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How the 1965 Shelby GT350 Became an Icon of American Muscle

The 1965 Shelby GT350 is a legendary muscle car that was based on the Ford Mustang fastback. Carroll Shelby made modifications to it to enhance its handling and performance. It had a custom brake package with front and rear drum brakes, a 1 inch anti-roll bar across the front suspension, and distinctive side-exiting exhaust pipes. The 289 cubic inch V-8 engine produced 306 horsepower.

On January 27, 1965, Carroll Shelby, a well-known American racer and automobile designer, unveiled the 1965 Shelby GT350, a modified Ford Mustang sports car. With the addition of a more potent engine, improved brakes, a firmer suspension, and distinctive stylistic elements, Shelby transformed the Mustang fastback into a high-performance vehicle that could compete both on and off the track. Only a handful of the 562 cars produced in 1965—including the 1965 GT350—remain in their original, unrestored state today.

With the addition of a high-riser intake manifold, welded-tube headers, and cast-aluminum valve-rocker covers, the 289-cubic inch V-8 engine of the 1965 Shelby GT350 was upgraded. A sizable cast-aluminum oil sump with cooling fins was another feature. The engine generated 329 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm and 306 horsepower at 6,000 rpm.

A four-speed manual Borg-Warner T-10 gearbox with a close-ratio gear set served as the transmission. The ratios of the first and second gears were 2.36:1, the third and fourth were 1.20:1, and the fourth was 1.00:1. 3.89:1 was the rear axle ratio.

With a performance-focused design, the 1965 Shelby GT350 outperformed the standard Mustang in terms of acceleration, handling, and braking. Its 0-to-60 mph acceleration time was 6.6 seconds, and its top speed was 138 mph. Moreover, it had bigger tires, an anti-roll bar, adjustable shock absorbers, and a firmer suspension. Front disc brakes and rear sintered-metal linings were added to the revised brake system.

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