Sunday, August 21, 2016

Automoblog Book Garage: Shelby Mustang: Fifty Years

Originally appeared on

Book Garage

There is something about Shelby Mustangs. Once you fall in love with them, they never let you go. I still recall the one sitting next to my desk at Sioux Falls Ford, a 2009 Ford Shelby GT500. I was new to the business at the time, so sitting next to such a car was really something.

I wanted to sell it so badly but never even got close. I indeed talked to customers about that Shelby Mustang; many wondered up from the Quicklane waiting area. While they were having their oil changed and tires rotated, they marveled right along with me.

To them, it was also a dream, so we saw common ground in fantasy and imagination rather than paperwork and financing.

Classic Values

Carroll Shelby built Mustangs from 1965 to 1970, when the Muscle Car years were ripe. After the successful launch of the original Mustang, other manufactures jumped on board, producing their own muscle variants. At a time when muscle ruled the world, Shelby Mustang production ceased.

Yet absence makes the heart grow fonder.

The rarity of the cars increased the value substantially. By the end of the 1970s, the Shelby Mustang attained “classic” status, well ahead of its counterparts. The value rose the more distance it put between itself and those iconic Muscle Car years. In 2006, for example, a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 garnered $451,000 at auction! Depending on where you live, that might be worth more than a house.

Interesting enough, in 2006, Shelby Mustang production resumed after 36 years.

Yes, it’s real. Ken Young’s 1966 GT350 convertible 6S2378 on display at a Shelby Owners Association meet in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1974. Photo: Jeff Burgy.

Yes, it’s real. Ken Young’s 1966 GT350 convertible 6S2378 on display at a Shelby Owners Association meet in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1974. Photo: Jeff Burgy.

Powerful Pages

Our featured book this weekend is officially licensed by Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc. Furthermore, it was created and crafted alongside the Carroll Hall Shelby Trust. Shelby Mustang: Fifty Years comes alive with rare, historic photography, wonderfully complemented by modern images. From Shelby’s first collaborations with Ford to the modern muscle machines they are today, Shelby Mustang: Fifty Years is an essential book for any Mustang enthusiast.


Colin Comer, respected authority on collector cars, is Editor-at-Large for Sports Car Market and American Car Collector. He is a Contributing Editor for Road & Track and regularly appears in the New York Times, Business Week, USA Today, and many other respected publications. When not writing about cars, he is an avid vintage racer and pilot.

In addition to Shelby Mustang: Fifty Years, Comer also wrote Shelby Cobra: The Snake That Conquered the World, which we featured in June for this series. Both are available through Amazon and Motorbooks.

*Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. 

Shelby Mustang Fifty Years Gallery

Doesn’t the fellow on the balcony bear an uncanny resemblance to Peter Brock? Hmmm. Photo: SAAC Archives. Back in the day before these were $300,000 cars, some people didn’t think twice about naming their GT350s . . . and painting said name on the side as the “Asphalt Angel” demonstrates. Photo: SAAC Archives. 5R002 during the filming of “Shelby Goes Racing with Ford” at Willow Springs Raceway. Shelby and Ford were eager to showcase their winning new Competition GT350 for obvious reasons. Photo: Carroll Hall Shelby Trust/Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc. This photo shows the early version R Model valance with its round brake cooling duct holes. Photo: Carroll Hall Shelby Trust/Carroll Shelby Licensing, Inc. Delivered new as a white GT350 to Marv Tonkin Ford, 6S2134 was immediately transformed into a road racecar. It has never seen street use and is still racing today. Photo: Bob Pengraph. A rare factory red-with-white Le Mans stripe car, 6S744 also sports factory 10-spoke mag wheels. No denying it has “eyeball.”

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