“A legend named Carroll”

“A Legend Named Carroll”

This is the story of a man born in Leesburg, Texas in 1923 that will forever be famous for changing the automotive world as we know it.  Carroll Shelby was one of the most influential figures in car racing during the 1950’s and may have gone down in the books as one of the most successful American race car drivers of all time had it not been for a heart condition that forced him to hang up his helmet in 1960.  He lived life in the fast lane, whether setting land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats or winning at Lemans, there was something special about this man.  Choosing not to hang his head in defeat due to a promising race career being sidelined, it only gave him more time to focus on his thoughts and plans of building race cars and race teams.  His first major project was coupling Ford’s new 260 cid V8 with a small, lightweight British sports car, the AC Ace. The resulting Shelby “Cobra”, especially the later 289 and 427 versions, set the world afire with their performance & stunning looks.


In 1965, Carroll’s race team would begin to win everything in sight including the FIA World Championship of GT cars.  Building on his FIA World Championship success, his Ford Motor Company backed GT-40 race team would beat all European factory race teams to win Lemans in 1966 and 67.  For Carroll, his relationship with Ford was only the beginning.  Carroll would soon be approached by Ford Vice-President and friend, Lee Iacocca, to ask if he would use his racing background and knowledge to help promote a new car called “Mustang”. The thought by Iacocca was track-proven performance could enhance the Mustang’s reputation. Shelby agreed, and the process began to transform the relatively meek performing Mustang into a full-blown, race ready stallion to be called the “G.T.-350”.

Shelby took Ford’s 271 hp 289 HiPo V8 & made some changes to bump it up to 306 hp. Some of these changes included:  a high-rise Shelby aluminum intake manifold with 715 cfm Holley carburetor, tubular “Tri-y” headers, and a special side-exit exhaust.  There was even an optional supercharger. Early GT350’s also received a substantially upgraded suspension with modified control arm mounting points, higher rate springs, larger front sway bar, traction bars, even Koni shocks.

Externally, racing stripes, a fiberglass hood held in place with hood pins, and upgraded 15” wheels readily differentiated the Shelby from your garden variety Mustang. Inside, aircraft-style racing safety belts, Cobra-style wood-rim steering wheel, and removal of the rear seat to be replaced by a fiberglass shelf where the spare tire perched told you this car was something serious.

And serious it was, Shelby Mustangs were an immediate hit both on the street and on the track.  Out of the first year production of 562 cars, roughly two dozen strictly-for-racing “R” models were produced. The competition GT-350 “R” model featured a special racing cam, oil cooler, larger-capacity radiator and big 32-gallon fuel tank. The 340-360 horsepower that resulted from these modifications turned the GT-350R into a major contender on the track. In its first year, the new Mustang proved worthy in competition, winning nearly every race it entered in convincing fashion.

Some of the race car character was toned down a bit for 1966 models so they would have greater appeal to the general public. For example, an automatic transmission became available and Koni shocks went on the option list. It worked, sales increased while the cars retained most of their performance appeal.  In 1967, to keep adrenaline junkies satisfied, a new high performance model called the GT-500 was added to the lineup. These new Shelby models used 428 cubic inch power plants boasting as much as 400 horsepower with dual quad carburetors available. The cars also featured unique to Shelby front and rear end styling with sequential rear turn signals. In both performance and appearance these cars were to become some of the most iconic muscle car designs of all time.

The last full year of Shelby GT350/500 production was 1969. With a new body design came a new Shelby appearance package, complete with wrap-around chrome front bumper, Shelby-only aero styling, tail lights and unique center-exit dual exhaust. Power consisted of a 290-horse 351 V8. Leftover Shelby’s, about 350 in all, were sold as 1970 model cars. At Shelby’s request, production ceased. By that time, the new Mach 1, Boss 302 and 429 Mustangs could outperform the more expensive Shelby counterparts.

Today, Shelby GT350/500’s are some of the most sought after and expensive muscle cars being sold. But Carroll’s involvement was not limited to the Mustang, his design and development influence were part of the Chrysler Corporation’s Dodge Viper, Charger, Daytona, and Omni models in the 80’s and  90’s.  And after a near 30 year hiatus, the relationship between Ford Motor Company and Carroll Shelby would be rekindled in 2003 with the introduction of Ford’s supercar, the Ford GT.  The partnership with Carroll Shelby and Ford Mustang has spanned nearly 50 years and still carries his name today. The Shelby name appeared again on the Mustang starting in 2006 with the Shelby GT and Hertz rental car GT-H editions and then in 2007 with the rebirth of the GT-500.

If you were to compile a dictionary, next to the word “Speed” you would put a footnote that said “see Carroll Shelby”!  Yes, this “legend named Carroll” is none other than Carroll Shelby, the man whose name has adorned many performance cars over the years; Shelby Cobra, Shelby Mustang GT350 & GT500, Dodge Shelby Charger, Dodge Daytona Shelby Z, Shelby Series 1, Shelby GT Mustang and most recently with the 2013 Shelby GT500 Mustang…the first production Mustang to have a top speed of 200 mph!

In Memory of Carroll Shelby (Jan. 11, 1923 – May 10, 2012)



Complete Wiring System in a box for your 1965-1970 Mustang!

Complete Wiring System in a box for your 1965-1970 Mustang!


Over the life of a classic Mustang, the combination of wiring “modifications” that may have been made to an original harness plus the brittle texture or fraying that comes with more than 40 years of use can easily sideline your Mustang. At the very least, the original wiring is probably a confusing mess by now, and very difficult to work on. While there’s many great wiring harnesses for factory original 1965-1970 Mustangs out there, if you’re looking to fully modernize your Classic Mustang, look no further than the kits from American Autowire offered at Mustangs Unlimited.

American Autowire designed their Classic Update Wiring Harness Kits for the Resto-mod and transplant Mustang owner in mind. It’s a complete wiring system in one box, with everything necessary to modernize any 1965-1970 Mustang’s dated wiring system. These Wiring Harness Kits are designed to handle many features found in modern vehicles like aftermarket gauge packages, heating and A/C systems, power windows, power door locks, and more, giving you the foundation and flexibility to completely upgrade or transform your Mustang.

American Autowire harnesses are not suited for use with original style alternators, points distributors, ammeters or negative feed tachometers. So if those items are a concern with your build or you are working on a more factory original restoration, check out our original style harnesses by clicking here. If these items are not a concern with your build, let’s dig a little deeper into the particulars of the American Autowire Classic Update kit.

The American Autowire kit includes everything you need to upgrade and replace your wiring. To start, there are color schematics and easy-to-understand instructions for every step of the installation process. The colors on the schematics match the wiring, which are also labeled, so you know exactly where each wire ends up. As many wires as possible also have the original, factory-style connectors, making connections extremely easy. The new fuse box is also well labeled, so you know exactly where everything terminates. In a nutshell, everything is thought out to ensure that a do-it-yourself-er can do this installation.

There are (4) American Autowire Complete Wiring Harness Classic Update Kits are available (click one of the links below to take you to a specific harness):

Each complete wiring harness kit includes a main wiring harness plus several smaller, secondary harnesses for areas within the front and rear of the car. A new fuse box, relays, grommets, terminals and hardware are also included, as is a small practice kit.

Many individuals worry that tackling a project like a wiring harness replacement is too much for them. Well, with the American Autowire Classic Update Kits, everything within reason is done to make sure you can do it yourself, plus giving you the flexibility to upgrade your Mustang further. If you’re a Resto-mod Mustang owner and are in need of replacing or upgrading your wiring, the American Autowire Classic Update kits will fit the bill.


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