- A rare 1965 Shelby GT350R Mustang raked in $3.85 million at auction on Friday, becoming the most expensive Mustang on the planet.
- A 1968 model driven by Steve McQueen in the movie “Bullitt” set the previous record when it went for $3.74 million in January.
- This 1965 Shelby GT350R won numerous races and was driven by legendary race-car driver Ken Miles, whose story was featured in last year’s movie “Ford v. Ferrari.” It was also used as a test mule by Shelby American engineers.
- Mecum calls the car not only “the most historically important Shelby Mustang in the world,” but also “arguably the most important Mustang in the history of the marque, period.”
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In January, the 1968 Ford Mustang GT driven by Steve McQueen in the film “Bullitt” raked in a record-setting $3.74 million at auction. Now, just a few months later, there’s a new world’s most expensive Mustang.
The Mustang – a 1965 Shelby GT350R Mustang prototype – is an automotive icon, having been driven extensively by legendary race-car drivers such as Ken Miles, of “Ford v. Ferrari” fame. It crossed the block on Friday during Mecum Auctions’ Indianapolis sale, raking in an astonishing $3.85 million.
Built to be a high-performance competition version of the 1965 Mustang, the GT350R in question was used as a team car and engineering test mule by Carroll Shelby’s Shelby American. It claimed more than 10 Sports Car Club of America class victories in just the 1965 season, and went on to have several successful seasons after.
Solidifying its place in Ford history, the Mustang also spent 14 years in the Shelby American Museum, and has won awards at some of the most prestigious car shows.
Below, you can see more of the car record-breaking car that Mecum is calling "arguably the most important Mustang in the history of the marque."
Mecum Auctions just sold a one-of-a-kind 1965 Shelby GT350R Mustang race car at its Indianapolis sale, and it shattered auction records.
Dripping in automotive history, the car raked in $3.85 million on Friday, becoming the most expensive Mustang ever sold.
It went for roughly $100,000 more than the previous record holder, the Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in the film "Bullitt," which sold for $3.74 million earlier this year.
There are some very good reasons for that.
In the mid 1960s, Ford tapped racing-driver-turned-car-developer Carroll Shelby to build a high-performance Mustang for SCCA B-Class racing.
Source: Motor Trend
The Blue Oval shipped a trio of white 1965 Mustangs to Shelby's shop in Venice, California so he could get to work.
Source: Motor Trend
From those three cars, Shelby developed two racing prototypes and a street car, which was required to make the GT350R eligible to race.
Source: Motor Trend
This is the first of those prototypes.
Known as "Flying Mustang," the car was the first Shelby Mustang to win a race …
… and logged more than 10 first-place finishes during the 1965 SCCA season.
It was driven extensively by race-car driver Ken Miles, of "Ford v. Ferrari" fame. Plus, Dana Mecum said, it was the only Mustang Miles ever drove.
According to the listing, other big names in racing — including Peter Brock, Bob Bondurant, Jerry Titus, and Chuck Cantwell — also drove the car.
In addition to clocking up numerous racing victories, this Shelby GT350R was used by engineers to test new designs and parts for Shelby's next competition car, and for the 34 customer versions built.
The Mecum listing called this R-Model prototype "arguably the most important Mustang in the history of the marque, period."
That wasn't just hype — a Shelby expert told Hagerty: "Of the important Mustangs that have come to auction, [this one] in my opinion is the most significant in terms of its contribution to automotive history."
The car gave the Mustang the high-performance reputation it has to this day, and kicked off a long line of sporty, track-focused pony cars.
After Ford retired the car, it changed hands a handful of times and won many more races under different owners.
It was displayed in the Shelby American Museum in Boulder, Colorado for 14 years, before being bought by its current owner.
The GT350R's latest owner had it meticulously restored.
It won Best in Class at Amelia Island in 2014, and again at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2015.
Back in 1966, Shelby American sold this GT350R prototype to a Ford engineer for $4,000.
Needless to say, that engineer probably should've held onto it for a few decades.