1969 Shelby Mustang

"GT350 Fastback"

Configuration: Longitudinal front engine

Engine: V8

Displacement: 289cid/4.74L

Horsepower: 306hp at 6,000RPM

Torque: 329 ft-lbs at 4,200RPM

Transmission: 4-speed manual

A Little History

The first ever Mustangs were released by Ford on April 17, 1964. Ford anticipated selling around 100,000 models that year, but wound up selling over 400,000 combined coupes, convertibles, and fastbacks. Despite the car’s apparent popularity, most gearheads were unimpressed. Even though Ford had worked hard to disassociate the Mustang with the Ford Falcon, most people realized that the Mustang body was placed on top of a Falcon suspension and chassis. Without the promised performance, the Mustang was becoming a “secretary’s car,” something you buy to look sporty but not actually drive in a sporty fashion. Following the release of what was deemed the first ever muscle car, the Pontiac GTO, the Mustang was fast losing popularity.

In desperate need of help, Ford paired up with Carroll Shelby, a well-respected and decorated racecar driver through the 1950s. Shelby wanted nothing more than to be building his own racecars, and had reached out to several manufacturers about using their V8 engines in a car of his own making. He was rejected by both Chevrolet and Austin-Healey as they were afraid his creation would defeat their models in the races, which it eventually did. Ford, on the other hand, saw an excellent opportunity to team up with one of the most brilliant minds in the racing industry and immediately sent two 221cid V8s to his facility in California.

Shelby had already arranged to use chassis from a place called AC Car Company in England that had recently stopped receiving their sports car engines, so he sent the Ford engines to his facility to be bored out to 260cid and fitted to the chassis. The first test car, the CSX-2000, was sent back to California and immediately thrown into street races. It was virtually unbeatable, and later christened the Shelby Cobra, the pride of the Shelby Racing Program. To repay the favor to Ford, Shelby agreed to take on the task of making the Mustang fit to race in the 1965 SCCA season.

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