Shelby has arguably built more of the wildest interpretations of the Ford automobile than anyone we know. His cars are held in awe by the vast majority of Ford enthusiasts. Even late-model Ford guys know Carroll Shelby and his menagerie of wild beasts. But within the wild there are always standouts and strange animals. From mavericks that bear Shelby nameplates to Cobras that inspired a Cosby comedy record album, Shelby kept American Ford fans on the edge of their seat wondering what manner of wicked wildness would come from deep within his garage space.
Here, we hit the ones that piqued our interest and made us want to research the stories on them. Some-like one of the four convertible GT 350s-beg for us to ask more questions than the Shelby American World Registry (SAWR) can answer. So another story might be in the offing.
Sit back, grab a cold one, and delve into the wild world of Shelby circa '65-'72-that's right, '72.
A Little Tex-Mex Anyone?They like Shelbys south of the border, too. Eduardo Velasquez was the connection in Mexico. He bought a Mustang hardtop from Shelby in 1965. SAAC believes this hardtop might have been one of the two prototypes Ken Miles drove to engineer the GT350 suspension components. Velasquez raced the car. by 1966, he had become a Shelby parts dealer. In 1967, he entered into a partnership with Carroll Shelby to build Shelbys in Mexico. The company was Shelby de Mexico, which is also what the car was called.
All the Shelby de Mexicos are odd-looking performance Mustangs because they are based on the hardtop body style. The assembly plant in Mexico, source of the Shelby Mustangs, did not produce the fastback. So they had to use the hardtop. Apparently, none were convertibles. These cars are obviously Shelbys with their fiberglass body pieces, taillights, and various badges and emblems.
Production was 169 in 1967, 203 in 1968, 306 in 1969, and about 200 in 1971. Production in 1970 was limited to one race car. two race cars were built in 1969. Velasquez also campaigned a Shelby Group II notchback race car in 1966 and 1967.
Drop-Tops (Nobody Rides For Free)At the tail end (the last four cars built until the continuation cars of the early '80s) of the '66 production run, Carroll Shelby built four GT350 drop-tops. Though there is speculation Shelby gave these four cars away, as far as we can tell, all the cars were sold within six months to a year of their production by Shelby-authorized used car dealers. Here is how it went down:
The first one was a green convertible with a black top, an automatic, chrome magnums, and no stripes. The car was sold to one of Shelby's dealers as a used car, leading us to believe this might have been a company vehicle, though we have no supporting info for this . . . yet.
Next in line was the yellow with a black top equipped with a four-speed and chrome magnums. This car also was sold to a dealer as a used car. though the SAWR clarifies it as a used company car.
Third was the red with a white top convertible. This one is a bit screwy in many ways. The SAWR lists it as red with a white top, but shipped condition was red with a black top. The car was shown to have a four-speed, but also equipped with air conditioning-a no-no for a hi-po. It also had the chrome magnums. Further muddying the waters, it had not been shipped to a dealer, but sold to Bob Shane of the Kingston Trio. It was not shipped at all, Bob came to Shelby and picked up the car. There is also a credit memo issued in 1967 on the car. it shows the car sold used to the same dealer as the other two.
Last, but not least, is the blue with a white top convertible This car had a few differences from its sibs. For one, it got a fiberglass hood; the other three had all steel. it also had ten-spoke aluminum wheels rather than the Magnums. It was used by Ray Geddes of Ford Motor Company as a company car until sometime in 1967, then shipped to a dealer and sold used.