5S319, the ’65 Shelby GT350 used as the engineering prototype for the ’66 Shelbys and driven by Ford factory stylist Charles McHose, who designed the ’67 Shelbys, goes on the auction block next month in Monterey .
“Early Shelby GT350s are one of the hottest tickets in the musclecar market today and cars with a verified prototype status like 5S319 typically command a premium price,” says Frank Mecum of Mecum Auctions, which will feature the car on live television during Mecum Auctions’ Muscle Cars and More on Discovery's HD Theater.
McHose's biggest influence on the prototype is the unique rear spoiler that would become the most prominent distinguishing feature of the later Shelby Mustangs. It may have also been the first time that a rear spoiler was incorporated into the design of an American production vehicle.
As a prototype, 5S319 was also fitted with functional rear brake side scoops, side quarter windows, modified Shelby side stripes, and under-ride traction bars, all of which were implemented on the ‘66 models.
Through historical records and vintage photos, the Shelby American Automobile Club has verified 5S319 as a ’65 Shelby GT350 and that it was, in fact, used as a factory engineering prototype for the ’66 GT350s.
An original California “black plate” car, 5S319 was purchased from a private collector by its present owner in 1980 and has been stored in a garage for the past 20 years. Watch for a feature on the car in the September issue of Mustang Monthly.