Miles Cook
December 1, 2001
Photos By: Jeff Ford

Having owned this Grabber Green '70 Shelby GT350 convertible since 1983, as well as 50 other Mustangs and 14 other Shelbys since 1975, has given Robert Stroup a true appreciation of the Shelby mystique. He's also had plenty of time to unearth the car's interesting and unusual background. Originally a Shelby Automotive pool car for company officials before being sold in Florida, it still has less than 48,000 miles on the ticker.

Unfortunately, those low miles didn't mean the car was in clean, unrestored condition, and it took the dedication of a real grassroots enthusiast to get it back to what you see here.

"The car was partially disassembled and repainted white with black stripes," Robert told us. "Although it had been taken off the road in 1975, most of the pieces to the car were included. I had to come up with only the wheels." While you might think Robert was a lucky guy, the fact that the Shelby needed a total restoration wasn't the best of news. However, one source of help came from his son, Clay, who owns a show-quality '69 GT350 drop-top that served as the perfect reference for restoring Robert's car.

Starting in 1993, it took Robert six years to bring this car back to its former glory in his home shop, which is a converted barn. In fact, he tells us, "The bodyman, the painter, and the convertible-top man worked out of my shop during time away from their regular jobs."

Speaking of having the car painted, Robert told us when he started restoring the car, everyone wanted him to change the original Grabber Green color. Smartly deciding to stay with the factory hue, he now reports that everyone who sees the car says it's one of their favorite colors for later-model Shelbys.

Robert's efforts have paid off in the form of a show trophy that proves the car as a top-notch restoration in its first outing. At the May 2001 Indiana Spring Fling, Robert and his green ragtop walked off with First Place in the '69-'70 Shelby convertible class. All in all, it's simply a fine example of the GT350's final hurrah.

That's the scoop on who's done what with the car and where it's been; but our favorite part is always the hardware side of the equation and here you'll find a 351W small-block with an Autolite 4300 470-cfm four-barrel carb. Rebuilt along with the rest of the car, it's backed by an FMX automatic trans and a limited-slip axle that has 3.25:1 gears. Optional engine equipment includes a Shelby aluminum intake manifold and Cobra valve covers.

Riding on the original '69-'70 Shelby 15-inch wheels, the only nonfactory-appearing items are the BFGoodrich Radial T/A skins in a 215/65R15 at each corner for when Robert takes it to shows and occasional cruise nights near his Almont, Michigan, home.

As we said at the outset, Robert is a die-hard Mustang fan and this is further evident by the number of Ponies in his stable. The current fold includes a '65 K-code Mustang GT convertible that we featured in 1983, a '65 Shelby GT350, a '66 Shelby GT350H, and two more Mustang convertibles of the '66 and the '69 vintage. If these cars don't qualify Robert as a Mustang and Shelby aficionado of the highest order, then we don't know what does.