Shelby GT350 gets its one shining moment

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Out of an all-GT Final Four, the 1965 Mustang Shelby GT350 emerged as the winner of Ford Motor Co.’s version of March Madness.

The Shelby GT350 topped the 2020 Mustang GT500 in the championship round of the Ford Frenzy tournament after three weeks of online voting. The other semifinalists were the 1965 GT40 MKI and the 2017 GT.

The no-stakes competition started with 64 vehicles from throughout Ford’s history. Ted Ryan, the company’s archives and heritage brand manager, posted several videos explaining the selection process and handicapping some of the battles, and he was surprised by some of the voting results.

“While I like the Mustang Boss, there is no way it should be beating the original Mustang 70%-30%,” Ryan tweeted. The Boss, a No. 4 seed in the “Rouge” region, ended up taking out the top-seeded 1964½ Mustang in what Ford called the 1.6-liter round (instead of the Sweet 16).

Two No. 15 seeds, the 1955 Fairlane and 1984 Bronco II, impersonated Oral Roberts with first-round upsets over a pair of 2 seeds. And the 1966 Galaxie 500, a 12 seed, defeated the fifth-seeded F-150 SVT and fourth-seeded 1940 Lincoln Continental after the “Jay Leno’s Garage” account tweeted in support of it.

The only 2021 models in the bracket, the Mustang Mach-E and Bronco Sport, each lost in the second round.

The winning Shelby GT350 was seeded second in the “Piquette” region — named for the original Model T plant in Detroit — behind the Model T, which it eliminated 79 percent to 21 percent in the fourth round.

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