The Ultra-Rare '65 Shelby GT350 Supercharged Prototype Is for Sale

Ya know, not all Shelby GT350s were created equal. Among the very few factory options from which you had to choose in 1966 were racing stripes, a limited slip differential, and a factory or dealer installed Paxton supercharger. Those supercharged cars were among the meanest things on the street in the 1960s, and the fact that they even exist boils down to...

Carroll Shelby losing a drag race. Yup. 

What you're currently looking at is one of just two prototypes Shelby built in 1965 to test out the Paxton package. It's fast even by today's standards, and it's up for grabs at RM's Monterey auction this week.

Early in 1965, Joseph Granatelli (as in, Granatelli Motorsports, brother of Andy Granatelli of STP fame) was apparently not 100 percent satisfied with his GT350's performance, so he did exactly what so many of us would: He suped it up like crazy, and he did it very, very well.

The Granatellis happened to control Paxton superchargers at the time, so it was only natural that he threw a fairly large blower onto the car; horsepower jumped from a solid 305 to a not-bad-even-by-today's-standards, 443.

So what'd Granatelli do next? He pulled up to Shelby's factory and challenged Carroll to a race. Carroll agreed, then climbed into a 289 Cobra.

Very quickly, this was the only view Shelby had of the Mustang. And just as fast, he made up his mind to start offering the same supercharger system as an option on all 1966 GT350s.

That's where this specific car comes in. It was shipped off to the Paxton HQ, where proper development began in earnest. After everything was said and done, it was used as a "demonstrator car." In other words, this was a toy used by Shelby to try to frighten members of the motoring press with raw acceleration.

The 1966 Paxton Shelby GT350s are, of course, some of the most desirable cars ever to bear the Shelby name. This one, though, born from a drag race that happened to be the best sales pitch in history, was its genesis. Damnit that's cool. 

Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. He's convinced that Granatelli's drag race challenge was really the greatest sales pitch of all time.