Jerry Heasley
January 19, 2006

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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.

Step By Step

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40th Anniversary Special Features
* All cars are fully loaded, no options* Only 40 scheduled for production, each serialized* Exclusive 427 aluminum Shelby engine* Tubbed rear for the 315/35x17 tires* Unique Performance suspension, front and rear* All cars painted exclusive Hot Hues Dupont Silva silver paint with Shelby blue stripes* Distinctive blue interior* 40th Anniversary badges
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Every Shelby continuation car receives a Shelby serial number and becomes a part of the Shelby legacy. Each will be listed in the Shelby American World Registry. The #001 Shelby will be auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in January 2006.
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Chip Foose designed the wheels, measuring 17x8 up front and 17x10 in the rear. They required a "mini-tub" in the back.

Suspension is nothing new to the continuation series. The frontend features tubular A-arms with coilovers. The rear uses Unique's patented and famous laid-over coilovers, meaning the coils lay down at an angle.

At the Shelby American Automobile Club's 30th annual convention at California Speedway in Fontana, California, last July, Doug Hasty summed up the 40th Anniversary car in a press release:

"Carroll Shelby's GT350 and his 427 Cobra forever changed the performance car landscape when they burst on the scene in 1965. We're celebrating that first Mustang-based Shelby and the birth of the greatest sports car ever built, the big-block Cobra, by creating an official special-edition vehicle. Working with Shelby, we're injecting the latest 'Cobra' DNA into the GT350, including a new Shelby 427 aluminum small-block. The 40th Anniversary Edition Shelby GT350SR combines the best of both into a supercar with muscle to back up its provocative looks."

Specifications

Drivetrain

  • Engine: 427 Shelby aluminum small-block, 585 hp, DC&O electronic fuel injection
  • Transmission: Tremec TKO five-speed manual
  • Rearend: Currie 31-spline 9-inch with Tru-Track differential and 3.25 gears

    Interior

  • Shelby signature high-back buckets
  • Custom blue interior
  • G-Force five-point quick-release harness
  • Old Air Products Hurricane A/C system
  • Sony stereo with CD player
  • Shelby signature gauges
  • 160-mph speedometer
  • LeCarra 15-inch steering wheel

    Wheels and Tires

  • Foose designed wheels
  • BFGoodrich tires: 17x8 front; 17x10 rear with tubbing
  • Spare: Foose designed wheel with mounting bracket

    Exterior

  • Shelby "R-styled" nose, hood, and side scoops
  • 40th Anniversary badges
  • SC Cobra-style gas lid
  • Racing side mirrors
  • Side quarter plexiglass window
  • OEM glass rear window

    Exhaust

  • JBA headers
  • 211/42-inch side exhaust with tips
  • Spin Tech 211/42-inch mufflers

    Fuel System

  • High-performance fuel-injection, fuel-pressure regulator, and gauge
  • Electric fuel pump
  • 22-gallon fuel cell

    Steering

  • Chris Alston Chassisworks' power-steering rack
  • Baer Tracker bump steer adjustable tie rods

    Brakes

  • Front: Baer 12x1.1 Track System, PBR two-piston aluminum calipers
  • Rear: 12x.81 Touring System, PBR single-piston aluminum calipers
  • Slotted, cross-drilled, and zinc-washed rotors
  • Adjustable rear bias proportioning valve
  • Vented air ducts to front and rear brakes

    Electrical

  • MSD ignition control and coil
  • Trunk-mounted battery

    Cooling

  • Griffin aluminum cross-flow radiator
  • Spal 16-inch electric fan

    Chassis

  • Unique Performance subframe connectors
  • Unique Performance cross-section subframe
  • Unique Performance shock-tower brace
  • Driveshaft safety loop
  • Four-point roll bar

    Suspension

  • Front: Unique Performance coilover
  • Rear: Unique Performance adjustable coilover