a project pays off in another way because it brings with it an opportunity for someone else. Lin managed to talk the guy into selling. When he got it home, there were a lot of parts that had to be cataloged and properly stored. The process took several days and fostered abundant confusion as Lin had to figure out what went where, and what was still needed.

Luckily for Lin, the Mustang's body had solid floors, little rust, and was ready for finish work and paint. This made the trip to completion easier. He performed the bodywork and painting himself, cladding his ride in '00 Jaguar British Racing Green PPG two-stage paint and adding GT350 stripes in Ford Performance White. Lin bought his Shelby fiberglass from Mustangs Unlimited and spent a good deal of time massaging it to perfection because fiberglass is never anything you just bolt on.

Photo Gallery

View Photo Gallery