An anabolic Ford Mustang: The Shelby GT 350 / 500
The 1967-68'er Ford Shelby Mustang GT 350 is one of the coolest American muscle cars ever made. It was a racing car with a license plate. The new Shelby instantly became legendary among the general public and the Mustrang passionados in 1968 through the twelve-minute chase scene from the police thriller 'Bullit'. That scene, where not a word was spoken, etched itself deep into the minds and hearts of car enthusiasts around the world. Such a chase was every petrolhead's dream. The dream of anyone who had even a drop of oil running through their veins. It was the ultimate Real Men car.
Famous by a movie
In the movie "Bullitt" we saw Steve McQueen and his 1968 Ford GT 390 Mustang chase with screeching tires, bouncing and skidding over the hills of San Francisco and then blasting down the Pacific Coast highway. A scene the people of 'Fast and furious' must have learned from. And as with so many things: Once you've seen the original, the rest is disappointing.
The history of the Shelby Mustangs
The story behind the Shelby Mustang is a memory of how the three major American car manufacturers - Ford, Chrysler and GM - designed 'muscle cars' to make the profile of their cars strong, dynamic and sporty. It was of course less than gasoline in the States and that fuel consumption was a word that at most was interesting for scrabble players. Prestige, that's what it was about. That's why a few years after the Ford Mustang was presented, Ford boss Lee Iacocca gave designer and driver Carroll Shelby (famous for his Cobras) the order to create an ultimate Mustang under the Shelby flag.
The result of that assignment were two spectacular combat machines for the public highway. The first was the GT 350, which combined perfect cornering with an 289 cubic inch V-8 that roared its 355 hp via a four-speed gearbox and a positraction system to the rear wheels.
The second model was the superlative GT 500 with the Cobra LeMans 428 cubic inch V-8 block. That was the 427 engine made suitable for the public road that Shelby had used to win the French Grand Prix. The GT 500 went from 0-100 in 6,5 seconds, and that was phenomenal at the time. The GT 500 was the first 'series' car with a 'roll-over' factory and with the safety belts over both shoulders. His styling was, with his elongated nose where the headlights were deeply hidden, brutally aggressive.
McQueen had both of them themselves
Steve McQueen himself had a GT 350 and an 500. He preferred the 350 "Because it is less obvious to kill me in it." The charismatic, cool, relaxed attitude of the film star gave the reputation of these Über Fords extra shine. And because the car was not only technically so impressive, but is also engraved in the collective memory because of the scene in 'Bullit', it is actually one of the cars that changed the world.
Watch out for counterfeit
If you encounter a machine like this one day, wait a while before pulling your debit card. The Shelby Mustangs are so popular that there are now considerably more in circulation than ever made.
And then there are of course the recent pieces of homage to these cars. But about that later. Much later