1967 Ford Mustang GT350 Pilots: C. Tuerlinckx, C. Dubois Team: Claude Dubois Race: DNF (GT class) at Le Mans in 1967 Ixo - LMC 132 (diecast)
Ford introduced the Mustang in 1964, creating a new class of automobile called the pony car. A pony car was an affordable, compact and performance-oriented car, and the public received the Mustang very well. To power the new car, Ford used a V8, initially with 2786 cm³ (170 ci), the so-called “small block V8”. But with time engine displacement got bigger, from 3278 cm³ (200 ci) and up to 4736 cm³ (289 ci) by 1966. Though a good seller, Ford thought that the Mustang could offer more. So in 1965, they established a partnership with Carrol Shelby, to produce a race-oriented version. So from 1965 to 1968 Selby American produced the GT350 Cobra. Shelby produced both the street-racer GT350 as the full-blown race version, the GT350R.
To become a GT350, Mustangs went directly from the Ford plant to Shelby’s operation in California. There, the cars received many performance modifications with very little emphasis on creature comforts. This GT350 #17 is one of those cars. Bought by Claude Dubois in 1967, chassis #SFM5R539 was specifically prepared for the 24 Heures du Mans. With that, it had the standard “K-Code HiPo” high performance 4727 cm³ (289 ci) engine. It wasn’t a very sophisticated V8, with SOHC and 16 valves, but produced 271 hp and was reliable.
Unfortunately on lap 58 a piston failure forced the car to abandon the race. And that was the last Stang at La Sarthe for a long time. Their next appearance was only in 1997. That year Saleen prepared two cars, but both also had issues and neither finished the race.
So different from Ford’s GT40 and GT, the Mustang never left its mark at Le Mans. However, good results notwithstanding, it’s a cool car. Ixo did a VERY nice job on the model, and it’s hard to find a fault. Well, door handles are not separate pieces, but other than that, it’s a very nice model. Not exactly successful, but great a model nonetheless.