Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
While the original Shelby GT350 quickly matured beyond its hard-edged roots in 1966, becoming a more comfortable grand touring car, high performance still defined its basic concept and purpose. The new-for-1967 Mustang body shell was designed from the outset to accept Ford’s 390 cubic inch big-block engine and was immortalized the following year in the infamous chase scene in Bullitt with Steve McQueen piloting his 390ci Mustang fastback on the streets of impossibly hilly San Francisco.
In mid-1968, Shelby American shoehorned a larger, mildly modified Police Interceptor 428 V8 into the pony car’s engine bay, creating the legendary GT500. Conservatively rated at 360 horsepower, its actual output was closer to 400, accompanied by loads of tire-scorching torque. This engine, originally developed by Rhode Island’s Tasca Ford upon the suggestion of Hot Rod Magazine, included a pair of 427 low-riser cylinder heads, a 735-cfm Holley carburetor and many subtle improvements courtesy of the Ford parts bin. The resulting Cobra Jet was immediately recognized as a strong and reliable performer, which was vastly under-reported at 335 horsepower but capably powered the increasingly upscale GT500 through its final year in 1970.
Carroll Shelby ensured that the GT500 retained its unique Shelby identity, and for 1969, it incorporated a longer fiberglass front end, a unique grille, a revised taillight and exhaust treatment, as well as an aggressive hood with five NACA-style air scoops. Inside, a roll bar, inertia-reel racing harnesses, luxurious features and special trim maintained the performance-oriented, limited-production character of the GT500.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2010 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.
335 bhp, 428 cu. in. Cobra Jet Ram Air V8 engine, Ford C-6 three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms, coil springs and anti-roll bar, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and staggered shock absorbers, and front disc, rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 108"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel