The Story Behind “KEV 66” – A Shelby GT350 Tribute Model

Proud Owner Kevin Pearson

KEV 66 is a 1966 model Mustang Convertible and is a cosmetically correct tribute to the four original 1966 Shelby GT350 Convertibles. Kevin’s car was originally from Portland Oregon USA and was restored there in 2012. Kevin had for many years a real passion for the first-generation Mustang shape and sourced and purchased the vehicle in America and brought it to Australia in 2014, where he had it converted to right hand drive.

About the original Shelby GT350 Convertible (information courtesy of Mustang 360 – Mustang Monthly Magazine): The story behind the inspiration for Kevin’s Tribute Model.

Scrolling back in the annals of automotive history, most enthusiasts are aware that convertible Shelby Mustangs didn’t hit the scene until 1968 in production form. However, four legit GT350 convertibles were made for 1966 per the 2011 Shelby Registry from the Shelby American Automobile Club. Whether you call them test cars, prototypes, or styling exercises, the crux is that they certainly weren’t available to the general public. In the case of the ’66s, the SAAC Registry details how these were the last four cars ordered by Shelby American at the end of the model year. Each was a different colour; green, yellow, blue, and of course the candy-apple red feature car. Three of the four cars were destined for use within Shelby and Ford and only one was purchased, the purchaser was Bob Shane of the popular 1960’s singing group, The Kingston Trio.

In an interview with Mustang 360 Magazine February 2012, Bob Shane explained an early affinity for Shelby American products and how he’d bought a ’63 260 Cobra and a ’65 289 Cobra when new. Through these early purchases, Shane developed a friendship with Carroll Shelby. At some point after Shelby Mustangs began making a name for themselves, Shane mentioned to Shelby that he’d buy a convertible version if Shelby would build them. Shane recalls Shelby’s response as positive, and that he articulated a desire for one himself. Several months later, Shane was notified that a convertible was ready for him, whereupon he personally picked it up on July 7, 1966, at San Francisco Shelby dealer S&C Motors. Shane did not request a given colour, but at some point, it must have been determined that the candy-apple red unit would go to Shane.

The 1966 G.T. 350s were equipped identically to the fastbacks, except the rear quarter panel brake-cooling scoops were not functional because the convertible top mechanism interfered with the ducting. All four 1966 G.T. 350 convertibles survive today, three are complete cars while the fourth is disassembled and in storage.

About the “KEV 66” – A Shelby GT350 Convertible Tribute Model

The unique Shelby features on this car include: One-piece fibreglass hood with scoop, fibreglass side scoops, GT 350side stripes, correct white Le mans stripes, all rocker trim. Fender emblem deleted, hood pins, grill emblem, GT 350 rear badge, GT350 cap,  bullet side mirrors, correct new standard black interior, 3 inch racing belts, wood grain steering wheel with GT 350cap,  Shelby American grill plates, chrome export brace, Chrome Monte Carlo bar, Finned aluminium “Cobra” valve covers,  Hi PO Air Cleaner,  Traction master style bars, New Magnam500 wheels with 350 centre caps.

Since arriving in Australia in 2014 it has had an electronic ignition and a Holly 575 carburettor fitted.

Young at Heart… Living your Mustang lifestyle

By Kev and his partner Bev

During the summer months as retirees we now have the luxury of spending most of our time cruising around the highways and bye ways in the Mustang.  With the top down and wind ruffling our thinning hair we are finding places we didn’t know existed, visiting wineries, cafe’s and places off the beaten track.

The Mustang’s age, style and colour has great appeal to everyone, so we get to meet and talk too many interesting people from a wide age range… from the very young (in prams) to the very old, and all ages in-between. Only a couple of weeks ago we stopped for coffee at a cafe in the Dandenong and happened to park next to a mini bus with a group of elderly dementia clients and their carers, we spent 3/4 of an hour with them talking and having their photos taken with the car.

Our days out cruising the beaches and country sides gives us memories of the long hot summers of our youth and we are again “young at heart”.