1968 Shelby Mustang

"GT350 Convertible"

Configuration: Longitudinal front engine

Engine: V8

Displacement: 302cid/4.95L

Horsepower: 250HP at 4,800 RPM

Torque: 310 ft-lbs at 2,800RPM

Transmission: 4-speed automatic

A Little History

1968 was a much less successful year for the Ford/Shelby racing team in the SCCA season than the previous two years, and that last year that Carroll Shelby was involved in the making of the GT Mustangs. The SCCA had severely loosened up their rules and requirements; they now allowed roll cages and didn’t require completed interiors, among other things. Ford and Shelby used the new Tunnel Port 302cid V8 with an estimated 450hp in the new models. However, unlike the previous two seasons, Ford decided that all Trans-Am engines were to be built at the Ford factory in Detroit then shipped to Shelby for installation, as opposed to Shelby building the engines himself.

Unfortunately, that led to a host of problems on the track, as these engines were notoriously unreliable due to issues with the oiling system that lead to regular blown engines during races. The GT350 was completely embarrassed by the Camaro Z/28 all season and didn’t even make the championships.

Almost midway through 1968, Shelby decided that he had outgrown his facility in Los Angeles and relocated to Livonia, Michigan to open the new Shelby Automotive, Inc. factory. Right around the same time, Ford brought over Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen from General Motors as the new corporate president. It was common knowledge that Bunkie didn’t like Shelby, as his Corvettes were consistently smoked by Shelby’s Mustangs. In fact, his first order of business was to begin development on the new Mustang models, the 302 and 429 currently on display, that he personally dubbed “Boss,” making his dislike for Shelby abundantly clear. Not long after, Shelby terminated his work with Ford and sold the “Cobra” name to them for just $1.
Did You Know?: There were only 1,175 GT350s sold in 1968.

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