1966 Shelby Mustang GT350CR

Unveiling the 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350CR Pro-Touring: A Fusion of Classic and Modern Mastery

Introduction: A Timeless Machine Reinvented

Revolutionizing a classic Detroit powerhouse with modern upgrades wasn’t a novel concept by 2017. The allure of Pro-Touring builds had been growing steadily, and for good reason. When executed skillfully, these projects could enhance a vintage vehicle’s capabilities significantly without altering its iconic aesthetics.

Achieving the right balance in this endeavor is challenging, and exceptional outcomes are rare. That’s why my interest piqued when I discovered that the brains behind the GT350CR Shelby Mustang project was Classic Recreations. For over a decade, this Oklahoma-based body shop had been transforming 1960s Mustangs into asphalt predators, turning the dreams of many automobile enthusiasts into reality. Among their notable creations, the Eleanor-style GT500CR stood tall, boasting a 7.0-liter V8 engine producing 545 horsepower, a Tremec 5-speed transmission, and a range of other features. Unconventional add-ons like air conditioning and adjustable seats were also integrated, offering a blend of classic and modern amenities.

A Resurrected Powerhouse: Unleashing the Performance

The naturally aspirated engine generates around 500 horsepower, catapulting throttle response, acceleration, and endurance to levels Shelby GT350 owners of old could only dream of.

The central theme of the Pro-Touring GT350CR closely aligns with this philosophy, while adhering as closely as possible to the original intent of the Shelby GT350. First introduced in 1965, the Shelby GT350 Mustang was essentially Ford’s homologation model for entering the popular SCCA B-Production racing series. Ford and Carroll Shelby collaborated to transform an ordinary Mustang into the Shelby GT350 by reinforcing its suspension, brakes, drivetrain, and various other components.

Modernity Meets Tradition: A Subtle Transformation

The GT350CR project enhances this work by grafting modern elements onto the 1966 Mustang’s chassis. It incorporates modern components such as 6-piston Wilwood calipers, rack-and-pinion steering, a suspension system meticulously refined by Detroit Speed, and an upgraded version of the 5.0-liter DOHC V8 engine found in contemporary Mustang GTs.

Equipped with an intake manifold from the new GT350 Mustang’s 5.2-liter engine and a Lund Racing-tuned ECU software, the naturally aspirated engine now produces approximately 500 horsepower. This elevated power output translates to unmatched throttle response, acceleration, and resilience—a realm even the original Shelby GT350 owners could not fathom.

Purposeful Design: Balancing Aesthetics and Functionality

Details added to the first-generation Shelby Mustang’s sharp bodywork now exude a sense of purpose. Jason Engel, the owner of Classic Recreations, articulates the design ethos:

“I believe in both form and function – you’ll hear me say this at least 20 times a day. With the Pro-Touring GT350CR Shelby Mustang, we aimed for a restrained restoration with a purpose.”

The addition of 18-inch American Racing wheels and BFG Rival racing tires necessitated panel modifications to the standard fenders. Air intake vents were integrated into the hood to provide additional cooling for the enhanced engine. Openings for side pipes on the cast exhaust manifolds (I’m referring to a real dual system that lacks traditional X or H-pipe connections between the two cylinders, creating the distinctive Shelby sound) also showcase thoughtful craftsmanship.

The Experience of Driving: Bridging Past and Present

The Pro-Touring modification applied to this 1966 model Mustang unquestionably enhances its capabilities. However, the vehicle still retains the appearance of a vintage performance machine. The inclusion of adjustable steering and sports bucket seats has made the GT350CR more user-friendly compared to the original Mustang. Yet, characteristics like a heavy clutch, long gear throws, an indistinct brake pedal feel, and certain idiosyncrasies indicate the growing disconnect between performance vehicles of the past and their contemporary counterparts. Nonetheless, embracing the physical effort required to maneuver such a machine carries its own charm. Ultimately, we have no doubt that this Shelby will prove itself on the track during race days or local autocross competitions.

The Price of Reviving Heritage

The starting price for the Classic Recreations Pro-Touring GT350CR Shelby Mustang is $169,000. Each vehicle becomes a member of the Shelby American Worldwide Registry, offering buyers an array of customization options. These encompass a complimentary 4R70W automatic transmission conversion, a premium sound system, fully bespoke color and interior choices, and the option for a twin-turbo setup producing 1,000 horsepower.

While redefining the past comes at a price, it’s a cost well justified for a capable, retro-styled machine like this. The GT350CR Shelby Mustang, transformed by Pro-Touring modifications, is an unmissable opportunity for those with the means.

Conclusion: A Symphony of Nostalgia and Innovation

The 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350CR Pro-Touring stands as a testament to the seamless fusion of classic elegance and modern prowess. It’s a symphony that harks back to the past while pushing the boundaries of what a vintage muscle car can achieve. Crafted by Classic Recreations, this machine is not merely an automobile; it’s a time-traveling experience that brings history roaring to life on the asphalt.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Pro-Touring modification? Pro-Touring modification involves enhancing the performance and handling of a classic car using modern components, without compromising its original aesthetics.

2. How much horsepower does the GT350CR Shelby Mustang produce? The GT350CR Shelby Mustang’s naturally aspirated engine generates approximately 500 horsepower.

3. What sets the Pro-Touring GT350CR apart from the original GT350? While retaining the essence of the original GT350, the Pro-Touring GT350CR incorporates modern upgrades like suspension enhancements, a refined engine, and other contemporary features.

4. Can you elaborate on the customization options available for the GT350CR Shelby Mustang? Buyers can choose from a range of options, including automatic transmission conversion, premium sound systems, personalized color and interior choices, and even a potent twin-turbo setup.

5. What is the significance of the GT350CR Shelby Mustang in the realm of classic muscle cars? The GT350CR Shelby Mustang symbolizes the harmonious blend of timeless aesthetics and modern performance, exemplifying the pinnacle of what can be achieved in reviving and enhancing classic muscle cars.