Impeccably Restored 1968 Shelby Mustang GT350, a Rare and Captivating Beauty -259

Introduced in 1964 as a rather mundane pony car, the Ford Mustang gained a high-performance version in 1965. That's when Carroll Shelby stepped in a created the Shelby GT350. Originally a lightweight, track-prepped car, the GT350 morphed into a more streetable machine in 1966.

Joined by a more beefed-up GT500 version in 1967, the small-block muscle car remained in production until 1969 (though unsold examples were offered as 1970 models).

Come 2023, and the Shelby GT350 is, to many, the primordial high-performance Mustang. These cars are highly sought-after and, depending on model year and specs, rare and expensive (some are worth more than $1 million). The 1965 version is the most desirable. Not only Shelby made only 572 units but also built just 34 factory race cars and four dragsters.

1966 was the most popular model year, with 2,386 units sold, but Shelby still delivered 1,201 cars in 1967 and 1,664 examples in 1968. In its final year on the assembly line, the nameplate spawned 1,281 units.

Most of these cars were fastbacks, but Shelby also put together a few coupes and convertibles. And the drop-top is notably rarer than the fastback, with about 600 units made over five years.

Which GT350 Convertible is the rarest? Well, that would have to be the 1966 because Shelby made only four that year. But I'm here to talk about the 1968 drop-top, which is not as rare as the 1966 version but is still a hard-to-find gem.

Especially when talking about examples like the one you see here. Why? Well, it's the finest first-gen GT350 I've seen in a long time. It's a perfect 10!

As you might have already guessed, it's a fully restored pony that comes with all the bells and whistles you can expect from a high-profile classic. And it's finished in the perfect color combo, as far as I'm concerned.

Painted Candy Apple Red, one of the more iconic Mustang colors, it also boasts white stripes above the side skirts and a white soft top. I'm not particularly crazy about the all-black interior, but everything looks so lovely I could sleep in this Shelby for weeks.

And there's an even bigger treat under the hood: a numbers-matching V8 with all the "Cobra" markings and high-performance add-on that make the 1968 GT350 a fast machine. Not only authentic, but this mill is so clean that you could eat right off the air filter.

This engine is also a one-year gem in the GT350. That's because 1968 was the only year when Ford used a 302-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) powerplant in the beefed-up Mustang. Introduced as a replacement for the previous 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) V8, the 302 was swapped out for the bigger 351-cubic-inch (5.8-liter) Windsor in 1969.

There is a downside, however, as the 302 had fewer racing parts and generated only 250 horsepower, 56 below the 289.

Even so, it sounds fantastic and provides enough grunt to spin the rear tires off the line. Check it out in the video below, and make sure you crank up the volume when the 302 V8 fires up.

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