Less than a year after the Mustang went into production, in 1965, the Shelby GT350 was the first to arrive in showrooms. The GT500 replaced the lightweight, track-spec pony in 1967. With a big-block V8, the GT500 was a true muscle car, unlike the GT350. The 428-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) FE engine in question, which was rated at 355 horsepower, made the GT500 the most powerful Mustang on the market at the time.
The nameplate did not last very long. In the summer of 1969, Carroll dissolved his partnership with Ford, and the GT500 was consigned to history until its resuscitation in 2005. At that point, Ford had produced a mere 5,464 units.
In 1967 exactly 2,050 pieces came off the assembly line. They were all fastback models, with the exception of two (a convertible and a coupe). 1,542 automobiles were introduced in 1968. This time Ford offered a production drop-top, which 402 buyers preferred. Before Carroll Shelby brokered the deal in 1969, Ford assembled 1,872 examples.
Despite the GT500's arrival in showrooms in 1970, no cars were actually produced for that model year. In 1969, Ford sold cars that were never owned. In addition to a front chin spoiler and twin black hood stripes, the cars received 1970 VINs and minor cosmetic modifications. All other details were the same as in 1969, when the GT500 and GT350 had a very distinct appearance compared to the standard Ford Mustang.
Only 286 GT500 models were sold in 1970, according to Mustang historians, making this model year the rarest for this Shelby nameplate. Although the exact number of convertibles is unknown, it was probably far fewer than 40. One of them, the red example you see here, recently sold for more than a quarter of a million dollars.
Why is it worth so much money? To begin with, what you are looking at is the outcome of a rotisserie restoration. This highly original car is immaculate on the inside as well. It belongs to the Shelby Registry and has strong documentation. It also has a Deluxe Marti Report, just like any other desirable Ford.
The latter reveals that this Shelby is a unique gem and demonstrates that the GT500 is a highly optioned-up vehicle. Furthermore, its uniqueness extends beyond the color-equipment combination. Regardless of the model year, the Super Cobra Jet Drag Pack bundle is another uncommon feature on this GT500.
The car was better equipped for the drag strip with the addition of a traction-lock differential, an upgraded crankshaft and flywheel, and an engine oil cooler. It also produced a Super Cobra Jet out of a Cobra Jet.
Because of everything mentioned above, Shelby Mustang fans who attended the 2023 Mecum Kansas City auction exceeded the GT500's $200,000 reserve. At $260,000 (including fees), the hammer fell, setting a record for a Shelby model year from 1970.
The muscle car is currently the second most expensive car from the event, with a 2005 Ford GT fetching $429,000 being the most expensive as of this writing. More than a 2022 Ford Shelby GT500H ($220,000) and a 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 ($214,500) were bid for the classic.