Early Shelby GT350s are still hot commodities, but later ones are lagging

The 1965-1970 Shelby GT350 has been near the bottom of our Hagerty Vehicle Rating list several times since early 2018. Because a vehicle’s place on the 0-100-point ranking has everything to do with how it’s currently trending in the market and not a judgement of its cultural importance or performance prowess, any number of factors can contribute to a ranking. Still, how could a car as loved as the GT350 consistently lag behind the market, and tie for the 16th lowest HVR score?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/03/01/early-shelby-gt350-hot-commodity

I think the later years are falling in value for another reason, and that is supply and demand. Many later Shelby’s are being bought at auction and sold 6 months later. Although the production numbers were not high, there are a lot of them being turned through auctions. These are people who are buying them hoping to earn a profit, not to actually drive them or enjoy them.

I think you hit it with the, “…or if buyers would rather clone a GT350 themselves and not have to worry about wadding up a piece of history on the outside wall of Turn 9 at Willow Springs.”
The first Mustangs weren’t performance cars, they were more of a movement and they were awesome. The first GT350 were the natural progression of a gearhead taking a Falcon-based, cool-looking car and hopping it up and bracing it a little so that it had show AND some go. Before I would spend 6-figures for a real GT350 that I’d be afraid to play with, I’d much rather find a rust free '65-"66 base model and do a restomod kind of treatment that looked authentic on the outside as a Shelby.

Generally I’d much rather have a '69 or '70 model. Plenty of looks and go. I also don’t necessarily agree with the price difference statement. Every one I see going across the auction block brings a significant 6-figure price.

I will agree that I’d prefer to buy a nice daily driver Mach 1 and clone it, then having to pay for a real one. I’m all about enjoying the car, not putting it in some garage just to look at it. I want to drive it!!!

I have to wonder how many folks are like me in wanting a GT350. Initially, I wanted a 60’s GT350 but decided on getting a 2017 GT350 to be my daily driver plus occasionally track — I felt why not enjoy the performance and new tech before I get too old.

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I would also suspect that values might be declining as a result of the enthusiast for these cars are dying off. I have said for a while to my gearhead friends that our cars wont be worth squat once we all die because we are the ones that appreciate these cars. So many of the the young people dont even want to drive and would rather take public transportation.

I believe that a lot of the value is in the Shelby heritage and the fact of being a pre-title car - which includes the 07 and 08 Shelby GTs. The SVT Shelby’s are great, but made by Ford. However I do think that the Shelby Automobiles are going to decrease in value, as will all old cars, because the buyers that are fans and reliving their youth and dreams are dying off. The fans of chrome bumpered cars are being replaced by buyers that want electric or the foreign drifters. In 1966 seeing a 1916 Model T would turn our heads - in 2019 driving our 74 Plymouth or our 72 Plymouth or our 63 Falcon Sprint hardly garner any looks or thumbs up. A sad state of affairs, but a sign of the times. Drive them for the smiles that it gives you not for the value you think it might bring. As a note, I do believe the High $$ auction cars will continue to bring the money that is out of a lot of the car enthusiasts reach.

Well I’m the owner of a 1969 GT350 Fastback. Love the car and since mine is mostly restored it’s brought home more than a few awards at car shows and can still run down the freeway at 100-110 MPH easily. Unlike so folks, I drive mine somewhat regularly and would never consider owning a garage queen that never sees rain or real world driving.
Simple reality is that there simply are not a lot of real Shelby cars out there. For example, in 1966 there were 1366 GT350s and 999 Hertz GT350s produced. Those are low production numbers - especially when you compare them to the 27,000 or so C2 Corvettes sold that year.
I am also more than a little critical of those that put so much stock in car auction prices. I long ago lost count of vehicles that get sold at low prices due to a lack of interested bidders.
Or the numerous auction cars where the seller offers little or no information about a car mostly because the vehicle has one or more issues. And in some cases makes an effort to avoid being with the car to answer questions.

I’m going to be a bit more pragmatic here, and frankly this applies to ALL collector cars. There’s only so many buyers for any specific car. We’ve seen a measurable shift in the car generation. Some of the most beloved collectors have gone to car heaven and their iconic examples have come to market. Some have simply had their fun and are moving on. We can’t empirically assume that there’s hundreds, or dozens, or even less, enthusiasts that match the desires. Let’s say there’s 50 ready buyers for 60 available cars. Let’s say 1/2 have the patience of a leopard and will stalk their market for the right deal. Eventually, and sooner than we think, the majority are satisfied and those in the market are wondering “…but I have this (fill in the blank)…” and it doesn’t meet reserve or indeed fails to find a buyer. Well researched individuals record the lack of sales just as accurately as sales. It’s not the car, it just has to wait it’s turn. Auburn speedster, 300SL Mercedes, or even a simple Mustang GT Sports Roof, they all have a limited potential that’s always more about luck and timing than the actual product. Just because a 2015 Camaro can run 12 second 1/4 mile times it doesn’t remove the thrills, the smells, the feel of it’s big brother 67 396 4spd. If the game is to create a better market then get that Camaro, Shelby, Challenger, or any other icon to a university or car show focused on the youth of today. Take them for a ride and spin tales of 3am drag races and remind them of car chase scenes in movies. Tell them about the races on the dry lakes that involved Hollywood stars. If they seem able and responsible then put em behind the wheel too. This isn’t rocket science and our beloved iron isn’t on the Dow Jones. Educate and inspire, then let’s revisit this topic in 5 years. I’ve heard how “…nobody wants…” since I was 14. I’m now 61 and I’ve seen prices and interest that would have locked me in an asylum if spoken of back then, or at a minimum had me laughed away and shamed for such predictions. Then again there’s twice as many citizens now too. Remember I did say pragmatic. Thanks for reading…

To create collectors and enthusiasts, you need to create the memories, experiences, and good times associated with enjoying cars. This isn’t happening any more for the general population. It is too inaccessible, and worse yet, the compexity and expense of new cars will make future maintenance and restoration difficult. We are facing a contraction and it is inevitable. I never hear kids today talk about the fun they have in cars. It used to be ingrained in our culture. There will always be niches created by sub-culture activities but there are fewer “good memories” to sustain enthusiasm.

Have to agree with Highlander quite a bit. Let alone, who can really afford these things anyway (even the supposed “cheap” ones), and then, will they ever drive them like they were intended to? Plus, with all that $$$ on the table, why not buy 2 modern cars which can probably kick the old girl’s butts in any current performance standard!
That and quite frankly, the '65 GT350’s were the closest the “race cars” that were ever made. The 66 is certainly just as sexy, but slight engine/performance differences and “mass production” type of appearance took away the “just like the track car” feel.
As far as the later years, let’s face it, the heavier they got, the more horsepower you need to do the same things. '67 & '68 weren’t so bad in this respect, but heck, if you can shoe horn a big block under the hood, why the heck would you settle for anything less? By '69 & ‘70, they became Hollywood Shelby’s (too much “crap” on them) and with the extra weight in them, who wouldn’t overlook the GT350 smaller plant for something which can breath some fire…
One other thing which might be overlooked here too; maybe more people are beginning to understand what a first-class JERK the old chicken farmer really was in real life, and thus, his cars just don’t hold the same level of respect they used to before all that came to light.
Just sayin’…

As I remember Ford turned the modification of the Mustang into a Shelby Mustang to AO Smith. Yeah, that’s right, the water heater people. I am certainly not knocking the last Shelby Mustangs and I would like to own one. AO Smith did a nice job on the conversion and they’re a beautiful car in my opinion.

Being built by AO Smith is not necessarily a bad thing. Decades before AO Smith built water heaters, they built bicycles (in the late 1800s) and eventually progressed into auto frames, etc. Later, they were leaders in developing the water tanks eventually used in water heaters. They even made aircraft components and bomb casings during WW2. AO Smith did a lot of things for Ford and other companies.