Part II The 1966 GT 350
The 1966 Shelby was designed to meet two requirements: cost effectiveness and increased sales. The most noticeable change to the exterior were five new color options including the basic Wimbledon White with the blue side stripes - now located higher up on the body. Also new were black, red, green and blue - all with white side stripes and the LeMans which could be added at the dealerships.
Due to demand, the exhaust system was extended from behind the body. An automatic C-4 transmission was also offered and an optional rear seat that folded down. The 1966 looked racier with the replacement plexiglass quarter windows and the side air scoops that cooled the brakes. Later in the production year, the fiberglass hood was replaced with the steel hood with functional air scoop due to customer complaints of breakage and a lack of quality fiberglass parts. The grill stayed the same except that the tri-colored pony was smaller. A new GT 350 gas cap and center cap in the steering wheel were added. The interior remained a "black only" option with a roll bar. The dash tach pad in the '65 was replaced with a large dash mounted 9000 RPM tachometer. The steering wheel was an optional wood-grain Mustang wheel with the special chrome GT 250 center cap. The spare tire was again placed in the trunk to be returned, later in the production year, to the factory location under the hood. The competition seat belts remained.
With the exception of the early Hertz Shelby's, all had C-4 automatic transmissions. Lots of 4-speeds were being broken. Due to the special competition brakes used on the Shelby, a special instrument panel decal was used on all Hertz Shelby's for nervous renters. It read "this vehicle is equipped with competition brakes, heavier than normal pedal pressure is required." Due to the increase of Sunday racers using these "rented Shelby's" this program was all but cancelled in 1967. During the end of the 1966 production year, Carroll Shelby made six Shelby convertibles as gifts for special friends. One of the best options offered in the '66 production year was the Paxton supercharger. This bolt-on package advertised an increase of 46% in horsepower. This made the already "hot" 306 horsepower 289 a real screamer, as many a Corvette owner found out.
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