Looking showroom-new, this Sapphire Blue 437 bhp 1969 Shelby Mustang is ready for its close-up - and its next historic race meeting. Under that famous bonnet, there’s a Ford Boss 302 V8 engine, ready to propel you towards the horizon, and hopefully the chequered flag. You won’t be firing up that rumbling power unit to go down to the shops, however, or indeed take a passenger - because despite external appearances this 1969 Shelby Mustang isn’t road legal and is very much a single seater. Better grab the crash helmet, then.


Key to the appeal of this pristine race-ready 1969 Shelby Mustang is its association with one of American motor racing’s most famous names. Carroll Shelby first made his mark in competition as a driver, winning among much else the 1959 Le Mans 24-hour race. After the small matter of creating the AC Cobra, Shelby went back to Le Mans as a constructor, developing the Ford GT40 that won in four successive years in the 1960s. This is the legend that worked with Ford to produce the Shelby Mustang series. Since this 1969 Shelby Mustang has been transformed into a rumbling racer, it’s front and centre in the spirit of Carroll Shelby himself.

Life wasn’t always easy for this 1969 Shelby Mustang, despite impeccable pedigree. First Californian owner bought it as a formidable road car, but shortly afterwards crashed his new sports coupé. Rescued from being crushed, the Shelby gained lightweight Maier fiberglass bodywork and a new V8. Out went every vestige of driver and passenger comfort and in came a roll cage and wide competition wheels. In its new guise, the car raced at events across southern California before more disaster struck: damage in a fire at a storage facility in 1982. But this 1969 Shelby Mustang has more lives than a cat, and another restoration was to follow.

Painstaking work produced the finished 1969 Shelby Mustang you see here. It wasn’t quick. Leading racing Mustang specialist Dave Mani sourced original parts and installed period-correct technology so that the 1969 Shelby Mustang was exactly as its name and year described. The goal, eventually achieved when the project was completed in 2012, was eligibility in the American Sportscar Vintage Racing Association Gold Medallion class. In short: this 1969 Shelby Mustang is ready to race, right now.

Now the bad news: you’re a little late if you’d like this particular 1969 Shelby Mustang, with its stellar history, in your garage. Auctioneers RM Sotheby’s reported intense interest and the super-rare GT350 sold for £132,000. Time to start saving for the next one that comes up for sale? Good shout. Plus: let’s hope the new owner of this 1969 Shelby Mustang gives it the rip-roaring racing life it continues to need, rather than lock it away in an air-conditioned warehouse. Carroll Shelby wouldn’t have liked that at all.

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