The 1970 Shelby

January 11, 2022
by Peter Disher
with some help from Vinny Liska

I am quite certain that many people are under the assumption that a 1970 was simply a left over 1969 model with hood stripes a spoiler. Was that actually case or is that an over simplification?

There was quite a bit more to the 1970 Shelbys than a quicky paint job and spoiler tossed into the trunk. Planning for the 1970 models began in 1968. 1970 Shelby prototypes were already in the works when 1969 production began. One of these 1970 prototypes featured the Cougar dash. Although the 1970 models looked quite similar, many items that were planned for the cars had to be put on hold or canceled when AO Smith refused to build more cars. This included the new electronic fuel injection systems and new engines. Fords fall back plan was to have these cars completed by Kar Kraft. This decision was not taken until late 1968. By then, the 1971 models were already on the drawing board. Advertising for the 1970s was rather low key and not a lot of resources were expended to promote the cars.

Ford had a pretty good idea the Shelbys were not coming back soon.

The stamped serial numbers in the front of the car remained on the car. Because these numbers were not meant to be seen, there was no need to change them. The windshield tags on the car had to be changed to reflect the new model year. This involved removing the windshields of every car converted to a 1970. Door warranty plates were removed and a new updated door sticker was added. Corresponding paperwork for the cars also had to be corrected before the cars were shipped to the dealers. The dealers were not responsible for updating any cars.

The twin hood stripes are the easiest way to recognize a 1970 model. Not all hood stripes were created equal. There was a factory template to paint the stripes. For many years, this template was unavailable and many of the cars were repainted incorrectly. The other thing you should know is that if you have a Dark Jade car, the hood stripes were actually painted with flat black instead of the gloss black used on the other colors.

The recognizable chin spoiler was shipped to the dealers in the trunk of the car. It came with a one page instruction sheet to properly mount the spoiler.

The emission systems also had to be updated to 1970 specifications. Several dozen cars sent to California dealers required additional evaporative emission" system to be installed on the car. This was an elaborate system of venting and recycling fumes. It added quite a few parts to the fuel system and the engine compartment. The original Shelby blueprint for this modification is shown above.

The 1969 carburetors were changed from the automatic choke to a manual choke. There was now a choke cable installed under the dash. These changes included a new notation on the carburetor tags. The letters "ED" were added to the carburetors tag.

If you are familiar with the Holley part numbers, they appear on this Shelby print.

As part of the updates the cars distributors were also changed to 1970 versions. This distributor was the replacement for a GT350, automatic transmission car. I believe the 1970 GT350, 4 speed cars used the D0AF-H distributor.

For the GT500s the distributors were changed to the D0ZF-C for the manual and the D0ZF-G for the automatics.