After the 1965 GT 350 and GT 350 R, the 1966 GT 350 and GT 350 H, came the GT 350, GT 500 and Super Snake in 1967. The Mustang that we present to you today is David’s Shelby GT 500, a young Swede who bought it in Uncle Sam’s country in 2019 to import it in 2020 at his home in Europe.
Since 1962, Caroll Shelby the “wizard” has gotten into the habit of fitting big Ford V8s into small English AC Ace roadsters before being interested in the Ford Mustangs.
“The fast Caroll Shelby is moving so fast that the time to print this information out and it will be over. And recent information has made it the fifth-largest automaker in the United States. Ford’s successful development of all manner of motor vehicles, starting with his Cobra, has nearly elevated the Texan to a department within the department at Ford, a kind of Competition office in Dearborn. His plans grew to such an extent that Shelby American, which is only three years old, had to relocate to the large hangars at Los Angeles Airport.” – Car Life, May 1965.
Shelby GT 500
In 1967, the all-new Shelby GT 500 made its debut in the Shelby American OEM lineup. It adopts a 428ci big-block with two Holley quadruple-barrel carburetors delivering 355 horsepower, a top speed of 130 miles per hour and an average fuelconsumption of 13 mpg. The body of the base 1967 Mustang fastback is modified to make the Shelby GT more aggressive: a fiberglass front end stretched by 3 inches, an additional air intake under the grille, another with double entry on the modified fiberglass hood, and one on each side at the rear of the car to cool the brakes. Regarding the equipment, we note the addition of two long-range headlights, either grouped in the center (as for David’s) or mounted on each end of the grille (when the State in which the car is delivered new provides for a law requiring spacing between the two headlights). The rear of the car, also in fiberglass, is not to be outdone with large tail lights borrowed from the Mercury Cougar, and a spoiler that conforms to the shape of the fenders.
A GT 500 Among the Others
Of the 1967 Shelby GT 500s, one had been owned by Shelby American for some time and was being used for exhaust testing. It was eventually sold to a first owner after reaching 20,000 miles, then in the early 1970s sold to another man who raced it regularly at a drag strip in Los Angeles, California. In 1984, it made its last laps on American roads since this was the date of the last registration of the Mustang. It wasn’t until 2019 that it went on sale. At this point the car has not undergone a lot of modifications and is almost in its original condition except for the rear shocks and at one point in its life was repainted green before regaining its original Britanny Blue color. The paintwork today is not in a very good condition and has an adhesive strip that says “GT 500 KR”, which does not match the car (and did not exist at the time).
In September 2019, David, a young Swedish man who was interested in American cars, received a message from one of his contacts in Los Angeles. He reveals that several cars are on sale and some might interest him. After a quick glance, David notices, at the very end, a 1967 Shelby GT 500. He responds without delay so that his contact can take a closer look at the car. Several people are interested but David is convinced this Mustang is for him after only seeing a few pictures. He thus sends a first payment very quickly to ensure the sale. The Shelby finally arrives in January 2020 at David, in Sweden.
Restoring a Shelby GT 500
At first, David sees that the engine is in need of some tender love and care. Quickly, David removes the engine block from the compartment to be able to take a closer look. The engine is disassembled, a sleeve replacement and a new bore are performed. Before being put back in place, David reassembles the engine with new pistons, cams, roller rockers, etc. He also took advantage of the space left in the engine bay to clean it and refresh it with new paint. He then looks at the brakes, the steering, the radiator, and whatever else he thinks is necessary. The goal for David is to have a car that is mechanically flawless in a near-original appearance.
Now, after several months of restoration, he is trying to register the car so that it can run normally on Swedish roads. From now on, he will be able to drive in summer and work on the mechanics and bodywork during the winter. Regarding the paint, he wants to keep it that way for the moment and would only be interested in it later, especially as a Shelby “survivor” in this condition is even rarer than a fully restored GT 500… But he has already with the idea of repainting it in the original Britanny Blue color and removing the erroneous stripes to affix the real “GT 500”.
A Shelby GT 500 like this has no shortage of anecdotes. One of them concerns the rims of the car. While presenting his new acquisition on a Facebook group, David receives a message with a photo of the Shelby ten years earlier. The author of the post knew the previous owner of the Mustang and had purchased the original rims for the car. David took the opportunity to make him an offer and buy back the four rims.
Another fun fact concerns the front license plate. The previous owner had implemented a system to hide the vehicle’s license plate. Finally, David found a key box containing the duplicate keys on a suspension blade of his Shelby.
It now remains to finish this restoration and especially take advantage of this beautiful acquisition. We wish David a long and safe journey!