1965 Shelby GT350 'Development PrototypeSOLD

1965 Shelby GT350 'Development Prototype'

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To be offered at auction at RM Sotheby's Monterey event, August 13-15, 2015. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/.

Chassis No.
SFM 5S319

$425,000 - $525,000

289 cu. in. OHV Hi-Po V-8 engine with a Borg-Warner aluminum-cased T-10 close-ratio four-speed transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live-axle rear suspension with leaf springs and traction bar, and front disc and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 108 in.

Rare development prototype with 1966 features
Used during the summer of 1966 by Ford/Shelby designer Charles McHose
Documentation includes personal letter from McHose
Emerged from 30-year storage in 2010
Offered by one of the world's foremost Shelby collectors

This highly unique GT350 claims the distinction of being a Shelby factory development car for several years and therefore features an unusual combination of styling cues and equipment options. Furthermore, the car was personally assigned by Shelby American as a company car to designer Charles McHose, who flew out from Ford's special projects studio in Detroit to Shelby's Los Angeles headquarters in the summer of 1966 to collaborate on the soon-to-be-developed 1967 Shelby Mustang.

According to the SAAC Registry, chassis number SFM 5S319 was originally shipped from Ford's San Jose plant on May 22, 1965, to Shelby American for conversion to a GT350. The car was received at Shelby's Los Angeles airport factory a day later and began standard modifications on May 24, completing assembly the following day. Then, chosen by Shelby American as a development car for the 1966 model, this car was equipped with a spoilered trunk lid, side scoops, and 1966-style side stripes. According to research by the previous owner, the unusual trunk lid is thought to be a Berry Plastiglass component originally made for Shelby in 1965. It is believed to be the first use of a spoilered deck lid on a GT350, a seemingly significant factor given the car's primary driver during 1966. A similar deck lid would emerge as one of the defining characteristics of McHose's '67 redesign, which was carried through on all other Shelby Mustangs through 1970.

According to a letter in this car's file penned by Charles McHose, he was chosen, after four years in Detroit following a stint in the UK, to be the lucky Ford designer who would meet with Carroll Shelby to discuss 1967 modifications. These important cosmetic changes were intended to further differentiate the Shelby cars from their Ford Mustang cousins. Shelby's headquarters occupied two hangars on the Los Angeles airport tarmac, and McHose was given a second-story office in the east hangar. He had the pleasure of looking down on (and hearing) the 427 Cobras being prepared each day on the factory floor!

This GT350 was assigned to McHose as his company car for the summer, and he recalls it being equipped with an automatic gearbox and having some driving eccentricities to it, having been disassembled and reassembled many times for engineering and development purposes. A vintage photograph included in the car's file shows the young McHose dressed in a mechanic's jumpsuit standing next to this car, complete with scoops, stripes, and rear spoiler, clarifying that these features were installed very early in the car's life.

Despite the challenges the car sometimes posed, McHose loved the roar of the Hi-Po 289 engine. He wrote, When going through the long airport tunnel from Imperial Highway north, the echo of the exhaust was fantastic as I accelerated, but I had to drive with one eye on the rearview mirror, as all the cops in the area knew about the Shelby Mustangs and Cobras blasting around the area.

While motoring around one day, McHose was rear-ended by a drunk driver, and the damaged prototype car was stored at Chaffee Motors in nearby Hawthorne. Shelby American advertised 5S319 for sale on December 9, 1966, by which point a four-speed gearbox had been reinstalled, as well as a 1967-style wood-rimmed steering wheel and a 1966 AM radio with an eight-track player and factory door speakers. Acquired in May 1967 from inventory by Shelby's High-Performance Motors, of El Segundo, the GT350 was then purchased by Larry Rodkey, of San Luis Obispo, California, who reportedly kept it only a short time.

In August 1979, this unique development prototype was purchased by Donald Valley, also of San Luis Obispo, and he soon set about some modifications, such as removing the side brake-scoops and quarter windows, which he replaced with 1965-style louvered rear quarter panels. The interior carpeting was replaced, and the body was repainted. In September 1980, Mr. Valley sold the Shelby to Costa Mesa resident Jeff Childs, who domiciled the car within his collection, and it essentially remained out of sight for the next 30 years.

In spring 2010, Mr. Childs finally removed the GT350 from storage and decided he would sell it that August. In preparation, a correct 289 motor (with all-new heads, rods, and crank) was sourced from Craig Conley in San Diego, and some freshening was undertaken to return the car to its prototype configuration, including returning the rear quarter panels and side scoops to their original appearance. The Shelby still featured its unusual combination of model-year features, including Cragar 15-inch five-spoke wheels with black accents, a 1966 carpeted rear shelf, a 1967 steering wheel, under-ride traction bars (plus the original over-ride brackets), a Hurst shifter, a dash-mounted horn switch, 1965 side stripes, and a 1965 instrument pod with Sun tachometer and Stewart Warner oil pressure gauge.

In August 2010, this historically remarkable Shelby was acquired by the consignor, one of the most respected collectors of Shelby cars and memorabilia. Chassis number 5S319 joined his fine collection of Shelby Mustangs and Cobras, and it has since been treated to a few measures intended to improve its overall factory authenticity, including a thorough detailing. A notable part of Shelby history, this GT350 was also the subject of a feature in the September 2010 issue of Mustang Monthly, as well as the Winter 2010 issue of The Shelby American. This highly collectible GT350 is accompanied by numerous historic photos of the car at the Shelby American facilities, historic documentation, and the California black plate that is believed to be the car's original.

This important, historic artifact of the Shelby Mustang legend is now publicly offered for only the second time in 35 years, and it promises the serious Shelby collector a one-of-a-kind example with special connections of provenance to the influential Charles McHose.

Reference Number 363633

as of 8/19/2015

Car 1965 Shelby GT350 'Development Prototype
VIN SFM 5S319 
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