Jerry Heasley
January 19, 2006

Step By Step

View Photo Gallery
0601_mump_01z Shelby_ford_mustang_gt350sr Front_side0601_mump_02z Shelby_ford_mustang_gt350sr Front0601_mump_03z Shelby_ford_mustang_gt350sr Rear_side0601_mump_04z Shelby_ford_mustang_gt350sr Rear0601_mump_05z Shelby_ford_mustang_gt350sr Side0601_mump_06z Shelby_ford_mustang_gt350sr Engine
The "Unique" Shelby Line-Up
Unique already transforms early Mustangs into Shelby vehicles under the direction of Carroll himself. They have the '67 GT500E, along with a Super Snake version of the 500E. The latest is the '65 GT350SR, which is basically a continuation of the '65 R-model. The 40th Anniversary Shelby is essentially a GT350SR that is fully loaded with special paint and badges, a distinctive blue interior, and the exclusive 427 Shelby small-block.

With an all-aluminum 427 small-block and 585 naturally-aspirated horsepower, Shelby's latest GT350 is not a continuation car to be taken lightly. Maybe it's best to say that you shouldn't let the GT350 logo fool you into thinking small cubes, ala the original of 1965.

Doug Hasty, president of Unique Performance, the company building the Shelby continuation cars in Farmers Branch, Texas, told us, "The car is a beast. It will light up those tires and continue to light them up. Put slicks on it and who knows what will happen."

The idea for a 40th anniversary Shelby surfaced when Unique began planning for 2005 and realized it would be the 40th anniversary of both the original Shelby GT350 Mustang and the 427 Cobra. The first '65 GT350 is near and dear to our hearts and the big-block street Cobra is, in our opinion, the most celebrated and outrageous sports car ever unleashed to the public.

What's unique about the anniversary GT350SR is that it commemorates both vehicles. First, there's the engine, a numerical reminder of 427 Cobra magic. However, the 427 under the hood should not be confused with either the old iron-block FE series or the 427 in Shelby's new aluminum big-block program. Basically, the V-8 in the GT350 is a 351 bored and stroked to a 427. "We wanted to find a way to still get that big-block punch but without the weight issues you would normally find with a big-block," Hasty explained.

In addition to being heavier, an FE series big-block would have also been too wide to fit between the shock towers of the '65-'66 Mustang fastback. The bored and stroked 351/427, meanwhile, fits fine.

Open the hood and the Shelby tuned aluminum small-block looks race car hot, topped by what appears to be a set of vintage Webers. Again, don't be fooled. That's a DC&O fuel injection setup fed by 42-psi injectors and timed by a Redline fuel management computer system.

Bobby Mikus, vice president of operations at Unique Performance, compared injection to carburetion. "It's more efficient. You don't have any lag in the acceleration. Cold starts are a lot better. You don't have any problems like you do with carburetors. They're actually zilch in warm-up."

Carroll Shelby, always progressive, would have utilized these components in the 1960s had they been available, so he's using them now.

As you can see, power is a major component of the 40th Anniversary Shelby GT350SR. However, the special paint from Hot Hues by Dupont and graphics and badges are what stand out. This is, after all, a commemorative vehicle limited to 40 copies. The car you see here is proudly owned by Greg Marino of Auto-Torium in Hooksett, New Hampshire.

Even though a '65 model, the 40th anniversary GT350SRs utilizes the plexiglass rear quarter-windows first used in the '66 GT350 because collectors favor them. Likewise, the competition front valance (bumper) has proved very popular over the years.