Since everyone, myself included, is busy drooling on their keyboard over the new Shelby GT350R iteration of the new Ford Mustang, I’m going to present one of my many blue-with-white-stripes Shelby cars just for a kick. I have newer Mustangs as well as more ‘epic’ American cars, but I have a thing for old blue Shelbys in a severe way. Presenting the 1/18 Shelby Collectibles 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350R for your most honorable judgements.

To start, I must say that this car has been in pieces so many times that I’ve honestly lost count. Components have been changed, added, or removed over the years in such a way that I am going to let all of you find the modifications that have been done. I can name them all, can you?

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The “R”-branded version of the Shelby version of the fast version of the Ford Mustang was a performer in it’s day; reigning supreme in SCCA racing for a large part of the late 1960s and spawning a legacy that FoMoCo is working to recapture to this day. It’s working too; the new GT350RC racing car took three wins it’s first season out. Pretty impressive for a relatively un(race)tested machine out in it’s first few years from a company with minor recent experience in that race group.

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Any Shelby Collectibles branded diecast is an oddity of sorts in the model car world. With the exception of the Cobra diecasts they produce (which are still marginally better than others in that price range) the entire range of Mustangs and Daytona Coupes and the like are assembled with more (and more detailed) parts than their counterparts in the market. Sure you can get more expensive models of some of these cars, and they’ll be great of course, But a Shelby Collectibles model just stands out when you’re only shelling out $30-50. It’s slightly more than your average Maisto and the like, but the level of detail is exponentially greater than the $10-$15 price gap.

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Up front the body lines and paint application is very very well executed, and despite my years of tough love, the car is still in very nice shape. Sure there are some dings and scratches, but the finicky little components are all still in place, and one or two spots aside, the paint held up great to all the knocks and dings!

Under the grilles is all real mesh, and while the chrome trim is maybe a little too shiney, it is not over-molded and looks pretty darned accurate if you ask me. Also, hood pins and tow hooks!

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306hp, 289ci V8 with a high rise intake and headers? Sure, bring it on!

Makes right around 30hp more than the stock Ford K-code 289 V8 when they were dropped off to Shelby for the conversions. R models got some other tweaks including great side-exit exhausts, five spoke racing wheels, a full roll cage, rear bumper delete, and a really cool solution to vent hot air from the cabin during those long races.

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Speaking of those wheels for a second, Shelby Collectibles did a pretty decent job here. the wheels look very accurate and the tires feature period-correct tire lettering and thread. The tire compound is a let down here though, as the tires are very hard to the point that car sits a little like it’s on stilts at all times, and the wheels develop a weird positive camber effect unless you move them around a little.

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At the rear you’ll also notice the panels covering what-would-have-been a fake vent on the Mustang, or a side window on the regular GT350. The rivets are a supremely convincing part of this model, along with that crazy rear window vent of course!

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The usual array of tow hooks and trunk clips exists here, and while the bumper delete makes it look a little buck-toothed from some angles, the overall look is menacing as ever, and helps get the race-car point across. The massive gas tank and fuel filler accompanying the battery in the trunk kind of help with this also, however.

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Around the interior of this blue beastie is the usual 60's production muscle car-turned-racer stuff; stock dash with nothing but gauges in it, a pretty thin roll cage, a large throw shifter, small bucket seat(s), and a fire extinguisher for safety. Gloriously barren.

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My favorite part of the whole car might be the window pulls hanging from the top of the lightweight, barren door cards. Maybe.

You’ll notice that the driver gets the hardcore bucket seat, while the passenger makes due with a stock seat and a lap belt. And a roll cage to white-knuckle during the ride.

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I imagine the stock seat is pretty heavy though, with it’s tilt mechanism and all that. Did ‘Ol Carrol think people were putting stuff back there?!

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That’s about it then, folks. A 1/18 Shelby Collectibles GT35oR. I like this car and I’m pretty certain that this fact shines through as I type about this thing. I have a serious thing for a blue Shelby with stripes. White stripes. When you add race numbers and a roll cage to that equation (or any, for that matter) my knees get weak as my feet tell them to find pedals to manipulate.

My hands can’t find their way around a real Shelby at the moment, not for a lack of trying in the past (almost ended up with a Saleen s281e... one time), so they’ll have to make due with half a shelf of blue and white cars. More often than not spearheaded by this particular one.

Enjoy Car Week Ya’ll!

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