1968 Shelby GT500 KR Convertible
Highland Green with Black Vinyl Interior
When Ford wanted a genuinely high performance race ready variant of the already wildly successful Mustang, they knew who to ask. Carroll Shelby had already fashioned a name for himself in the motorsports world with the outrageous and legendary Cobra, and by winning some sort of 24-hour race in France driving some foreign car called and Aston Martin. Shelby arranged with Ford`s San Jose, California plant to make nothing but partially complete white on black Mustang fastbacks with high performance 289 cid V8s and 4-speeds for two days straight, and then had the cars trucked to Shelby-American’s Los Angeles plant. Once there, the cars were fitted with special cams, larger intake manifolds and carburetors, tubular headers, and finned and baffled high capacity oil pans. Heavy duty brakes were fitted, along with a limited slip differential and shock tower brace, and the suspension substantially modified (including the fitment of larger front sway bar and Koni shocks). Numerous other modifications were performed, including the relocation of the battery into the trunk and the deletion of the +2 rear seats.
For 1967, the Mustang was updated and restyled, and so too was the Shelby version. The GT350 was supplemented by the big block GT500 with its 428cid engine, and both cars received a deeper front grille cavity, rear spoiler, unique vents and extractors along the side of the car, new alloy wheels, and the unique inner headlights placed in the grille aperture. The cars received detail updates for 1968, including relocating the hood scoop at the leading edge of the hood, while the biggest news was the introduction of the convertible version, which incorporated a roll bar for safety. Power and torque in the big block engine continued to be prodigious, and the GT500 was replaced mid model year with the GT500KR (for “King of the Road”), which featured a 428cid Cobra Jet engine incorporating significant upgrades to the heads and internal components. Although rated at 335hp, contemporary testers agreed that the quote was suspiciously low, and Car Life magazine writers indicated that they suspected the real output to be nearer 500hp. The KR was available in both open and closed versions, but in all, just 518 1968 GT500KR Convertibles were built.
This particular car is a nicely restored example finished in Highland Green (the same color as the Steve McQueen’s fastback in the film Bullitt) with factory options including: Black Power Convertible Top with Glass Backlight, GT equipment, visibility group, power steering, power front disc brakes, tilt away steering column, AM radio, and full gauge package (tachometer and trip odometer). The car comes with a copy of its original window sticker, as well as Marti report certifying the car’s options and equipment. The car retains its proper rectangular fog lights and is fitted with correct Shelby ten-spoke alloy wheels. It was originally produced on July 15th 1968, one day ahead of schedule, and is equipped with 428 c.i. Cobra Jet V8 and C6 automatic transmission. The restoration was completed in accordance with the data plate codes, and the decoded serial number is as follows:
T -Built at Metuchen
03 -Shelby Convertible
R -428 4V CJ Engine GT-500KR
113,220th -Mustang scheduled for production at Metuchen
3945th -Shelby scheduled for production
76B -Shelby Convertible
R -Highland Green Ford #3067-A
6A -Black Décor Bucket Seats
16U -Scheduled for build July 16th 1968
8D3022 Home Office Reserve ordering district
Under Domestic Special order # 3022
H -3.50 -Traction-Lok rear axle ratio
U -C-6 Automatic Transmission
Cosmetically, the car is in very nice condition. The paintwork was done to high standards and remains in good condition, with a few chips and stress cracks in evidence. The body itself is excellent, being very straight and demonstrating with very good gaps. The chrome is very good, with only some pitting in evidence. The driving lamps are Lucas items and are in excellent order, as are the remaining lights and glass. The sequential rear turn signals work correctly and are very neat. The original badging and trim are all in place, and a particularly neat touch is the paper label on the rear of the car instructing the original dealer to remove the tie down hooks that are affixed to the rear of the chassis for shipment.
The interior is in excellent condition. The upholstery, carpets, and dashboard are all pristine and extremely correct. The car has full instrumentation including ammeter and oil pressure gauges. Additionally, the car has a full center console, and the lid has the correct cobra emblem on it. The top boot is also excellent as are the door panels.
The engine compartment and trunk are equally nice and correct. The engine compartment is extremely clean, and the car has the correct blue finish to the engine and air cleaner, and Cobra Jet air cleaner decal and Cobra valve covers. The battery is even an Autolite unit. The engine compartment is well-detailed and is certainly nice enough to show. The trunk is also very correct and tidy, with correct plaid trunk floor and spare tire covering. The underside is structurally solid and extremely clean, and it is clear that it was included in the restoration. The car has been driven some since the restoration, but the undercarriage remains extremely nice on the whole.
This is a rare opportunity to acquire one of the 518 1968 Shelby GT500KR Convertibles built. 1969 marked the last full year of Shelby Mustang production, as production had been shifted from Shelby American in California to Ford in Michigan, and the Shelby models were encroaching on Ford’s own performance models, the Boss and Mach I. 1969 also marked the most significant cosmetic redesign of the Mustang since its introduction, and the car lost some of its delicateness and beauty. Consequently, any 1968 Shelby Convertible is a special car, and this example, a very correct and well-optioned GT500KR is a particularly rare find. The car comes with a framed Marti certificate and original window sticker.
Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA
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