A piece of history: Shelby GT350 with a hidden twist up for sale
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'Being first' is a boasting point that transcends pretty much everything. ‘I-did-it/bought it/drove it-before-you’–ism is rampant in motoring, and it's typically a bit of a nuisance issue but rarely anything more. After all, it's usually just healthy banter.
This first-ism manifests itself to the highest degree when it comes to cars of a 'collectible' nature. Be they old British bangers, or pieces of retro JDM, or slices of Americana like this 1966 Shelby GT350 that US auction house Barrett-Jackson are auctioning off in the new year.
On the surface it looks like any other immaculate GT350 from the period. The vinyl roof though — a feature offered on no other GT350 — offers a clue of what the 'stang really is...
The Shelby, outfitted with a four-speed manual and racing-spec 289ci V8, is a prototype vehicle produced ahead of the 1966 production run. It comes with all the necessary paperwork necessary to confirm this, as well as documentation in the SAAC Shelby American World Registry. History to you and me, 'SFM6S001' to the registry and Shelby's records.
“It began life as a factory-standard, Wimbledon White K-code high-performance 1965 Ford Mustang Fastback, with all factory-standard features remaining with this car,” say Barrett-Jackson.
“Among them were the welded export brace brackets, and all the welded/filled holes in the body panels for the standard Mustang emblems and body moldings that were removed during the Mustang’s conversion into the first ’66 GT350.”
The vinyl roof? It was an evaluative feature Shelby added to the prototype to test its viability as an option for other GT350s. Other curious one-off features include the factory optional 'Pony' upholstery — something normally only available in 'generic' Ford Mustangs from the period.
There are other little trinkets that only the hardcore Shelby fanatic will spot too, like aluminium trim in the rear quarter window, and additional plumbing to cool the rear brakes.
Since SFM6S001's duties as a mule all those years ago, it's been through a string of owners before it eventually got a full restoration in 2011. Four years later it became one of the first Shelbys to be displayed at Concours d'Elegance (so fancy), landing for auction two years later.
The value of a minty fresh 1966 Shelby GT350 in the US is said to be around the US$250,000 mark (NZ$368,000).
Pricing on an example as unique as this one? We'll keep tabs on it when it goes under the hammer at Scottsdale 2018 on January 13–21.