Nineteen sixty-seven was 36 years ago. In 1967, Bill Stroud, a young man in Rochester, New York, was fortunate enough to be able to afford a new Shelby GT350. The price tag was a whopping $4,000. Today, that doesn't seem like much. If your household budget is anything like many others out there today, you can wipe out $4,000 in monthly expenses without breaking a sweat. Utility bills, car payments, credit card bills, the mortgage payment. They all add up. In 1967, a $4,000 automobile was the equivalent of a $30,000 ride today. Not cheap. But great fun to drive and be seen in.
Showing off is what owning a Shelby Mustang GT350 is all about. Nothing has changed much since 1967, especially human ego. This remains a great car to show off. Clad in Dark Ivy Green Metallic with white stripes, Bill's '67 GT350 is restored to showroom condition, right down to the Goodyear Speedway tires. It hasn't always looked this nice. In fact, it didn't look this good when it was new. Give the restoration workmanship credit to Lee Wilmot of Vintage Mustang in Atlanta. It was Lee who took an aging Shelby fastback and returned it to showroom condition.
Check it out: Mag Stars on all four corners; Goodyear Speedway 350s; front Kelsey Hayes four-piston disc brakes; heavy-duty suspension underneath. Underhood is the original 289 High Performance Cobra V-8 with mechanical lifters, a radical camshaft, a Cobra high-rise intake, a 715-cfm Holley, and a whole lot of spirit. Driving a high-performance factory muscle Mustang from 1967 is getting back to what driving used to be. The 289 Hi-Po yields the raw sound of solid lifters. Goose the gas and hear the throaty roar. Step on the clutch and really work your leg muscles. No cable clutch, Fox-body Mustang feel here. Just brute bellcrank, three-finger clutch operation, just like we remember. The sloppy Ford shifter gets us reacquainted with the days of yore, like Bill remembers from the old Rochester days long ago.
We're talking about the classic Mustang experience in so many ways. The 289 Hi-Po revs, and we rejoice in the emotion of it all. We accelerate through First and Second with an aggressive demeanor, listening to the Top Loader's whine in the lower gear ranges. By the time we hit Fourth gear, those 3.89:1 gears remind us of how little room we have left for speed. Those 3.89:1 cogs are there for fast-quick 0-100-mph times, in keeping with the engine's torque range on the racecourse. Our 289's powerband is around 5,500 to 6,000 rpm. It likes to rev. And it makes lots of power when it does.
Bill has fond memories of his Shelby Mustang because he has owned it for so long. After its original purchase in upstate New York, Bill motored west to Northern Illinois to attend college. Those rough Illinois winters weren't kind to his only transportation at the time. Since college, Bill has made his way around the eastern United States, living in a variety of places with his '67 350. Today, Bill and the Shelby both call North Carolina home. And thank goodness. North Carolina has short winters, which makes driving the Shelby possible for greater periods throughout the year.
The beauty of a concours-restored example like this is the memories it yields for most of us who remember 1967. As it roars past us at a clip, we think about the golden age of muscle Mustangs long before anyone ever heard of a fuel-injected Mustang. For Bill, it's something even greater, centered around sweet memories of having lived the era himself.