1965 Shelby GT350
It all started when…
I was a teenager and just about the time I got a license to drive, the Shelby GT350 made an indelible impression on me and the rest of the world. Here was this raw, loud, striped, hood-scooped race car on the street that anyone with not too much sense and some cash could buy and drive! I drew stripes on every Mustang fastback picture that appeared in any car magazine that I got my hands on. Alas, the asking price for someone without a job or an inheritance was beyond my grasp.
Over the ensuing decades I came to appreciate Shelby American ever more deeply. I owned and vintage raced Don Roberts’ Winningest Cobra, the 1968 BP National Champion. I also had the privilege of vintage racing and twice owning CSX 3010, the Peter Consiglio 427 AP National Champion of 1968. I was actually at that 1968 Riverside race where both cars that I was later to own won their championships. Who knew?
Now I am pleased to share what I consider to be the very best of the best. As a very late production 1965 Shelby, this car has a front battery which improved reliability but, unlike some later cars, left the factory with exhaust exiting in front of the rear wheels.
Bobby Rahal recognized the quality and authenticity inherent in 5S558 when he purchased and turned over to his Indy Car crew chief, Don Hoevel, for a meticulous restoration. In speaking with Don about the process, he stated that he was quite pleased to have a complete shell with one dent in the rear panel and solid floors and rockers with the rest of the body shell in fine shape, although needing a bit of TLC. Original bumpers, windows, number-matching drivetrain and even the original spare tire cover and the trunk bungie cord were retained. Two years and many man-hours later, the 4th from the last ’65 Shelby was ready. It was displayed at a number of events where it added a few more trophies to Bobby’s overfull collection.
In the process of showing the car, a few minor items like the horn switch were discovered not to be perfect and were replaced. All of the glass is original non-tinted with the rear window showing some scratches.
When the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance invited Bobby and the car in 2015 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the GT350, the world’s best Shelbys were on the green in Monterey. As you can see from the Pebble Beach pictures, the presentation was much appreciated by everyone including Chuck Cantwell, father of the Shelby GT350. Bobby might have had a bigger smile when he won the Indy 500, but he was smiling proudly when he accepted the trophy at Pebble Beach!
The judges for the GT350 class at Pebble Beach selected 5R002, a famous and rare "R" racing model for first place. Second place was 5S003, the factory prototype Shelby and the first GT350 ever produced. As a former Cobra class judge at Pebble Beach, I understand the importance of provenance in judging. I believe it reflects the quality and originality of 5S558 that Bobby's car was the only street Shelby to receive an award!
For the Best of the Best!
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Chain of Ownership
& Owner Contact
click below for gallery view of slideshow photos
Photos (non-historic) taken by David Bush www.davidbushphoto.com