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Old 11/25/2005, 09:03 AM   #1
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California Special verses the Shelby

I would really like to get some imput on the subject of the Shelby influence regarding the California Special. I know we`ve discussed this at length but I feel something needs to be clarified. I read the other day on a site that the California Special is in no way a Shelby. So how much of a Shelby is Mustang and/or Ford? Are Shelbys Mustangs or Cobras? Why does`nt the California Special have the Ford logo anywhere on it, except on the individual parts where it says FOMOCO? Don`t the Shelby`s have the same parts?I don`t want my car to be a Shelby, but I would like it to be worth as much as one. I guess, since people don`t know much about them ,is why they are not recognized as being as rare and expensive? That does`nt make any sense. Maybe the California Special was Ford`s rendition of the Shelby and should be recognized as such. I would like to know how much Shelby influence there is in an actual Shelby compared to the California Special. Any comments?

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Old 11/25/2005, 11:08 AM   #2
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The short answer is that the GT/CS was designed for FORD by Shelby Automotive as a marketing tool for the Mustang, that suffered a strike, and new competition. It was marketed as: "Looks like a Shelby GT", so engine size was not a critical factor.

The '68 Shelby has a roll bar, shoulder harness reels, deluxe interiors, more fiberglass on the front, etc., etc.

The FORD letters didn't appear on the '68 Mustang, unlike the '67. The GT/CS lacked the horse and bars, and the horse and corral in the grille, because it was supposed to have that spartan look, with the "Shelby-looking" stripes instead.

If anyone asks, the GT/CS was designed right next to the '68 and '69 Shelbys (and Cougars and T-Birds with sunroofs) at Shelby Automotive in Ionia, Mighigan. That is where the GT/CS makes the Shelby heritage connection.

So, where is this website that says "it's not a Shelby"?

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Old 11/25/2005, 11:40 AM   #3
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Paul's first book, and his research for it, does a great job of explaining the Shelby influence on the California Special.

1. The CS was inspired by the Little Red coupe prototype Fred Goodell of Shelby American had built and displayed.
2. Shelby decided not to build it. Lee Grey from CA dealerers association saw it at Riverside, and took the idea to Iacooca to do a CS for california. Iacocca contacted Carroll and had Little Red shipped to Dearborn. Ford approved the CS to be made.
3. Shelby Automotive was directed to build the CS prototypes (Paul has copies of the blueprints) and later contracted (via A.O. Smith) to make the 'shelby' parts for it.
4. The GT/CS is the only non-Shelby built vehicle in 68 to use Shelby parts.
5. 1968 advertising was "Inspiration by Shelby GT" (dealer brochure), "Inspired by the Shelby GT" (dealer post card), "The GT/CS design was obviously influenced by the 1968 Shelby Cobra" (Motorocade 1968 magazine)

Paul notes in his book that Shelby did not have direct influence on the GT/CS, though his chief engineer, Fred Goodell, and Shelby American/Shelby Automotive did have direct influence. I tried contacting Carroll last summer unsuccessfully to ask him about his rememberances of the GT/CS - I hope to catch him again this summer at a show.

I tend to tell people at shows that Shelby developed the coupe, and Ford built it. But I dont misrepresent the involvement of Carroll himself - it was Shelby Automotive/Shelby American.

As an aside, it has been argued by Shelby purists that any Shelby after 1967 was not a "true" Shelby because Carroll starting distancing himself from FORD when Shelby Automotive was moved from LA to MI. This view may also be held of the GT/CS, but is no less true than the Shelbys that FORD was building from 1968 on.

Casey
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Old 11/25/2005, 02:09 PM   #4
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Here is the site Paul.


http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache...helby%22&hl=en


So if the Shelby purists are saying that anything built after 1967 is not a true Shelby, then they should admit that the Shelbys produced after that should be equal to the GT/CS. But then would`nt they be worth as much as the GT/CS? Just me rambling

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Old 11/25/2005, 04:12 PM   #5
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Being a Shelby owner and a GT/CS owner, I want to say a few words on this topic. First of all, the GT/CS is NOT a Shelby and never will be. It is a Mustang coupe with a pretty "outfit". The GT/CS heritage is rooted in San Jose and was built to stimulate the sales of the 1968 Mustang.......nothing more, nothing less.

A Shelby has its heritage in racing. It was not built to stimulate the sales of any Mustang...it stands on its own as one of the first American "factory hot rods" and a car that kicked Covettes butt in SCCA road racing. Carroll Shelby built the first GT 350's to homogulate his race cars and Ford suggested he change the car a bit for 1966 so the general public could stand to drive the car for more that one hour at a time. By 1968, the Shelbys were built in Meutchen, became "softer" vehicles, and some of the cosmetic things we have on our GT/CS Mustangs were patterned after these Shelbys.

All of this being said, each car is beautiful in its own right, but trying to compare the two cars is like comparing apples to tomatos. I think we need to just love what we have and enjoy our cars. If we are going to continue the "value" discussion, we need to talk up our cars and promote their positive attributes ....whether they be a GT/CS or a Shelby.

Just my thoughts
Russ

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Old 11/25/2005, 04:58 PM   #6
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I still want to know how much Ford and/or Mustang is in a Shelby?

RHONDA
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Old 11/25/2005, 05:03 PM   #7
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Well said Russ. From what I could see in the article they made a true statement "A GT/CS is not a Shelby". Now on the other hand I'm not sure about their price quotes. Their a little low compared to prices I've seen lately. Not sure when that article was done.

Don

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Old 11/25/2005, 05:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mustanglvr
I still want to know how much Ford and/or Mustang is in a Shelby?
Rhonda;
That could be a tough one to answer. From my perspective I see the Mustang as the platform that Shelby used to promote his car's. On the other hand, Ford brought Shelby on board to help raise the image of the Mustang and help with their racing side of it. In my opinion they both (Ford/Shelby) helped eachother to accomplish both their goals. In either prespective it raised the Mustang to a level that has lasted to what you see today. I for one am happy with that.

I don't mean to sound trite or condesending but, as far as how much Ford or Mustang is in a Shelby doesn't matter to me. I see my GT/CS as just that. A GT/CS with Shelby influance. To me it's still a Mustang and that's what I love about it.

Don

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Old 11/25/2005, 06:05 PM   #9
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Rhonda, I guess I don't totally understand your question. If you are talking about quantity, there is much more "Ford" in a Shelby than "Shelby" in a Ford. Shelby was hired by Ford to promote the Mustang in racing. He installed performance parts and made the GT 350 Mustang a legend in racing. It is interesting to note that the first two years of Shelby production, the GT 350 was called a Shelby Ford Mustang GT 350 and the serial numbers (SFM) noted that distinction. Later in production, (1968-1970) Ford took over the production of the cars from Shelby, and this cars were less "hi-performance" and more style.

Really, you cannot separate the Mustang from the Shelby, because you cannot have one without the other. The big difference is WHY they were produced and WHAT is their heritage. The heritage issue is where the value lies. Shelby's will always command a higher value than our GT/CS's because of their heritage. Our GT/CS's don't have any heritage, comapred to a Shelby. I'm not sure I answered the question, but I gave it my best shot.

Russ

PS: Rhonda, I love my Highland Green GT/CS as much as my Shelby!!

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Old 11/25/2005, 06:45 PM   #10
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Russ

I pretty much agree with you except for this statement:

Quote:
It (Shelby) was not built to stimulate the sales of any Mustang
From what I have read and have heard many times it was Ford that came to Shelby because Ford wanted to add some muscle/image and stimulate sales.

Am I wrong in this statement?

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Old 11/25/2005, 07:13 PM   #11
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And to add to the racing image Ford was working toward....remember the phrase "Total Performance"?? EVERYTHING Ford did was an effort to increase sales, that is their business...sell cars. Shelby was promoting the total performace package, and that sold cars. Remember, win on Sunday and sell cars on Monday.

Russ

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Old 11/25/2005, 08:06 PM   #12
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Russ - I would totally agree with you that a GT/CS is not a Shelby.

But, it does have a Shelby heritage as it was prototyped by Shelby Automotive (Little Red), and developed by Shelby Automotive for FORD. Advertising of the day noted it as "Shelby Inspired".

So, we can safely say that the GT/CS was developed by Shelby, Shelby Inspired and has a Shelby heritage/history.

To your point, I have Shelby owner friends (one with a 68 convertible and another with a 67 with supercharger) that drool over my GT/CS. So, they all have their appeal. Casey
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Old 11/26/2005, 08:44 AM   #13
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The 1968 GT/CS is a great looking Mustang with some cool Shelby trim pieces on it. Probably the best looking, non-Shelby Mustang ever produced. And that's pretty much where the comparison to a Shelby ends unless you were buying a GT/CS with a 428...that's a different animal alltogether. The Shelby is performance oriented (mostly) and the GT/CS is looks oriented (mostly). Even though you could get a GT/CS with a 302, 390, or 428, there are other differences that distinguish a Shelby from a GT/CS. Shelby only shocks made by Autolite. Different and lowered suspension. 15-inch wheels and Speedway or Polyglas tires (GT500KR only). Reinforced shock towers. And other visual differences. There were things done to the Shelbys that were not even options on a regular Mustang, and those things distinguish them from regular Mustangs and GT/CSs. Be glad that GT/CS prices aren't what Shelby prices are. I've probably bought my last Shelby because I can't afford any more of them, they are just too darn expensive. Let the GT/CS prices stay low, that way we can all enjoy them. The last set of original tires I bought for a Shelby cost me more than any of my GT/CSs. GT/CSs are the best kept secret in the Mustang hobby...let's keep it that way. And if anybody has any original E70-15 tires for a 1968 Shelby, I'm still looking for some.

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Old 11/26/2005, 12:07 PM   #14
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The link I posted above also mentions that "Little Red" had various engine packages. What were they? I know you can`t believe everything you read on the net, but if there were "engine packages" were they anything like the GT/CS engine packages? Scott says in his post that "comparing a Shelby to 428 GT/CS is a whole different animal altogether". So a GT/CS with a 428 is closer to a Shelby than the others? I know I have alot of questions that will probably never be answered. What happened to the GT/CS owners wanting to become members of the Shelby club? Was anything ever decided with that? What does the Shelby club think? I really don`t know how the GT/CS package could be considered a dress up package when the tail lights and the grill section are totally different than a regular mustang. It changes the whole integrity of the car. I think Ford made a mistake when they called it a dress up package or an option. Its more than that. The GT/CS and HCS are a whole different animal on their own and I feel they should be recognized as such. Just like the GT`s that did`nt have anything in their vin numbers that proved they were GT`s.(Although, with all due respect, they look like a regular Mustang more than a GT/CS does, unless you know what to look for.) Ford made mistakes and I think they should now assign extra numbers to all the GT`s and Specials they produced. I know I`m rambling again. What do you all think?

RHONDA
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Old 11/26/2005, 12:43 PM   #15
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The 1968.5 428 Cobra jet Mustangs (engine also available as an option for GT/CS and High Country Specials) shared their engines with the 1968 Shelby GT500KRs and was the first time a 428 was offered in a regular (non-Shelby) production Mustang. Prior to the 428, the biggest engine you could get in a Mustang was a 390. The 428 engines were exactly the same (Mustang vs Shelby) except for the air cleaner assembly and vavle covers. So if you have a GT/CS or HCS with a 428 then there is an additional tie to Shelby I suppose. I would consider the engine a stronger tie to Shelby than the fiberglass.

Scott
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