1968 Shelby GT500 Convertible - SOLD
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The fact that it has been in the same owner’s hands since it was three years old and has never been seen outside of some local shows is a wonderful opportunity for the next owner.

There are only a few names in the automotive kingdom that universally ignite the passions of car lovers everywhere: Ferrari. Duntov. Porsche. Shelby.

When you hear one of those names, your ears focus on the conversation, knowing that it’ll be something interesting. As a result, the cars built by these great men remain special year after year. Carroll Shelby didn’t know that his rag-tag group of racers would become the most influential American performance car makers in the early 1960s, but when they teamed up with Ford to build the Cobra, there was a chemistry that would last for decades. When Ford needed the Mustang to be more, well, Mustang after its introduction, he called Ol’ Shel and the result was the GT350. When Ford put big blocks into the Mustang, Shelby was ready with the GT500, and by 1968, when this handsome Acapulco Blue GT500 convertible was built, Ford was churning out more Shelbys than Shelby himself could have imagined.

There are a few things to know about this 1968 Shelby GT500 convertible, serial number 1323. One, it’s a real GT500, fully documented with a Marti Report and it is listed in the Shelby American World Registry. Second, it has only two owners, with the second owner buying it in 1971 and keeping it until we hand you the keys. And the third detail is the one you’re curious about—why so cheap? Well, that second owner bought it as a repo in 1971 and he and his father set about putting it back together. It had been hit in the driver’s door and apparently the owner decided to stop paying for it after that; hence the repossession. When that young man spotted the Shelby behind Marshall Ford in Cleveland, Ohio (the same dealership that sold it new, incidentally), he talked the Marshall Ford finance company into selling it to him. The same day he picked it up, he also walked into the Marshall Ford parts department and bought an NOS nose, hood, front fenders, doors, and a bunch of other parts, all of which were still available over-the-counter in 1971. So that’s why it’s affordable—it doesn’t have virgin sheetmetal and significant portions of the tub and body have been repaired and/or replaced. However, the engine, transmission, rear end, and interior are original and the car is quite correct with no substantial modifications. It is, for all intents and purposes, a real GT500 convertible with a more reasonable price due to its checkered past.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about what the car is today. The restoration was ultimately completed in 1984 and shortly thereafter it went into storage and out of sight, where it would remain for more than three decades. It was disinterred in September 2017 and we spent some time getting it sorted out and operating correctly, including rebuilding the brakes, the power steering system, and all the other things that you do to a car that has come out of long-term slumber. Fortunately, it was properly stored, so it runs and drives extremely well today and even those vintage ‘80s BFG radials don’t have any flat spots. Acapulco Blue is what it was wearing when it was new and that paint on it today still looks fantastic despite the passage of time. There are no bubbles, no checking, no evidence that so much time has passed, and again, credit must go to careful storage and maintenance. Yes, there are a few very minor signs of age but nothing that requires attention and it is my professional opinion that repainting this car again would be a mistake unless your goal is to show it at the highest levels. Instead, it remains a high-grade Shelby that you can actually drive and enjoy without worries and perhaps still collect a trophy or two at the local level. It’s quite handsome.

The interior, as I mentioned, is almost entirely original. Aside from one split seam on the driver’s lower seat cushion, it’s undamaged and compared to the repro stuff out there, it’s very well detailed. The carpets are newer, but that’s the original dash pad and center console. It’s possible that the door panels were replaced given the crunched driver’s door, but they probably date to 1971 when all the other NOS parts were purchased. The wood-rimmed steering wheel is just gorgeous and all the factory gauges are intact, including the accessory Stewart-Warner dials on the center stack. They all work properly save the ammeter, and the Philco AM radio is likewise fully operational. It wears a white power convertible top, but the lines to the cylinders have crumbled and have not been replaced—the top folds easily and the pump works, so you could replace the lines and the top would be fully operational. There’s also a new black boot. In the trunk, you’ll find the original mat and cardboard floor fillers, as well as a full-sized spare and matching BFG radial. You’ll also note that the quarter panels have not been cut.

Ford dropped the 428 cubic inch “Police Interceptor” V8 into the GT500, and while the horsepower rating was 335 on the paperwork, in practice it was quite a bit stronger than that. This is #1323’s original engine, rebuilt to stock specs in 1984, and with only a few hundred miles since, so it’s still quite fresh. Thanks to a rebuilt carburetor and fresh tune-up, it starts quickly, idles nicely, and drives like you’d expect Shelby’s flagship to drive. There’s torque available everywhere on the map and you’ll quickly find that rowing the 4-speed or searching for the upper ranges of the rev range are simply superfluous. It’s also nicely detailed with Ford Blue paint on the block itself, finned Cobra valve covers, and a matching Cobra air cleaner that isn’t 100% correct but isn’t exactly wrong, either. You’ll note correct hose clamps, proper washer bottle on the inner fender, and a correct radiator up front. We had the power steering pump rebuilt and it is this car’s original (and unique) unit, not a truck unit that looks pretty similar. You’ll also find the Shelby serial number tag on the inner fender and even the body buck tags over on the passenger’s side. The car is very correct.

Underneath, it shows state-of-the-art in mid-80s restoration. The floors were painted body color, not red oxide as they would have originally, and there’s a light dusting of undercoating to protect the major surfaces. The correct convertible braces are in place, the torque boxes are in excellent condition, and the pinch welds and rockers are quite good without any signs of rust. The Toploader 4-speed manual transmission is quiet and shifts easily with zero chatter from the clutch and there are 3.50 gears in the 9-inch rear end. It looks like a correct but older exhaust system with a pair of resonators amidships and a transverse muffler out back, resulting in a mellow tone that’s just threatening enough for this upscale Shelby. The brakes were just sorted out and include a new power booster and master cylinder, so it tracks and stops straight. It sits on original Shelby wheels (easy to spot with their tapered spokes—the repros use straight spokes) and the aforementioned vintage 215/70/15 BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires that should probably be replaced before you go pushing its limits.

This car is documented with a Marti Report and in the Shelby American World Registry, although the only notation there is that it was originally delivered to Marshall Ford in Cleveland, Ohio. However, that in and of itself is a fairly neat feature, proving that it’s been out of sight for decades.

This is not a perfect Shelby and it isn’t an investment-grade car…yet. However, the fact that it has been in the same owner’s hands since it was three years old and has never been seen outside of some local shows is a wonderful opportunity for the next owner. Arriving at a Shelby event with a car that has not been previously seen or noted in the Registry is very exciting.

But if this were mine, I’d just drive it until the wheels fell off. This is a fantastic car!

Vehicle: 1968 Shelby GT500 Convertible
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 114118
Mileage: 5822
VIN: 8T03S143344
Engine: 428 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.5
Wheelbase: 108 inches
Wheels: 15-inch aluminm wheels
Tires: 215/70/15 BFGoodrich T/A radial
Exterior Color: Acapulco Blue
Interior Color: Black vinyl
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