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Supercharged Shelby


This prototype of the 1965 Shelby GT350 features a Paxton blower, making it on one of the hottest tickets in today's muscle car market

Unveiled by Carroll Shelby on January 27, 1965, the GT350 fastback had a fiberglass hood and functional scoop, and a clean-looking grille with a tri-color horse on the driver's side. All 1965 Shelbys were Wimbledon White with a blue GT350 side stripe below the door. Dealer option Le Mans stripes were available, running down the center of the body.

The interior was black with a flat wood-rimmed wheel. A special instrument cluster in the center of the dash carried a large tach and oil pressure gauge.

A special aluminum intake increased the solid-lifter hi-po 289's horsepower from 271 to 306. Exhaust from the Tri-Y headers exited ahead of the rear wheels. The suspension was extensively reworked, with a large front stabilizer bar, quick steering, lowered upper A-frames, Koni shocks, and traction bars. The front was stiffened with an export brace and Monte Carlo bar. In all, 50 improvements were listed.

Shelby delivered competition results. His three team cars dominated SCCA "B" production, and Jerry Titus won the National Championship.

Serial number 5010 was designated by Shelby as an "advanced prototype," supercharged for developmental testing and fitted with T-Bird taillights. It's the first and only 1965 GT350 to have the Paxton supercharger, which was offered as an option in 1966.

This GT350 was also used for 1966 research and analysis. It was fitted with 1966 rear brake scoops and seems likely to have been the car in the movie "Red Line 7000" with James Caan, though evidence is circumstantial.

However, it has holes from brackets being fitted for head rests, exhaust cut-outs, and the controls and holes from a Mustang console being fitted, which the movie car had. Company records also show that a car was rented to the movie studio just prior to this car's fitment of special taillights and 1966 extras. The Shelby American World Registry also affirms the movie connection.

Serial number 5010 was sold by Shelby's own dealership after its promotional career ended, first to J.B. Hunter, then to Joe Flowers, and finally to the present owner in 1988. He has owned the car three times since then, with three other individuals owning it in between.

The SCM Analysis

This 1965 Shelby GT350 SC sold for $528,000 at RM Amelia Island on March 10 2007.

Let's see here—a generally original, early production Shelby used for prototype component testing, with most of the prototype equipment installed, movie history, plus an airtight verifiable history from one of the most easy-to-follow paper trail marque-specific clubs there is. Quite frankly, half a million is cheap. Why? Let me break it down.

The early Shelby GT350s are one of the hottest tickets in the muscle car market today. They have a more visceral feel to them—a rawness—than each succeeding year of production. Some of this was due to more hand-fitting and "trial and error" assembly, plus the GT350 was at that time intended for turn-key track racers rather than street performance.

Concours examples worth no more

This car has not been fully taken apart and rebuilt to trailer queen status. The powertrain rebuild and decade-old repaint are the bulk of the restorative work; the original sheetmetal, glass, and suspension are intact. As Shelbys are born to run, concours examples aren't as desirable as attractive survivors.

A "run of the mill" 1965 GT350 street model in this condition tends to trade around $325,000. Throw in another $50,000 as it's the tenth Shelby GT350 built, and that puts us at $375,000.

Now for the "advanced prototype" status. Thanks to the previous owner's documentation and its verification by the Shelby American Auto Club, for the most part, #5010 was used as a test mule for various components for future production.

While it would be physically easy to add the components if they were separately available, the paper trail confirms that they were on the car in its early existence. Some may be superficial yet difficult to fake, such as the '65 T-Bird sequential taillights. Personally, I rather like them, although I would prefer one less segment on each side, or not running the rally stripe through them. Others, like the consigning SCM Gold subscriber, aren't fond of them.

The big ticket item is the Paxton blower. While the car was sold to the public with the blower off, it played a significant part in the car's history. This was the first supercharged Shelby built. Consider it a twist of fate that the seller was able to source an identical setup, including the correct Paxton carburetor bonnet—a nearly unobtainable part. The blower was added shortly before being consigned to RM, a wise decision on the seller's part, and the strong sale verifies that.

The blower's worth an extra $100,000

Any Shelby that had a blower bolted onto it stock is worth an extra $50,000; double that if it's still attached. Now we're at $475,000. Even without the blower, the remainder of the induction is the same as it was in 1965. Getting back to its history as a test car, we can look at how well-documented prototypes have fared in the marketplace. Even a prototype Pontiac Tempest topped $40,000 this year (lot 979.1, 1962 Pontiac Monte Carlo, Barrett-Jackson). If we consider that the prototype factor adds half again to the base car's value—$150,000—we are now at $625,000.

Finally, the movie car factor. While it is not the ultimate Mustang movie car (that would be one of the "Bullitt" cars), it doesn't hurt that "Red Line 7,000" would have fallen into obscurity had it not been for Shelby playing a notable role. It is also about the only facet of the car that isn't cast in concrete, as it had not been noted anywhere on paper that #5010 was THE car used in the movie. However, the physical evidence on the car is quite convincing, even if someone in the know can fake a lot of it. It doesn't hurt the value, but only adds about $25,000 to its cachet.

In a nutshell, this should be a $650,000 car. But Shelbys are far from raw investments, although they trade in that league. Even more than the baseline collector muscle car, GT350s represent emotion and passion for performance. Indeed, first-year GT350s transcend the "muscle car" genre to pure sports car, more akin to a Cobra than any 'Cuda. Number 5010 is truly in the league of muscle cars that Keith Martin several months earlier predicted would continue to appreciate.

I'd call it a bargain; it's one of one.


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