If the Ford Mustang is considered to be an American icon then it goes without saying that the Shelby GT500 is an American legend.

The original 1965 GT350 wasn’t practical or family-friendly, it had one purpose in life and that was to give enthusiasts an almighty thrill when they nailed the throttle — and that it did. Built with racecar specs, it performed accordingly and in fact making it street legal was almost an afterthought. The man behind the machine was Texan racing driver Caroll Shelby who set his sights on creating a light, agile and potent sportscar. It had a modified K-code 289 cubic-inch V8 with 306 horses (35 more than the stock 289) and it gave the car incredible acceleration. It had a one-inch monte carlo bar across the front suspension, the steering rack was made 14 per cent faster and it had a set of 15in wheels wrapped with low-angle nylon cord Goodyear tyres. Ford and Caroll had a hit on their hands with the track-oriented model — which was made a little more civilised with the addition of back seats that folded over to make more boot room, longer exhaust pipes to help reduce cabin noise and an automatic was offered too — but things got way more exciting when the big block GT500 arrived in 1967. With a massive 428 cubic inch V8, larger functional air scoop in the bonnet and a full roll bar across the top of the cabin, it was evident that this one meant serious business. Replacing the rear quarter windows with air scoops (to let air out of the cabin) gave it an even more aggressive look and in ‘68 it got a redesigned grille giving the pony car a “shark-like” look and a new name, the GT-500KR (King of the Road.) With a Holley four-barrel carb, it made 360 horses and the Cobra Jet 428 — designed for racing — pushed output closer to the 400 horse mark. It could be had with a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic.

It’ll cost up to Dh700,000 today.

 

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