Last revised: 26-1-2009

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Ford Shelby Mustang 1966

1966_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-350The 1966 Shelby Mustangs were quite similar to the 1965 models, though some minor changes were made. Most visible change was the replacement of the rear air-extractor grilles by triangular plexiglass windows. Also the fake body-side scoops of the standard Mustang were opened up by Shelby for cooling the rear brakes.
The car on this picture (in GT-350R style racetrim) shows the original white and blue paintwork. Another typical Shelby Mustang feature are the competition-style fasteners of the fiberglass hood.

1966_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-350HA remarkable version of the 1966 GT-350 was the model made for Herz Rent-A-Car. Herz thought it could open up a new market by offering exclusive sporty cars for rent and ordered 1,000 GT-350s with special specifications. This model was designated the GT-350H and had a very distinctive black and gold color scheme.
Most GT-350H cars were fitted with Ford's 3-speed Select Shift Cruise-O-Matic transmission instead of the 4-speed manual gearbox. Ultimately 936 GT-350H cars were made before Herz stopped the experiment. Apparently "weekend-racers" rented these cars and used them on the track, pushing the cars to the limits which turned the running costs sky-high and renting these cars unprofitable.

1966_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-350HThe stylish black Herz GT-350 may not have been commercially successful, it did however add to the exciting image of the Shelby Mustang and focused attention on the car. Ford decided that it wanted to make a profit on the Shelby Mustangs and not merely use it as image makers.
To cut down on manufacturing costs some of the original Shelby modifications were revised for the 1966 model: the battery was not longer placed in the trunk, the front suspension wasn't lowered anymore, the rear traction-bars were replaced by less complex units which were placed under the axle and 14 inch wheels were fitted instead of the 15 inch ones.

1966_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-350HNot much changed in the interior. Shelby offered a kit for the 1966 model which restored the rear bench and returned the spare to the trunk; this also meant a step away from the competition car concept. Since the 1966 Mustang included an oil pressure gauge in the dashboard the typical gauge-pod of the 1965 Shelby Mustang disappeared. Instead a separate tachometer was mounted on the steering column.
In 1966 the production figure of the GT-350 was raised considerably. A total of 2,378 cars were made, divided into 1,433 regular GT-350s, 936 GT-350H models, only 3 GT-350R competition cars and remarkably 6 GT-350 convertibles. These convertibles were not available to the public but were specially made for Carroll Shelby's friends, his secretary and himself. Only 4 of the 1966 convertibles cars have survived.

There are more pictures and info about the 1966 Shelby Mustang on this additional page: "Ford Shelby Mustang 1966: the poster car".

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