Shelby Mustang Cobra Jet powered GT 350-GT 500-GT 500 KR
The 1965/66 Shelby cars were quick on the track but not really tame enough for city streets and Carroll Shelby’s audience is growing so the new 1967 Shelby’s are more road friendly vehicles. The Shelby Mustangs have the stock hood and trunk lid replaced with light weight fiberglass versions. They are also sporting more scoops and air vents than the basic factory units.
The GT 350 Mustang for 1967 has the high performance 306 hp “K” code 289 engine under the hood mounted with an aluminum intake hi-riser manifold. The GT 500 was also introduced in ’67 which is powered by a 428 Thunderbird engine with two four barrel carburetors bolted to the intake. Mechanical upgrades for the GT 500 include a front end strut brace, heavy duty suspension, wider brake drums with wider shoes, and power brakes. The interior is protected by an added roll bar, with revised instruments; an 8,000 rpm tachometer, 140 mph speedometer, and power steering are basic for the GT 500 versions. Either chosen engine can be bolted to the four speed standard or the three speed automatic transmission. Both these versions are available in a coupe or a convertible body style and have some minor cosmetic body revisions but few of the performance alterations previously offered. Shelby has a lot less input with the production of the model from mid-’67 onward. The work is done by A.O. Smith in Ionia, Michigan with Ford controlling the operations.
The 1968 Shelby high performance cars are the same two engines as ’67; beginning the year as the Shelby Cobra GT 350 and the Shelby Cobra 500 but in February a new version is introduced as the Cobra GT 500 “King of the Road” packing the 428 Cu in (7.0 L) Cobra Jet engine with a 335 hp (250 kW) rating. The GT 500 KR kicks it up a few notches with this police interceptor engine; it is high is performance although only one four barrel carburetor is used in the version. This reliable engine is low priced compared to any competitive big block offers and Ford refers to it as their “bread and butter” engine. It also sports well aerated heads and weighty exhaust manifolds with lower back pressure from the larger diameter exhaust pipes. According to Ford all the Cobra Jet engines, including the 428 police version, develop 335 bhp but this one is producing 440 ft-lb of torque at 3,400 rpm so this is obviously highly under estimated horse power for lower insurance premiums. The KR is also equipped with a 3.50 traction lock differential and is a productive drag race model-achieving championship status at Winternationals eclipsing the high performance Hemi engines. This Ford police interceptor 428 also left the Ferrari in its dust at Lemans in both ’66 and ’67 with the cast rocker covers regally etched with “Cobra Lemans” commemorating the fact. The movie “Gone in Sixty Seconds” uses a ’67 Shelby as the object that Memphis Raines desires to possess by any means possible. “Gunsmith Cats” also has a Shelby Mustang as Kenichi Sonoda’ ride, but when it is blown up it is replaced by a Mustang II King Cobra in the sequel “Gunsmith Cats Burst”
The 1969 Shelby Mustang is no longer displaying Cobra badges; it is now called the Shelby GT 350 or the Shelby GT 500. The car is about four inches longer and the sheet metal has had some major changes this year as well with the GT 350 version now powered by the 351 cu in engine. Ford is the major decision maker on the Shelby line with Carroll Shelby leaving his association with Ford entirely by the summer of 1969.
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