Consignment # 39-1058
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In 1964, the Ford Motor Corporation fired the first shot in the Pony Car Wars, introducing an adaptation of their popular compact Falcon that would change the American car market and even stood as a symbol of a revolutionary decade: the Mustang. Itself a compact sporty car offered at an attractive price and aimed at youthful starting car buyers, the Mustang immediately made a big impression and it sold very well; the original Mustang still holds the record for first-year new-model sales of an astounding 680,989 units between April 1964 and August 1965, when it was replaced by the 1966 model.
From early days, Ford's division chief Lee Iacocca still felt that the Mustang's image needed a boost, so he contacted former racecar driver and nascent sports car manufacturer Carroll Shelby, famous for the iconic Ford powered AC Shelby Cobra and also involved in Ford's GT40 racing car project. Shelby was asked to modify the Mustang in a way so it could win the Sports Car Club of America's national B-Production Championship Series. And so, early in 1965, a new competition breed of Mustangs came into life; finished at the Shelby-American shop in Los Angeles and topped off with Shelby badges and trademarks like the Cobra's own logo and named the Shelby GT350, the designation that would go on all small-block Shelby Mustangs until 1970.
In 1967 the Mustang body style was altered, which meant among other things that there was more room for more cubes to fit into the engine bay. Not coincidentally, this was also the first year for the GT500 that boasted a 428 cubic-inch engine in true Shelby fashion producing considerably more than its stated 355 horsepower. Given a unique front end with hood scoops and center mounted lights, the GT-500 also borrowed many components from the Thunderbird including the rear quarter scoops, sequential turn signals and the rear spoiler.
For 1968, Shelby took advantage of Ford's convertible option and added it to the Shelby line-up, available with either a 302- or 428-cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine. The High Performance 289 cubic-inch V8 was no longer offered on the Ford or Shelby versions of the Mustang, and with its departure bowed the 302 now found under the GT350's hood, equipped with an aluminum intake manifold and Holley 600 CFM carburetor capable of producing 250 horsepower. 1968 also marked the year that Ford took over production of the Shelby vehicles with operations moving to Livonia, Michigan. The 428 engine increased in horsepower by 5 over the prior year. This was the result of a single four-barrel aluminum intake manifold in place of the prior dual-carburetor setup. To honor this achievement, the GT500 equipped with the 428CJ now became known as the GT500, or King of the Road. Sales documentation stated the engine produced 335 horsepower at a purposefully low RPM range when actually it was over 400 with 440 foot-pounds of torque. These were the fastest Shelby production vehicles to date and offered superb handling, braking and most of all, acceleration. Due to the extra power, the brakes were enlarged and new components such as under-hood suspension bracing and staggered rear shocks prevented wheel hop and axle wind-up.
Built on May 24th, 1968 at the Metuchen plant, and sold new at Gilboy Ford Mercury Inc. in Allentown, PA, the car offered here is finished in its original colors of Lime Gold with a black comfort weave interior. Found on page 972 of the Shelby American Automotive Registry, this concours-quality GT500KR is fitted with factory Select-Aire air conditioning and the original Select-o-Matic automatic transmission. As one of just 933 GT500KR Fastbacks built, fitted with the air conditioning option alone makes this example one of just 299 of these exclusive low-production muscle cars during 1968. This car is a numbers matching car - complete with it's original engine. Other factory options fitted as part of the GT Equipment Group include Power Disc Brakes, Power Steering, Fold-Down Rear Seat, Shoulder Harnesses, AM Radio and Tinted Glass. Every component of this vehicle, from the tires to the glass, is original, restored, or a correct replacement. The car further conveys to its new owner with the original individual order sheet, dealer invoice, window sticker and 100+ photographs of this car's comprehensive restoration. Included also is a Deluxe Marti Report documenting the build specifications and authenticity of this rare King of the Road that has gone only a few scant test miles since completion..