Lyndon B. Johnson was president, the "space race" was
on and the Beach Boys released their best-selling album. It was the summer
After two successful
years of selling his Mustang-based G.T. 350 Fastback,
Carroll Shelby unveiled his plan for 1967 and readied his
company for a new level of greatness.
There were three
key parts to Shelby's plan for 1967:
redesigned Mustang with fiberglass components to give
his new G.T. its own distinct look,
Add coupe and
convertible body styles, and
Offer the potent FE-series
'big block' engine as an option.
This plan would would
have resulted in customers being able to choose from six different Shelby G.T. models,
put into motion on August 9th,
a week before production began on the redesigned '67 Mustang.
Shelby American placed orders with Ford for three
specially-equipped cars; a coupe, a fastback, and a convertible.
Other than the body style, all three
were to be
identically equipped with
the 428 CID engine, C-6 automatic gearbox, A/C, P/S,
P/B, exhaust emissions, AM radio, tinted glass and a black
décor interior under a Candyapple Red exterior.
As extensive research would
ultimately reveal, these automobiles would
be the first production-line Ford Mustangs outfitted with
the potent 428 cu.in. "Interceptor" engine --
and because they were ordered by Shelby American, they also received
dual Holly 4bbl 600 cfm carburetors.
For Carroll Shelby, two out
of three goals were achieved: he did get his styling
design approved, and a 428-equipped G.T. 500 model would
be offered. Unfortunately, Ford quashed the third part of the plan that
would have expanded the model line-up to include the coupe and
convertible body styles.
decision to scale-back Shelby's offering to just a fastback model, the
one coupe and one convertible (ordered back in August)
would still get built. The convertible was serialized on
November 1, 1966 and completed twenty days later at Ford’s San
Jose assembly plant, approximately two weeks after the fastback
This trio would become the first
regular-production big block cars
delivered to, upgraded by and serialized by Shelby American.
Upon delivery to
Shelby American in Los Angeles, the convertible received sequence number 0139, was designated a "company
car," and like all early-built '67 Shelby vehicles, was
upgraded with the same off-the-shelf parts, including
fiberglass, inboard headlights, emblems & stripes.
Promptly claimed by Carroll Shelby as his own "personal driver," interviews
with his former employees indicate the convertible was often
being driven by "Patricia" who worked for Shelby
in the upstairs executive offices at the L.A. facility (she was the
originally the receptionist at the Venice shop).
four months later, the convertible was was re-purposed for
use as a '68 styling and photographic car.
With Ford's updated design, A.O. Smith
and shipped two sets of redesigned hoods, front-ends and tail light panels to
California. In April 1967, Shelby American installed the
fiberglass components and began extensively photographing the convertible
at numerous California locations. These photos were printed
in brochures, magazine ads and dealer
literature that was used to promote the upcoming 1968 model year
Shelby G.T. cars.
Nearly half a
century passed since this unique G.T. 500
convertible first rolled-off Ford's assembly line.
After several years
of researching and documenting this convertible's special history,
Jason Billups was entrusted to perform the Concours-correct restoration
with the priceless technical
contributions from many experts, enthusiasts and past
employees in the Shelby community.
Today, the convertible
has been restored to its "earliest point as a Shelby" and
wears 1967 Shelby styling and upgrades, just as she did when
the legendary Carroll Shelby first sat behind the wheel in