This Shelby GT350 Race Car Is A 40-Year Barn Find Secret
Photography Courtesy of Bonhams
Our love of cars typically revolves around classics wearing shiny paint framed in polished brightwork. Granted, we here at Petrolicious have always preferred a few stone chips and blemishes in favor of a flawless 100-point restoration specimen destined to collect dust in a climate controlled chamber. Though we love beautifully original and restored vintage tin, we love a good patina—especially when it’s an all-natural weathering like the current state of this 1966 Shelby GT 350.
We’ve covered Shelby Mustangs before, but those examples were either tediously restored or highly maintained with great care. This? This one-owner ’66 GT 350 was parked in a storage unit in 1976… and left to hibernate for the next four decades. The car recently rose from its slumber and is now being offered on the bidding block at the upcoming Greenwich Concours D’Elegance through Bonhams without reserve.
Originally, this race bred pony car was an active racer and demonstrator workhorse for the famous Harr Ford dealership based in Worchester, Massachusetts. In 1967, avid enthusiast Francis “Fran” Grayson visited the Harr Ford dealer to purchase a new performance car. At the time, the Harr showroom housed this GT 350 and an infamous Dragonsnake. Since the drag race Cobra was a tad rough for a streetcar, not to mention void of a roof, Fran opted for the more practical hopped-up Mustang.
Fran enjoyed this Shelby both on and off track for years and was adamant on maintaining the car’s condition. Throughout ownership, Fran thoroughly documented every document related to the GT, compiling its paper history in a binder that includes the Harr Ford salesman’s business card and original bill of sale.
Bizarrely in 1976, Fran parked his beloved racecar-for-the-road in storage. For undisclosed reasons, he remained quiet about his old racehorse, keeping his garaged Shelby a secret even to his family. In his final days of April earlier this year, Fran informed his loved ones of the hidden treasure—likely a shock to his family who hadn’t seen the car in 40 years.
Said to be completely original, though not presenting in pristine condition, we can’t help but wonder: what would you do with this car? Its current patina is eerily beautiful and we can’t help but think: it’s perfect as is. To make things even more difficult, the car comes with a plethora of original NOS Ford and Shelby parts that’d make restoring it all the more feasible.
Still in their factory packaging materials are NOS Ford quarter panels, Crager Shelby spec mag wheels (all five), a NOS Ford front passenger side fender, a NOS Ford fuel tank, and an extra pair of used doors. To make restoration all the more tempting are extra original Shelby vinyl side stripes.
Being a 1966 model, this Shelby is a carryover ‘65 with a slightly “softer” character compared to the more hardcore original batch of GT 350. After a number of complaints about the ’65 model being too harsh for the street, Ford twisted Carroll’s arm to make the ’66 model a little more user friendly in order to gain buyers. Still, these carryover models are stout machines built with performance in mind over comfort.
The want is strong but the avenue on what to do with such an original, slightly rusty early Shelby is a decision the lucky high-bidder will have to decide. As for us, we’d do our best to preserve its brute all-business patina demeanor, because oftentimes proudly showing your age is better than pretending to be young again.
– One owner since new
– Harr Ford race/demonstrator car
– All original and recently pulled from 40 years of storage
~306 hp, 289 ci Ford K-Code SOHC eight-cylinder, Borg-Warner four-speed manual transmission, Shelby A-Arm front and Ford 9 in. solid axle rear suspension, front disc and rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 108 in.
Chassis no.: SFM6S163