This Shelby G.T. 350 Had an Engine Surprise
Published July 10, 2015
When Fred Piluso first purchase this Shelby G.T. 350, he didn’t bargain for what was eventually discovered about the engine inside. The 1967 model originally came equipped with a Hi Po 289 engine, but Fred soon learned that his Shelby had been altered somewhere along the way and instead had a lower-compression, two-barrel 289 beneath the hood. Since he wasn’t thrilled with this discovery, Fred sent his car to Craig Conley at Paradise Wheels in San Marcos, California for a proper engine and general restoration work.
The crew at Paradise Wheels was happy to right whatever “wrongs” the Shelby G.T. 350 had experienced throughout its years. They promptly dropped in a properly dated Paxton supercharged 289 Hi Po V8 engine and made some extra tweaks, including rebuilding the Ford Top Loader four-speed manual transmission.
Conley didn’t stop there with the Shelby, however. “The car had a nice, solid body, but its drive train was either incorrect or worn out,” he notes. “For example, the rear end had a bunch of brackets welded to it that evidently were for traction bars of some type, most likely for drag racing. We plasma-cut those off, bead-blasted the housing, and detailed the rear end back to its original condition.”
The Paradise Wheels team also equipped the Shelby G.T. 350 with a 3.50:1 Traction Lok carrier, correct Koni shocks for the model, and rebuilt the brakes. The Shelby also got a rebuilt front suspension and power steering ram. At that point, all the vintage muscle car needed was a fresh coat of paint.
Although the black paint job with gold racing stripes done by The Paint Shop in Akron, Ohio makes the Shelby look like part of the original Hertz rent-a-car fleet, the color choice really pays homage to Fred’s favorite sports team – the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 1967 Shelby G.T. 350 now matches the other jewels in Fred’s collection, which include a 2007 Shelby GT500 convertible and 2006 Ford G.T.