Officially, the 1970 model year was the last “classic” Mustang that Carroll Shelby ever modified into GT350 or GT500 supercars. True, a limited number of ‘71 and ‘72 Shelbys were shipped out to Belgium by special request, but by and large Shelby Mustangs disappeared from Ford dealerships for the next 35 years before their triumphant return in 2005.
But what if Shelby had kept modifying Mustangs? What would they look like? Over on the Hemmings Auto Blog is a 1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1 that had some Shelby-esque modifications done to it when new, allowing us a chance to peep behind the veil and see what might-have-been had Shelby kept modifying Mustangs.
Powered by a 280 horsepower 351 cubic-inch Cobra Jet engine, this ‘71 Mach 1 was modified from front to back to reflect a coulda-been Shelby Mustang. True, the gear ratio was lowered from 3:90 to 3:25, but the 351 engine got a period-correct Shelby hydraulic camshaft, a Shelby semi-hirise intake manifold, a Holley 780 cfm carburetor, and Cyclone tuned-length long tube headers.
Of course no Shelby is complete without some exterior modifications to strike fear into the heart of other drivers. To that end, this Mach 1/Shelby has Shelby-style mag wheels, Boss 351 finned valve covers, hockey stick striping, and interior Shelby emblems. It was put together by the famed Galpin Ford, which also adds to the value of this wannabe Shelby. Sure, it might not be the real deal, but someone put a lot of thought into making this Mach 1 worthy of the Shelby name.
We think they did a bang up job, but do you think this ‘71 Mustang (or ANY ‘71 Mustang) could ever live up to the Shelby standard?