Best Muscle Cars
By Dave Ashton
There’s been a good few Mustangs that have popped up for auction in recent years which have fetched the equivalent of a king’s ransom. But not many that are as rare as this 1965 Shelby GT350R Prototype, which went to one lucky winner for the princely sum of $3,500,000.
This particular Shelby GT350R is the first R model 5R002, aptly named the ‘Flying Mustang’ and was the first of its breed to be designed by Shelby to take on the SCCA Production Sports Car competition. Along with changing the perception of the Mustang as the typical secretaries car.
This particular vehicle served as a test mule for the second team car (5R001) and the first roll-out of the R-models. Ken Miles and Chuck Cantwell were the driving champions of the day who put the car through its paces, which was also the inspiration for future models. What makes the car so unique is its configuration which is unlike any subsequent R model. In some ways, a symptom of any test mule vehicle which will feature a variety of test parts not available on production models.
The car was also used for promotional purposes, such is at the January 1965 California’s Riverside International Raceway and then at its racing debut at Green Valley Raceway, Dallas, Texas. It was here that the ‘Flying Mustang’ was captured in all its glory in mid flight, leading to its subsequent nametag.
The car was essentially raced and sold a bunch of times, until it was rediscovered in 1989, been sold to Steve Volk, who displayed it at the Shelby American Museum, Boulder, Colorado, where it was stored for the next 14 years. 2010 then saw a complete restoration of the car. The full background story which you can find on the Mecum website from which it was recently sold.
More than anything, this 1965 Shelby GT350R hit its asking price, not just for its unique qualities, but also for it’s racing pedigree and subsequent wins at the likes of the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for best in class award.
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