Drop tops and race-track performance go together about as well as beef jerky and ice cream; you can have both, but they’re better off enjoyed separately.
See, something funny happens when you remove the hard, fixed roof from a car: the chassis rigidity is compromised, meaning that more weight – in the form of extra bracing on the bottom of the car – typically follows. That, or the car’s handling feel and performance take a hit. Generally, more weight equals bad, as do compromised driving dynamics.
It’s a bit surprising, then, that in the 1960s, a small number of Shelby GT350 Mustang convertibles were produced. A recent piece from Road & Track, which looks at the ten coolest, rarest convertible muscle cars ever built, lists the 1966 Ford Shelby GT350 (1968 example pictured). Despite the compromises inherent in building any high-performance convertible, we have to agree that it deserves a place on the list.
Of course, we’re looking at the Shelby GT350 convertible in retrospect, after a full five decades have passed, rendering the ’66 model’s then-impressive performance underwhelming by today’s standards anyway. But so what if building a performance car out of a convertible is full of pesky engineering compromises? Who wouldn’t want the wind in their face while going like hell in a classic American icon?
Be sure to check out Road & Track‘s full list right here.