Last revised: 26-1-2009

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Ford Shelby Mustang 1969

1969_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-350_convertibleAfter the 1968 banner year, 1969 proofed to be the beginning of the end for the Shelby Mustang. The Ford Mustang had been restyled, becoming lower, longer, wider and more dramatic, moving away from the original crisp and compact design. And the Shelby version followed.
Though Ford now completely controlled the Shelby Mustang production, the cars were still visibly different. The Shelby Mustangs sported an extended front end with an fiberglass nose, a hood with an excess of 5 NASA-type scoops for cooling the engine, only two headlights in a large wrap-around front bumper and recessed fog lights under the bumper. Other identifying features were the reflective striping and the side scoops in front of the front and rear wheels.

1969_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-350_convertibleShelby Cobra logos appeared on the sides and in the grille of the cars. Though less stressed than in 1968 "Cobra" was still part of the model name. At the rear impressive square twin-exhaust outlets were placed in the middle and sequential (Thunderbird) taillights were used again. The license plate holder covered the fuel filler cap and the rear spoiler extended higher than on the 1968 model.
The 1969 model line was reduced to fastback and convertible versions of the GT-350 and the GT-500. The convertible featured a flat roll-bar with clips to hold down a surf board. Remarkably direct competition to the Shelby cars came from Ford's own Mustang: 1969 saw the introduction of the 250 hp Mustang Mach 1 and the exotic 290 hp Mustang Boss 302 and 360 hp Mustang Boss 429. Especially the considerably more affordable Mach 1 was a best seller, cutting in on Shelby GT-350 sales. 

1969_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-350_fastbackThough the 1969 Shelby Mustang was rather cluttered with scoops and ducts it looked quite good. The long nose with imposing front and the low flowing lines of especially the fastback make for an elegant yet brutally aggressive appearance.
The 302 cid engine of the 1968 GT-350 was replaced with Ford's new 351 cid (5.7 litre) "Cleveland" V8 engine, producing 290 hp @ 4800 rpm with a single Autolite four-barrel carburetor. This unit powered the car to an unchanged top speed of 191 kph and a 0-60 mph (97 kph) acceleration in 6.3 seconds. Again a Paxton supercharged version of this engine was optional, but rarely fitted.

1969_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-350_fastbackThe interior remained in standard Mustang deluxe style, complete with wood grain finishing. Some extra dials and clocks were fitted into the dash and the driver looked at a steering wheel with Cobra logo. Mandatory extras in the interior were special aircraft-type shoulder harnesses on the front seats and a tilt steering wheel. The 1969 Shelby Mustangs came with a 4-speed "top loader" manual gearbox as standard, but Ford's C-4 (GT-350, like you see here) or C-6 (GT-500) automatic transmissions were optional. Other options fitted as standard were power steering and power brakes.

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