It can honestly be said that we have seen this car "grow up." Though the Shelby started life as one of the best and brightest of 1968, it had fallen on hard times.
When she bumped and ground down the Dearborn assembly line, she'd been a more "garden variety" fastback that sported Lime Gold paint, the black Interior Décor Group with a sport deck rear seat, a 302 4V, and a C4 automatic. Brakes were disc, steering was power-assisted, and Ford saw fit to include air conditioning and a tilt-swing steering wheel on this Mustang. like all its Shelby sibs, it came with the Mustang heavy-duty suspension from the Ford factory. When Shelby's new facility in Livonia, Michigan, received the fastback, its color name was changed to Lime Green Metallic, and the freshly painted fiberglass pieces (whose color often didn't exactly match the factory hue) were bolted on, and stripes and badging were added. Shelby's line workers changed out the springs and used Gabriel shocks and a larger front sway bar. They added a rollbar with inertia-reel harnesses and a custom console with gauges. Finally, they festooned the interior and exterior with Shelby badging. Because of emissions qualifications, the car didn't receive the Cobra high-rise aluminum intake. It was then carted off to a dealer to await a buyer.
Somewhere in the mix, the Shelby became a has-been. When we first laid eyes on it, what was once a gleaming Lime Green Metallic GT350 had turned into a sad, if basically rust-free, old car. The paint was faded, and the interior was dirty and nasty. And all of the fiberglass on the shell was in less-than-stellar shape, not that Shelby fiberglass ever fit perfectly. The suspension was toast and the engine needed a rebuild to perform like a real Shelby should. It was all there, right down to the dealer-added Cobra intake, but it was also a fright.
Enter Michael Paremsky of Michaels Auto Body in Winter Haven, Florida. We first met Mike right after he finished his first Shelby-an Acapulco Blue '68 GT500-and we were duly impressed with the fit, finish, and craftsmanship of the car.
Michael began to blaze on the restoration of the GT350 for the then-owner. Next thing we know, Michael is the owner. Even so, the work continued at a fever pitch. New fiberglass was installed where needed, and even that was massaged to perfection. A hot 302 was built using forged pistons, a new mildly wild cam, the Cobra intake with a stock Holley 4V, Canfield heads, and a set of Jet-Hot-coated tri-Y headers. Behind the 302 is a prepped C4 and 3.25 Traction-Lok rear gears. Every aspect of the car was touched including the addition of a Sanden compressor to the factory A/C.
As the car was going together, Mike got a call from Sal Frasca of New Jersey who was interested in the Lime Gold GT350. Sal's lifelong dream was to own a Shelby. So, Mike, not one to let grass grow under his feet, sold the GT350 to Sal. Work continued and the car was tweaked within an inch of its life.
The final product is what you see here. Does Sal let the GT350 sit? "He drives it all the time," says Mike with a grin, "He loves the car." So do we Sal, so do we.