Shelby GT 350: Stopping and steering

While early Ford power steering (actually manual steering with power assist) is not known for its crisp and precise feel, we wanted to keep this car as close to original as we could.

All 1967 Shelby GT 350s came with power steering and power brakes. While early Ford power steering—actually manual steering with power assist—is not known for its crisp and precise feel, we wanted to keep this car as close to original as we could and chose not to install a rack-and-pinion conversion on this valuable car. We did replace and rebuild everything in the system though. The original idler arm was completely worn out and sloppy, and the power steering leaked badly. We first rebuilt the power assist unit. Peter Geisler of Orlando Mustang has done hundreds of these units, so we let him tackle this task with a rebuild kit from NPD.

The actual power steering ram had been bent from overuse—bouncing these cars at full lock causes this—so we replaced it with a new one from NPD. We also purchased a rebuilt pump and new lines from NPD. They even have all the original brackets, clips and covering for the power steering lines. This makes for a very sanitary installation.

We finished by pounding the dents out of the power steering pump can, and painted it back to the original dark blue with paint we got from NPD. We’ll never know how someone managed to dent a power steering can, but we got ours rebuilt perfectly. We’ll adjust the bias once we get the car driving.

The power brake booster was not working when we got our car. The brake pads were also worn down to the backing plates. Have we mentioned that our poor Shelby had been ridden real hard and put away soaking wet? We sourced new calipers from NPD, and all new brake lines and braided steel brake hoses from Classic Tube. The original rotors are no longer available and the replacements are not very close to original. The guys at Orlando Mustang recommended, for maximum originality, that we try to save the original brake rotors, so we resurfaced those instead of buying new.

We finished off our front brakes with a new set of R4-S pads from Porterfield Enterprises. We’ve had good luck with these street pads. They bite better than most stock pads, hold up well to repeated stops and don’t squeal or dust badly. They also offer very good brake feel and modulation.

One might think that a big brake kit would be in order for this project; Wilwood and others do make them. But we’re trying to keep this project close to stock, and at 11.3” rotor diameter, the ’67 Shelby has the largest brakes of any Mustang all the way up to the ’94 Cobra R. With the big rear brakes, power assist, Porterfield pads and shoes and the braided hoses, we anticipate decent brakes on this car when we test it next week.

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