The GT500’s track-bred sibling remained in production through 1969. It wasn’t as popular as the regular Mustang, but it moved a few thousand units over the five years, enough to make it a common sight at muscle car events.
Come 2023 and all iterations of the first-gen GT350 are considered rare, but it’s the 1965 version that sits at the top. That’s because Shelby put together only 572 cars that year. And this number also includes all sorts of test cars, experimental prototypes, as well as factory competition models.
The latter was used to test and refine the GT350 before it went into production. Each car was track tested by Chuck Cantwell, the project manager of the GT350 program, and some of them were even loaned to various people for long-term testing on public roads.
These cars also did all of the promotional work, being hauled to car shows and loaned to journalists for reviews.
And most of them survived to see 2023, which is downright amazing given that these cars were moved around and driven quite a lot. Of the 14 prototypes made, only three were destroyed, so 11 of them are still around with Shelby collectors.
One of these super-rare GT350s was featured at the 2022 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals (MCACN). It’s number 13 of the 14 prototypes made, which means it was the next to last car before Shelby put the GT350 in regular production. And it’s an amazing survivor that’s still all-original save for a repaint it got many years ago.
This Shelby is mainly known as “The John Christy Car” because it was loaned to the editor of Sports Car Graphic magazine to complete a 10,000-mile test.
John wrote about his experience in two different issues of the magazine and liked the GT350 so much that he purchased one for himself. In fact, he bought the very car Carroll loaned him for the test drive.
Come 2023 and prototype no. 13 is now owned by Tony Conover, a Ford Performance guy and Mustang collector. The GT350 runs and drives like new and still relies on its numbers-matching 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) V8 and four-speed manual gearbox.
A beefed-up Windsor mill of the HiPo K-code variety, the V8 was rated at 306 horsepower. Hear it roar in the video below.
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