The 1960s was an amazing era in automotive history as Detroit built some of the most powerful cars to ever prowl the streets. Chevrolet had the Corvette and Dodge had the Challenger, but Shelby leveled the playing field when they introduced the famous GT500. With a full 355 ponies under the hood, the GT500 was the car to beat, although very few could. Anyone that tried was usually treated to a good view of the GT500’s taillights. It’s almost hard to believe that a car so powerful was available right from the local dealership, but if one had the down payment the GT500 stood ready to deliver.
Shelby Automotive built this GT500 convertible on January 30, 1968 as special order #2652. As Shelby’s go this was a highly optioned car with shoulder harness, power top, heavy-duty cooling package, wheel lip moldings, power disc brakes, power steering, tilt steering wheel, AM radio, interior decor group, and heavy-duty battery. It was fully restored at Greg Johnston Restorations of New York and the matching 428 cubic-inch V-8 engine was finished to Cobra Jet specifications. It presents today in pristine condition.
Carroll Shelby was one of the most charismatic icons in American Motorsports. When his own racing career ended he began building some of the fastest cars on the street. Ford introduced their new pony car called the Mustang in 1964 and Shelby began a program that took these cars off the assembly line and turned them into a fire breathing dragon. Whether on the street or on the track, Shelby’s cars were incredible performers. The 1968 GT500 convertible wasn’t cheap selling for a hefty $4,438 when just $2,275 bought a brand new Plymouth Valiant, but it was a car that caught attention wherever it went. For 1968, the GT500 took matters to a new level with a 355 horsepower V-8. The GT500 proved to be one of Shelby’s finest works and was capable of a quarter mile time of just 14.7 seconds.
This Shelby GT500 was restored in 2008 by Greg Johnston Restorations and is a full and complete renovation that returned it to factory new condition. Nothing was overlooked from its gleaming black paint complete with gold stripe to its black vinyl interior. The 428 V-8 engine is most impressive as it is fully detailed with correct colors, wiring, hoses, belts, and clamps. Even more impressive is the sound that emanates from its custom fabricated twin exhaust. Built to Cobra Jet specifications, this hefty V-8 is a direct throwback to the glory days of the American musclecar. The interior is completely refurbished with a center console that houses its four-speed transmission. All gauges are new as well as the dash and a McIntosh stereo system ensures full sound even with the top down. The appearance of this Shelby is nicely enhanced by a set of period GT driving lamps and it also rides on period correct Goodyear tires. This GT500 also has its Marti report that outlines all of its codes and options. Shelby built just 402 GT500 convertibles and with its complete restoration and stellar performance this is an authentic reminder of the glory days of pure power and speed.
The market for good quality musclecars from the 1960s is always strong. This GT500 with its high quality restoration and dazzling colors is an excellent example of this interesting chapter in automotive history. Recent sales have been strong for good quality Shelby GT500s with several topping the $150,000 mark and this example with its excellent restoration and pristine appearance represents a unique opportunity to acquire a great musclecar.
America’s streets were alive with power in the 1960s. For a brief time, a car could be driven straight from the showroom to the racetrack and still turn in an impressive performance. As one of the most powerful cars to ever grace the road, the GT500 has no equal. For superior performance in a car that’s all business, this GT500 represents a rare opportunity to own one of history’s most dominating cars of the legendary Friday night street fights.