1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 CR Track Tested

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Classic Recreations offers handsome vintage looks with modern Ford muscle in their 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 CR.

These are the days field agents dream of.

Or, at least, that’s what I said to myself during this Xander Cage-esque moment. I was at The Thermal Club, a private, invite-only country club for racing enthusiasts, and two feet behind me sat some top shelf American muscle.

This is a 1967 Ford Mustang, restored to a state of perfection by Classic Recreations. In the process of that restoration, this ’67 Mustang has become a GT500 CR. It’s packing a 427 cubic-inch Ford Racing V8 under the hood, which is good for 545 naturally-aspirated horsepower, and a monstrously-matching torque figure. Paired with the mega motor is a Tremec 5-speed manual transmission with a period-correct tall, angled shifter and cue ball knob.

There is so much more to this $190,000 vintage racer than that, but I would rather drive and talk, than talk then drive, so let’s jump right into it.

6SpeedOnline.com 1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 CR Classic Recreations The Thermal Club Track Drive Review

Let’s go, before they realize they’ve made a mistake!

I closed the Shelby’s lightweight hood, and locked down the hood pins. It was time to drive. Or, at least, time to get into the Shelby and navigate the vintage racing seats. A few fat-fingered minutes spent futzing with harnesses later, and it was go time.

The owner of the Shelby ran up to me. I thought the charade was up. But, no, he just had some advice for me: “Shift around 5,500 RPM and try not to go faster than the top of 4th gear.” That’s all? “Yup.” Oh, okay then.

 

Some cars feel electrifying, like a tingle in your spine. The GT500 CR plays 427 notes up and down your spine, it’s the all-American xylophone freestyle champion.

 

Clutch pressed in, I slotted that old school gear lever into first and took off. The 427 Ford got off the line easily, without any throttle input. With rear-wheel drive, a manual transmission and monster all-motor power, I knew that first gear would be nothing other than tire smoke. A quick short-shift into second gear, and it was go time.

6SpeedOnline.com 1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 CR Classic Recreations The Thermal Club Track Drive Review

The clutch may be easy, but the throttle pedal requires some leg-pressing muscle. I hammered down, and we didn’t go very far. Wow, the throttle is really heavy. I took my tip toe off the gas and smashed it with again, this time, with the whole of my size 11.5 shoe. Even just off idle this 7.0-liter Ford picks right up and goes.

Expectations and right leg re-calibrated, it was on to Thermal’s South Palm Circuit.

I sawed at the wheel, and the wheel sawed back at me.

With a big engine comes big responsibility. In this case, it also comes with a big, vintage wood grain steering wheel. So big was the helm of this powerful pony that it sawed away at my lap as I was steering it. Fortunately, the wheel is finely finished, so I didn’t get any splinters.

This ’67 Mustang now features rack and pinion steering, a big upgrade from the recirculating ball-type steering box that the original cars featured. The big wheel forced feedback from the big Nitto tires through my hands at all times. The feeling was fabulous, but the wheel itself was simply too large for track work. A more modern, compact wheel would be my preferred rein for this racing pony.

6SpeedOnline.com 1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 CR Classic Recreations The Thermal Club Track Drive Review

Pounding those large steering inputs into the pavement is a set of modern 17″ wheels masquerading as vintage pieces. Measuring 8″ wide up front, and 9.5″ wide out back, there is plenty of footprint under this classic Mustang. The 275 section-width rear tires put the power down out of corners rather excellently.

That said, the heft of the car, in conjunction with those gorgeous staggered wheels, means that this GT500 will ultimately want to push its nose out wide, rather than turn in sharply towards the apex it is terrorizing. However, a quick stomp on the loud pedal will get the rear end to step right out. It’s a playful beast in the corners, no doubt helped by Classic Recreations’ modern coil-over suspension and sway bar package.

The engine dominates the experience.

While the friendly handling was a welcome surprise, the Ford Racing 427 engine takes over the entirety of the experience. Throttle response is razor sharp, and commanding that throttle by the heavy accelerator pedal is deeply satisfying. The throttle cracks open faster than a dozen cold ones at the neighborhood barbecue.

The 427 sings its song just as captivatingly. The hard-edged, metallic induction note intertwines with the vintage, muscly exhaust, like a time machine, bringing both myself, and the track-side spectators back to 1967, when Motown ruled the scene, with music and muscle cars, and Trans Am racing was just kicking off.

Some cars feel electrifying, like a tingle in your spine. The GT500 CR plays 427 notes up and down your spine, it’s the all-American xylophone freestyle champion.

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Jake Stumph is a lifelong car enthusiast and racer, who has operated as the content editor for Internet Brands Automotive since 2015. He runs Corvette Forum, 6SpeedOnline, Honda-tech, and LS1tech, among other Internet Brands Automotive websites. His work has been featured by several other prominent automotive outlets, including Jalopnik and Autobytel.

He obtained a bachelor's degree in Political Science at the Ohio State University in 2013, then pivoted from covering politics and policy to writing about his automotive adventures, something that, he says, is a lot more fun. Since that time, he has established connections with most of the world's major automakers, as well as other key brands in the automotive industry.

He enjoys track days, drifting, and autocross, at least, when his cars are running right, which is uncommon. You can check out what he's up to on his YouTube channel, as well as his Jake Stumph Racing Instagram account. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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