The 1965 Shelby Mustang/America at It’s Best
By Pat Munro
The car released had a tubular frame with lightweight aluminum bodywork and a coil sprung chassis. It had a seven liter, 427 cubic inch V8, which could produce over 425 bhp at 6500 rpm. The top speed for the SC version (semi-competition) was 180 mph. It took only 4.2 seconds to go from 0-60 mph, what a car. Other features included a lowered front suspension with repositioned mounting points for fast-ratio steering, a steel bar connecting the front shock towers to improve rigidity and rear-traction bars located above the rear axle. These features gave the Shelby Cobra Mustang near neutral handling as opposed to other manufacturers strong under steer. They had to remove the rear seat to comply with the two-seater sports car rules in NorthAmerica, so they replaced it with a fiberglass panel which hid the spare tire. Other modifications were a trunk mounted battery, three-inch competition seat belts, a mahogany rimmed steering wheel and a dash mounted tachometer and oil pressure gauge. It has been said the Shelby Cobra Mustang started the ‘muscle car’ era. “Muscle car’ referred to the awe-inspiring, compact cars fitted with huge engines which could accelerate like small rockets, the dream of every North American boy and girl.
Unfortunately the Shelby Mustang fell from grace by 1970. There were enormous amounts of accidents with the GTs, leading to high insurance rates, and cheaper, less refined cars broke into the market and took over. Today, many, like myself, consider the Shelby Mustang as a true blue, American classic. I’ve had the opportunity to drive one and the love affair took on new twist. I loved how it wasn’t cluttered with useless gizmos and gadgets like automatic brake assist and traction control, adding an excitable fear to the sound of the roaring engine.
Today, the SC Mustang Cobras can reach as much as $1.5 million dollars at auction because of it’s rareness. Due to the popularity of the car, replicas have flooded the market, kit car companies produce Cobra replicas which can be fitted with a variety of engines.
About the Author
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