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1965 Shelby Mustang GT350 - Still In Good Hands
Jim Chism's '65 GT350 Has Always Been the Possession of True Shelby Enthusiasts
"Over the years, I got to know Wayne Curry, a longtime Shelby enthusiast and a permanent fixture at SAAC conventions. When Wayne passed away in 1999, I eventually purchased this car from his wife, Jeannie, in 2001."
And that's the story from Jim Chism, who has lovingly kept this piece of Mustang history at the top of its game after Wayne owned it for a very long time. Jim further elaborated by telling us, "The car was purchased new by a guy named Tom Holmes in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tom worked for Continental Motors, and actually worked on Shelbys and Cobras that were sold at the dealership. He drag-raced the car for a couple of years and then moved to St. Louis to go to work with Pontiac as a manufacturer's rep. In 1969 he sold the car to Dick Bloomerstock from Deslage, Missouri, who continued to race the car until 1975 when he sold the car to Wayne Curry. The car has documented dragstrip passes at tracks in Alton, Illinois, and Wentzville, Missouri. Wayne kept the car in his barn with his many other Shelbys and Cobras. It remained there untouched for approximately 26 years, having accrued just 48,000 miles."
When Jim acquired the car, it was about 98 percent complete and original. He ultimately lavished a full five-month restoration, wet-sanding and buffing the paint to get it in its present shape. All the mechanical bits were also rebuilt, which, of course, include such goodies as the original Hi-Po mill using the factory-original VIN-stamped block. Jim also ported the heads and added what he coined a "Ford LeMans" cam. "The engine is basically built to R-model specs," he says. Behind the screamin' 289 is the car's original Borg-Warner aluminum T10 and 3.89:1-geared 9-inch axle with its original Detroit Locker diff. The car rolls on its factory wheels and a set of Goodyear 225/60R15 skins.
Now that the GT350 is done, Jim does with it what it was intended for, including occasional stints of open-track fun at various SAAC events near his home in Dickson, Tennessee. And while we like to mainly think of an original Shelby screaming around a challenging road course, it's also a trophy taker. It has received several awards, including a Silver Concours Trailered Award at the Mustang Club of America (MCA) Grand National show in Kansas City, Missouri, in September 2001. It also received a concours Gold trophy at the Nashville, Indiana, SAAC show in May 2002.
Besides this gem, Jim owns a '67 GT350 and three '67 K-code cars-a convertible, a hardtop, and a fastback. Currently the MCA national vice president, Jim has been active in the Mustang hobby for more than 30 years. This particular GT350 serves as a perfect way to solidify that status, and is a fitting tribute to both Wayne Curry and the man himself, Carroll Shelby.