This, folks, is a very special Ford Mustang. Maybe the most special Mustang ever. Last weekend, a 1965 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R once raced by the now-infamous Ken Miles just sold at the Mecum Indianapolis auction for $3.85 million, exceeding even that of the original Bullitt Mustang. That makes it the most expensive Mustang ever sold, and for good reason.
Here’s why: this Mustang in particular is actually the beginnings of the Shelby Mustang as we know it. Ford contacted Shelby to make a performance racing version of the Mustang, an effort to move it away from the “secretary’s car” stereotype. Carol Shelby answered the call, and created this very Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R, codenamed 5R002. This vehicle served as both a racer, and development prototype for the road car. In fact, this was the first Mustang to ever enter in a circuit race.
Ken Miles, the star of Ford Vs. Ferrari, was the first driver to race this very car, and he also worked on the development of it. According to Mecum, the development team probably put around 50,000 miles on the clock. All of the learnings from this car went into 34 GT350R customer cars.
In racing, it notched several first place wins with Ken Miles and others at the wheel. It truly changed people’s perspective of what a Mustang could do, even what a Mustang represented in the automotive space.
After it’s racing and development days were over, the Mustang went on to serve as a promotional vehicle where it earned the “Flying Mustang” nickname. Once again, Ken Miles made history with a picture of this GT350R about a foot off the ground. This photo turned into a massive marketing campaign with “Flying Mustang” and “See our Mustangs Fly” as the slogans.
In 1966, 5R002 was sold to Ford Performance engineer Bill Clawson in Dearborn, Michigan for the shockingly low price of just $4,000. He ended up racing it, resulting in several podium finishes. It was eventually sold to one Luis Blanq-Cacaux in Monterrey, Mexico where it was raced for two years. For unknown reasons, it was painted with gray primer and sat on a trailer unloved until Mark Gillette of Dallas Texas found it, and realized how special this Mustang GT350R really was.
It sat in as found condition in the Shelby American Museum before being restored to how you see it now in 2010. Before the restoration, the team spent countless hours researching the history of 5R002 to get it back to original, raced condition. Mecum says this Ford Mustang Shelby GT350R is the most important Mustang in history. Based on its selling price alone, they could be right.