Unique 1969 Shelby Mustang GT350 - A Timeless, Unrestored Classic Flaunting Its Battle Scars

Unveiled in 1965, the Shelby GT350 marked the first Ford Mustang to emerge from Carroll Shelby's workshop. Paving the way for the GT500 and several one-off creations, the GT350 persevered until 1969, when Shelby and Ford went their separate ways, though a handful of unsold models were given 1970 model year VINs.

Fast forward to 2023, and all first-gen GT350s are highly sought-after collectibles commanding six-figure sums at public auctions. While the 1965 model is the rarest and most coveted, later models also enjoy scarcity, as annual production seldom surpassed 1,500 units.

But does the final-year 1969 version receive the same adoration as its pioneering GT350 counterparts? Perhaps not. Whether it's the extensive redesign or the increased size and weight, these models aren't as treasured as their predecessors. However, they are genuine Shelbys and undeniably scarce.

In 1969, production at Carroll's workshop remained limited, with a mere 3,153 Mustangs transformed into Shelby GT specification. Out of these, only 1,281 bore "GT350" badges. This number is further divided into three distinct models: the Sportroof coupe, which dominated with 937 units, 150 Hertz vehicles, and a mere 194 convertibles.

This Wimbledon White example is among the 900-plus Sportroof GT350s, but its charm extends beyond its production number. What sets it apart is its all-original status, encompassing a numbers-matching engine, transmission, and original body panels, in addition to its factory paint and stripes.

Certainly, the paint has seen better days, showcasing scuffs, dings, and scratches. However, these battle scars, accumulated over 54 years on the road as of 2023, are precisely what make it unique. While it may be a relatively low-mileage car, its well-preserved condition is especially noteworthy, given that these Mustangs are prone to rapid rusting when improperly stored.

The interior of this Shelby is further testament to its well-preserved condition. The upholstery shows minimal signs of wear and tear, and the dashboard remains crack-free – an impressive accomplishment for a vehicle from the 1970s, regardless of the brand.

Though our host doesn't offer a peek under the hood, rest assured that this GT350 boasts the same 351-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) Windsor V8 it received from the factory. This engine, new for 1969, replaced the 302-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) powerplant offered by Shelby in 1968.

The upgraded Windsor generated 290 horsepower and 385 pound-feet (522 Nm) of torque, propelling the muscular Mustang down the quarter-mile in under 15 seconds.

I must admit, the Wimbledon White with blue stripes isn't my personal favorite color combination for Shelby GT350s. I would opt for Acapulco Blue Metallic or Royal Maroon (both with white stripes) any day, but the white and blue pairing pays homage to the original 1965 GT350, and that's undeniably appealing.

So, without dwelling on paint preferences, click the play button below to admire this stunning classic at a local car show.

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