Thomas Voehringer
October 5, 2018
Photos By: Motor Trend archives

In March of 1965, sales of the new Ford Mustang were already surpassing expectations. The fastback 2+2 gave the hardtop an even sportier look. This is what Shelby American used as the basis for a car they would market as the G.T. 350. To enhance the car even further, Ford stated (in large two-page magazine spreads) a direct ancestry from the highly successful road-racing GT to this new Mustang variant. That wasn’t just ad speak, either. The loaded 2+2 bodies came to Los Angeles for the official Shelby treatment, for either street or track. But you probably already know that.

In the archives of our sister magazine, Motor Trend, we find the first “road” test of the G.T. 350 at Riverside International Raceway in May of 1965. The January issue of that year featured the stock 2+2. The GT test car was 200 pounds lighter than stock due to the absence of rear seats, spare tire, and weight-saving replacement parts like the fiberglass hood. Engine and suspension were both boosted significantly. The Holley and high-rise intake, in combination with the low-restriction exhaust, helped add 35 hp to the package. When weight couldn’t be saved, it was shifted around for better weight distribution. That meant moving the battery in the back.

Judging by this photograph, it all worked out very, very well. They even took the car for a blast on some dirt roads for kicks, going airborne for the photographer. How easy is it to fantasize that we’re behind the wheel of this photo? Pretty easy. The last sentence in the story signed off with a heads-up—the warranty was 4,000 miles or 90 days, the same as Ford offers for their high-performance vehicles. Would that stop someone from buying one? Not likely.