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Street Cred

Classic Recreations GT350CR Shelby Mustang

By Steve Temple

Photos by Drew Phillips

Given the historical significance of the original Shelby GT350, it’s no surprise how many clones have been built over the years. Note that “cloning” carries a slightly different meaning than a replica, as the donor car’s Mustang DNA is very similar to the iconic original, just genetically tweaked to reproduce a famous racer. Even so, some of these clones are merely one-off builds with no particular provenance.

That’s not the case with Classic Recreations’ GT350CR, since it’s officially licensed by Shelby and recorded in the SAAC Registry. That makes it a bonafide collectible, a car with a documented history.

The specific car shown here is owned by company founder Jason Engel, who’s justifiably proud of the build, as this new pro-touring version represents the culmination of hundreds of his other Mustang customizations over the last 15 years or so. “That’s my baby,” he grins. What did it take for him to give it such a predatory stance and menacing demeanor? 

“We start with an original 1965 or 1966 Mustang Fastback and perform a complete restoration including media blasting, sheet metal replacement and show-winning paint and body.” Looking it over, the car features muscular bodywork, a Ford Racing Coyote V8, advanced suspension by Detroit Speed & Engineering, a BASF paint job inspired by the famous Essex Wire GT350 race car, and aggressive new wheels by American Racing.

Getting down to the details, the engine is a 32-valve aluminum 5-liter Coyote engine, but with the intake swapped out for the unit on the 5.2-liter Voodoo engine, which normally lives in the new Ford Shelby GT350 and GT350R Mustangs. This upgrade alone increases the power output of this pony car by nearly 40 horses. 

The chassis benefits from a number of upgrades as well, including coilover shocks and sway bars, plus a four-link rear end. As for rolling stock, the rims are American Racing’s Forged Series. These strong yet lightweight wheels are sized 18 x 9 up front and 18 x 11 out back, and shod with a set of sticky BF Goodrich Rival tires (265/25/18 in the front; 315/30/18 in the rear).

The most visible updates on the GT350CR Pro Touring are the bulging body mods, making it one of the fiercest-looking Mustangs to ever roll out of Jason’s shop. And they’re functional too, since the hood has a custom deep-draw design to get heat out of the engine bay. 

Next the 350 was also fitted with side-exhaust rocker panels and a chin spoiler from its GT500CR big brother. The American Racing wheels fit under flared fenders at all four corners, giving the car a nasty stance. The bumper has been raised slightly for a smoother, more integrated look, and there’s also a front apron lifted from the company’s classic GT350CR model.

Pointing to the overall significance of the project, “We’ve been building Mustangs for a long time, but this is easily one of the coolest cars we’ve ever built,” says Jason “The exterior modifications change the look of the whole car and now it just looks mean. The exterior really matches the driving experience.” 

In addition to the new panel work, all of the exterior trim on the GT350CR has been matched to the body color, coated with a BASF Glasurit finish.

Inside the cockpit, there are big changes as well in the form of a JVC touch screen, Apple CarPlay integration and an optional in-dash iPad setup. These telematics bring this ’66 GT350 into the information age with full Siri compatibility and Bluetooth connectivity. 

The Classic Recreations Shelby GT350CR Pro Touring is a classic Mustang that runs and drives like a modern car with all of the convenience and livability that comes with it. It also takes the classic Shelby formula and turns the volume up to 11 – and then some.

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