Pre-production and prototype vehicles are virtually non-existent. This is because, without a proper VIN number, no state licensing agency will register them. Yes, a few got away, and the rarest Ford Mustang featured here is one of those vehicles. It was the only one built and was easily mistaken for a completely different year model for some time. This is a 1967 Shelby GT500 convertible.
Why Was Only One 1967 Shelby Mustang Convertible Made?
By 1967, manufacturing slowdowns and problems with fiberglass parts fitted to Shelby Mustangs meant there was a backlog of orders. The only 1967 convertible was used by Carroll Shelby after his 1966 convertible returned to Dearborn. Another GT500 coupe served a similar purpose.
For some reason, the coupe received the majority of the advertising exposure, while the convertible saw far less. Then, while being used by a Ford executive, the convertible was stolen. When found in 1967, it was turned over to Ford.
Why was this Shelby Mustang convertible transformed into a 1968 model?
Ford made some slight changes to the 1968 Mustang, and promotions for them were brewing. He wanted to see those changes incorporated into this Shelby GT 500 convertible. Ford still used it.
The 1968 spares ended up on it, and with those additions it became a 1968 Mustang Shelby GT500. After the promotional needs were met, the convertible ended up on a used car lot as a 1968 model.
When did Carroll Shelby sign the dashboard and hood?
It ended up in the hands of the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois, who owned and displayed it until 2009. Which confirms that it is a 1967 and not a 1968 is the only year old 428 ci bi-quad engine. After finding out what year it was, 1967 Shelby parts were reapplied.
In 2004 Volo sent it to the Chicago Auto Show. When Carroll Shelby walked by, he autographed the dashboard and the hood. But Shelby also wrote a letter to Volo.
He said he was surprised that the car escaped the crusher. Ford’s policy, of course, was and is to destroy prototypes after they had achieved their commercial goals, mentioning that the coupe used by Shelby met that fate. Or at least that’s what he thought. He ended the note by saying: “I don’t know how this GT500 convertible was not destroyed, other than to speculate that the theft of the vehicle may have disrupted Ford Motor’s standard policy in some way. .”
They’re no more collectible than this Mustang
So there it is, from the mouth of the proverbial horse. This is the great mystery. How could he have escaped the crusher’s fate, being the prototype that he was? For enthusiasts and collectors, it’s one of those happy circumstances that rarely happen. It represents the pinnacle of 1967 Mustangs and the only one manufactured. And to add juice, it’s verified by Carroll Shelby himself.
In 2009 Volo sold the car for $825,000 to a private collector. A second restoration has been carried out, and it also has a new owner. Such is the world of rarefied collector cars.
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