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1965 Ford Mustang GT350R Fastback Goes To Auction: The ‘Winningest’ Shelby Ever

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By Dave Ashton

Original examples of anything are usually the most iconic. In this case, it’s a 1965 Shelby GT350R, which is just one of 34, holding the title of the ‘Winningest’ Shelby ever (Winningest sounds wrong, but it is a proper superlative adjective). This GT350R clocked up 17 wins from 1968-1969, entered 54 races, and winning 32 in 1971, along with hitting a top speed of 184 mph at Daytona in 1968. This is also the highest clocked speed for a 289-powered Shelby.



This Mustang is a true champion racer of its time, and was barely a year old if you count the 1964 ½ models. The Mustang started its journey in March 1965 at the San Jose assembly line from the Work Order No. 17535. Then being converted into a GT350R over a six-month period at Shelby’s Los Angeles facility.

The car ended its racing days soon after 1974, being used mostly as a show car thereafter. Its basic specification list as below –

VIN/Serial – SFM5R538
HiPo 289 CI V8 engine
BorgWarner T10 4-speed manual transmission
715 CFM Holley 4-barrel carburetor
Counter accessory Cobra high-rise intake manifold
Tri-Y headers
Independent front suspension
Live rear suspension
K-code stampings on the fender aprons
American Racing magnesium Torque Thrust wheels
Wimbledon White

Current Condition


This GT350R was treated to a two-year Concours restoration by John Brown of Thoroughbred Restorations. It’s already been given a Division 2 Gold award, with any points being deducted being addressed in further restoration tweaks. Meaning the car’s next caretaker is bound to win some juicy prizes for its spotless build in the future.

If you want to get your hands on this prize-winning Mustang, then it’s most likely to go for a good few million dollars at Mecum this August at their Monterey auction.

The 1965 Mustang: The Best Year To Own?

Originals are always the most sought-after, which makes the GT350R even more special. Strictly, it’s the 1964 ½ Mustangs that were sold ahead of schedule(officially termed ‘early release 1965 models’), which fetch the most wedge. After its debut at the New York’s World’s Fair, April 17th, 1964, 22,000 Mustang orders were received across the US.

Ford clearly wanted to cover all bases with the Mustang, from a simple ‘grocery getter’ to a ‘full-on racer’. Upgrades, special editions, lots of paint, and interior options. One of the most sought-after 1965 models was the Mustang GT350, developed alongside Carroll Shelby. It was essentially Lee Iacocca who coerced Shelby to develop the GT350 in 1964. The GT350R Mustang was developed for the Ford racing team to enter the SCCA B Production class. The main idea here was to beat the Corvettes in SCCA racing.

Also noteworthy is the inclusion of the 1965 Mustang in many silver screen flicks. A 1964 Ford Mustang preproduction model pops up in James Bond’s ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Thunderball.’ There’s also one in Stephen King’s Misery and Beverly Hills, 90210.

Due to the Mustang’s smaller, pony car dimensions, it’s one of the more popular pony/muscle car variants around the world. In other words, as an investment piece, a 1965 Mustang will attract more attention than many other American-made variants.

Find out more about the 1965 Ford Mustang GT350R Fastback here.


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