Why you want a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT350

Photograph Courtesy Ford

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of Classic Motorsports]

The original Shelby Mustang is the stuff of legend: A group of SoCal hotrodders turned a so-called “secretary’s car” into a real racer–and a fast one, too, winning the coveted SCCA B Production title on the first year out.

But let’s be honest: That first ’65 Shelby is a rather rough machine that, if not for Peter Brock’s stripes, would just look like a standard Mustang.

It’s gotten expensive, too, with examples in mere fair condition now worth at least a quarter of a million dollars–double that for a concours-level one. The 1966 Shelby doesn’t fetch quite as much because it lacks that first-year je ne sais quoi, but it still brings in a lot for what is essentially a tweaked Mustang. 

How about a ’67 Shelby GT350 instead? Call it the final year of the truly Shelby-built Shelby Mustangs.

The ’67 Shelby, based on the slightly upsized, updated-for-1967 Mustang, is still a special piece, with a 306-horsepower, 289-cubic-inch small-block providing power in the standard GT350–and with a Paxton supercharger as an available option. The larger Mustang chassis not only provided more interior space, but it gave Shelby room to fit a big-block, creating the 428-cubic-inch GT500–but budget a few bucks more for one of these. Other upgrades included a stiffer suspension and standard roll bar fitted with some four-point belts. 

Unlike their predecessors, these Shelbys didn’t blend into the surroundings. Up front, a new fascia held four headlamps with the high beams stuck close together, kind of like a rally car. Then there were the scoops: scoops on the hood, scoops feeding the rear brakes, scoops on the C-pillars. The rear received a fiberglass deck lid fitted with a spoiler and some ’67 Mercury Cougar taillamps.

While not as rare and iconic, the ’67 Shelby has some things going for it over its earlier brethren,” explains Classic Motorsports Publisher Tim Suddard, himself a current owner of a ’67 Shelby GT350 and past owner of a ’66. “The ’67 certainly has flashier looks. While all early Shelbys are pretty serious road cars, the ’67 has much more distinctive styling that better sets it apart from lesser Mustangs and lets people know you’re driving something special.”

1967 Shelby GT350 Shopping Advice

Our Expert
Curt Vogt
Cobra Automotive

The early, 1965-’66 Mustangs and Shelbys have historically been more popular for restorers, but lately the 1967-’68, second-generation Shelbys have hit their stride. I think they’re a prettier design, but they are harder to restore. 

The later cars have a lot more fiberglass body panels, and even when they were new, there were plenty of wavy panels and mismatched paint jobs. The bodies were painted in enamel at the Ford plant and shipped to California, where the fiberglass portions–painted with lacquer–were bolted on. It was a recipe for lots of warranty claims then and lots of restoration headaches now. The later cars also have a much fancier interior, and that Deluxe interior trim is a little harder to restore correctly. 

To make our cars handle, we’ve got a pretty simple recipe: Koni shocks like the Shelbys originally came with, slightly larger anti-roll bars, and high-quality urethane bushings. I also add shackles to the rear leaf springs to firm up the handling. 

Personally, I don’t like the feel of the rack-and-pinion conversions. They seem to transmit a lot of vibrations to the driver and tend to be oversensitive to road irregularities.

The nickname “Rustang” came about for a reason. The unibody construction was manufactured with a lot of overlapping body panels that were spot-welded together. Those lap joints are breeding grounds for rust, especially when salt spray gets trapped in those crevices. 

Rust in the rear quarter panels, doors and front fenders is pretty common, but steer clear of cars that have rust in the front and rear frame rails. You really have a bad car when the rust has gotten to the front frame rails and shock towers. There’s a cavity below the upper A-arm in the frame rail tray area that is particularly difficult to fix, and at that point you’ll need to decide if you want to spend $10,000 or more to fix the rust correctly.

You should look for new-old-stock parts or, at the very least, parts that were manufactured on the original Ford tooling. Of course, NOS parts aren’t cheap. For example, a reproduction battery tray can be found online for under $20, but it will be flimsy and take a lot of work to make right. A good Shelby restoration deserves a NOS tray–and that’s going to set you back close to $500 if you can find one.

The one exception to this is the more recent Dynacorn replacement body panels. Since the company is building complete bodies, it’s had to be more careful about creating panels that fit correctly without needing a bunch of metalwork to line up to the surrounding portions of the car. That translates into better parts for a restoration as well. 

The quality of reproduction windshield trim pieces is particularly bad. They typically use a softer material that doesn’t retain its shape. You’re better off spending $12 to $15 per linear foot to restore the original pieces.

The windshield is another problem area: A combination of thinner replacement windshield glass and low-quality seals will make for a leaking windshield every time. Thankfully, there are some good seal manufacturers out there–Steele Rubber Products, for example. 

To make our Mustangs and Shelbys work on track, we upgrade the front brakes to those from the 1967 Lincoln or Thunderbird. That gets us 11.87-inch rotors versus the stock 11.3-inch rotors. The rear drums are sourced from a Ford pickup truck and are 11 inches versus the stock 10-inch drums.

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Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
7/23/22 12:23 p.m.

I love my '67 GT 350. Much nicer car to live with than the earlier models. Although I do love those too.

rdstr New Reader
10/15/22 6:57 p.m.

I looked at a new GT350 at Dockerty Ford in NJ in 1967, when I balked at the $4500 or so price, told the salesman I could buy a Corvette for that money. His response was "you see a Corvette on every corner"

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