Thursday, October 05, 2006

Why a Shelby GT350 R-Model?

Some interesting trivia about why I chose the Shelby GT350R.

The newest model year car that can run in the La Carrera Panamericana is a 1965 so that narrowed the field down as to what my choices would be. In the Historica "C" Class that we will run in much of the car is required to be original. Again part of my choice is simply because much of the 1965 GT350 R-Model car was in fact lightweight making it an obvious choice and don't forget the fact these cars dominated the race tracks and highways for years.

The GT350R Model Shelbys were unique in that they represented the first time an American manufacture offered a strictly-for-racing competition model which could be purchased from a dealer and which would require nothing after delivery. Essentially it was "Race -Ready". In 1965 or 1966 you could walk into any Shelby dealership, purchase a full-specification GT350 R-Model and take it (by trailer because these cars were never intended to be driven on the street) directly to the race track and race it.

There are many exciting features that where available in these machines that were as exciting to a racer as the car. One description of this car was the mention in an advertisement as having "Fire-proof Interior." This was because all of the stock Mustang upholstery and insulation were deleted. On introduction, Shelby gave notice to all Corvette racers that, "The only time a Corvette would see Victory Lane is if a Shelby GT350 didn't show up."

Another special feature of the 1965 GT350 R-Model was a 20 pound weight saving was gained by using a Plexiglas rear window. It was unique with a 1-inch space at the top which acted as a duct to remove air accumulating inside the car and introducing it as a layer of air over the rear window at speeds. This created what is known as a "Laminar flow" a principal that added an extra 5 horsepower to the car's top speed.

There are many other reasons for choosing this car besides these few items and based on past personal experience with many muscle and race cars alike including the Shelby I still own and I am positive this is the best choice for the La Carrera Panamericana and us. It is going to fit more like a glove than a car.... racing glove that is.

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