Among American muscle car collectors, the Shelby GT350 is pretty much the Holy Grail of Ford automobiles. Everyone knows it, has seen it, and desperately wants to own an original for themselves. As such, some of the wealthiest individuals from all around the world take to collecting these original Shelbys, though even we were surprised to learn that there was a Mexican version of this famous muscle car.
Jalopnik lays out how, in 1965, an intrepid Mexican car dealer struck an agreement with Carrol Shelby to import and build a small number of Shelby GT350s for the Mexican market.
Initiated by Eduardo Velazquez, in 1965 Shelby parts started crossing the border for use on the Mexican version of the Ford Mustang. Available only as a coupe and with the 302 cubic-inch engine, Velazquez managed to sell a few hundred of these unique Shelbys. Today they are a truly unique version of a rare car, making them doubly desirable to knowledgeable collectors.
It wasn’t until 1969 that the Mexican GT350 got the iconic Shelby taillights, and Velazquez added a special 377 engine producing around 450 horsepower, but by then the market for fast Mustangs was starting to drop off. None were built in 1970, and in 1971 the Shelby GT351, with a stock 351 cubic-inch engine, was the only entry. It was sort of petered out after that, though for awhile these Mexican Shelbys dominated the local touring car circuit.
Now, most of these lost Mexican Shelbys are found in garages, remembering the glory days of dusty Mexican racing. As unlikely as it is though, we like to imagine that somewhere out there is a bandito with a tragic backstory driving his original Mexican Shelby from one small-town heist to another. We think that would make an epic movie.