1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang

1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang - www.robson.m3rlin.org

The 1966 was differentiated in body color (non-white versions were introduced – colors included blue, red, green and black, as well as the original white) and trim. The “Le Mans” stripes were continued as an option, as in 1965. It featured special quarter-panel windows and rear air scoops on each side and an optional automatic transmission. A fold-down rear seat was now standard as well. Where early 1965 cars had black engine blocks, 1966 and later cars had the 289 engine painted blue.** The first 252 GT-350s for 1966 were “carry-over” cars. They had the 1965 Ford Mustang Bodies and 1965 Ford Mustang serial numbers under their Shelby serial numbers. They had mostly 1965 features including standard Koni shocks and engines painted black. Blue engines did not occur in 1966 until after these 252 “carry-over” models were produced. 1966 production was 1373 fastbacks including 2 prototypes and 4 drag cars and 252 “carry-over” models with Ford Mustang 1965 bodies. 1001 Hertz fastbacks were produced including 2 prototypes. 4 convertibles were also produced for a total of 2378 units for 1966. The original colors of the GT500(GT350???) were metallic grey with some twin black racing stripes.

1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang - www.robson.m3rlin.org

Shelby struck a deal with the Hertz Corporation to produce a special line of GT350s for rent which were subsequently sold to the public after their rental-car lives were finished. These ‘GT350H’ cars are quite rare and sought-after today, with some examples selling for more than $120,000. Shelby produced 1000 of these cars: 800 in Raven Black, and 50 each in Candy Apple Red, Wimbledon White, Sapphire Blue and Ivy Green. All Hertz cars featured gold LeMans stripes and rocker panel stripes. Early “Hertz” cars were available with 4 speed manual transmissions until so many cars were returned from rental with burned and broken clutch assemblies that all of the later cars shipped to Hertz were equipped with an automatic transmission.[citation needed] Many were rented to use as production class cars at SCCA events, some were returned with different engines, holes where roll bars had been welded in, and other modifications to legally run on the track.

1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang - www.robson.m3rlin.org

Production numbers: GT350 – 2,380 units (4 were special order convertibles for Carroll Shelby, the rumor is that 6 were made, but only 4 VINs have been discovered). The brakes were enlarged because of the extra power. New components such as under-hood suspension bracing were used. Staggered rear shocks prevented wheel hop and axle wind-up. Functional air-intake scoops were added to force air to the rear brake pads which aided in keeping them cool. On the factory drag cars, the air scoop on the hood also met all postal regulations for a mailbox. There were only a couple of these models made and now they are collectors’ items.

Not much changed for Mustang in 1966. The grille design changed a bit–the 1966 models had the running pony inside the corral free-floating on horizontal grille bars. The side trim was slightly revised and a restyled gas cap completed the exterior changes. On the interior, the instrument panel was redesigned with five round gauges, replacing the panel borrowed from the Ford Falcon for previous model years. Ford broke the 1,000,000 Mustang mark in 1966–18 months after its introduction. To celebrate, Ford released the Sprint 200 Mustang. They were mechanically identical to other six-cylinder Mustangs, but had a chrome air cleaner and a special engine decal which read “Mustang powered Sprint 200.”

1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang - www.robson.m3rlin.org

The rear seat returned and more colors were offered on 1966 Shelby Mustangs, making them more consumer-friendly. The vents behind the windows were replaced with quarter windows on 1966 Shelbys to allow for more visibility. The fuel door wore a Cobra logo rather than the pony & tribar from ’65. The first roughly 300 1966 Shelby G.T. 350s didn’t get the “G.T. 350” decklid badge, but the rest did.

Hertz corporation ordered 1,001 of the G.T. 350s to offer as rentals. The side stripes read “G.T. 350H”, but the cars became know as “Rent-a-Racers.” Some cunning Mustang owners would rent the Shelbys, swap the motor with the motor in their Mustangs, and return them to Hertz. At $17 per day and 17 cents per mile, it was a good bargain for a Shelby engine. It was “uncool” to own a former rental car, so many of the cars were debadged after they were decommissioned. Thanks to the Shelby American Automobile Association, however, many of these cars have been found. More than 800 were made in black, and the other 200 or so were divided between red, green, blue, and white. Only the black models and a few white ones had stripes on the hood, but many owners added them to the other cars during restoration.

1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang - www.robson.m3rlin.org

Only six Shelby G.T. 350 Convertibles were produced in 1966, all different colors, making them the rarest of Mustang convertibles. Shelby also produced 11 supercharged 1966 G.T.350S

In 1966 there were 333 High Country Specials produced. Only 35 of the 333 were convertibles. The High Country Special was a promotion that Ford ran from 1966-68. The Mustangs came in three special colors: Timberline Green, Columbine Blue, and Aspen Gold. All came with special emblems that dealers were free to mount where they wanted. They were only sold in Colorado, Wyoming, and parts of Nebraska.

1966 Shelby GT350 Mustang – www.robson.m3rlin.org
Scribbled on February 23rd 2009 in Ford, Ford Mustang
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