Lyndon B. Johnson was president, the "space race" was
on, the Beach Boys released their best-selling album and a gallon of
gasoline would set you back $0.32 cents. It was the summer
On August 9th,
a week before production was about to begin on the newly
redesigned Mustang, Shelby American placed an order 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
428cid "Police Interceptor" engine, C-6 automatic, A/C, P/S,
P/B, Thermactor, AM radio, tinted glass and a black
décor interior under a Candyapple Red exterior.
These automobiles would become the first three big block Shelby GT 500 cars
to be built. The Fastback was finished first, followed by
the Coupe ("Little Red"), and then the Convertible.
November 1, 1966 and completed on November 21 at Ford’s San
Jose plant, the Convertible was delivered to Shelby American
where it was designated a "Company Car – Engineering Proto" on the
Production Order and
received sequence number 0139.
According to the
Report provided by the Carroll Shelby Foundation
and the interviews of other Shelby American employees, this
one-off convertible was initially assigned to
Carroll Shelby as his "personal driver," was used by various Shelby American
personnel, and was often loaned to several celebrities and
After being thoroughly enjoyed by Carroll and
his friends, the
convertible was re-purposed as a '68 styling prototype. Dearborn Steel Tubing (DST) shipped a
newly designed hood, front-end and tail light panel to
California. In April 1967, Shelby American installed the
components and began extensively photographing the convertible for brochures, print ads and dealer
literature to promote the upcoming 1968 model year GT cars.
Nearly half a
century has passed since this extra special GT 500
convertible came off the Shelby American assembly line. Several years
were spent researching the history and then restoring this
special car. R&A
Motorsports completed the Concours-level restoration under the supervision of SAAC head judge Bob Gaines and with the priceless technical
contributions from so many experts, enthusiasts and past
employees in the Shelby community.