The original Shelby GT350 might be the most important car in the Ford Mustang's long history. Sure, Lee Iacocca's baby set the U.S. on fire when it debuted in 1964, but it was Carroll Shelby's mad creation that made it a legend. With only 252 built, the opportunity to own a 1966 GT350 is incredibly rare, so this barn-find example selling at a Bonhams auction next month is quite special.
This particular chassis was recently discovered after many years sitting in storage. It's only had one owner since new, and as it sits right now, it's unrestored. Bonhams expects it to sell for between $80,000 and $120,000, but a restoration would be costly if that's what the buyer decides to do with it.
As , the 252 1966 GT350s built are the pick of the litter among early GT350s because they're slightly more refined than the 1965 cars. As we discovered in our May 1965 review, the first GT350 was little more than an SCCA race car with license plates. For 1966, Shelby installed a quieter exhaust, a less aggressive differential, plexiglass rear-quarter windows, and a softer suspension setup. This particular example has the louder, side-exit exhaust of the 1965 car, though.
Those additional creature comforts don't mean this GT350 isn't ready to party: It still has a 306-horsepower 289 ci. V8, with a four-barrel Holley carburetor and a different intake manifold than the stock Ford. It sends it's power through a four-speed Borg Wagner transmission with a glorious Hurst shifter.
Apparently, this car was used as a demonstrator by a Ford dealer, then sold to a private owner who put 10,000 miles on it before storing it in a garage in 1976. It's a gorgeous time capsule that's itching to be brought back to its 1966 glory. It crosses the block at Bonhams Greenwich auction in Connecticut next month.