The 1967 Shelby
GT500 Convertible was a topic in three interviews of former Shelby
American personnel. The following
analysis outlines the similarities and differences between the
interviews of Jim
Vehicle Information provided by the Carroll Shelby Foundation
CSF states the car was initially built for Carroll himself and then
loaned to various Ford [employees], Shelby [employees] and
Fred Goodell indicates the car was upgraded to ’68 specifications. This
differs from Jim Frank’s recollection that his memories were that the
convertible was dressed
in ’68 coachwork from the day it was built. [Note: Goodell started on
Dec 2, 1966. Frank started in Feb-1967]
Goodell mistakenly refers to the Green Hornet as "another convertible." The Green
Hornet was a coupe, not a convertible, and therefore we can assume
that when Goodell refers to the theft of the car, he is referring to the
disguised '67 convertible he discussed earlier in the interview (#0139).
CSF states the convertible was loaned to a Ford Motor Company executive.
Both employees (Frank and Goodell) believe the car was on loan to a Ford
engineer. Frank believes the engineer was visiting from South America
while Goodell believed the engineer was from Dearborn.
Frank’s comment about “We built the damned thing and it got stolen
almost immediately!” This statement correlates with the approximate time
the convertible would have been updated from the '67-/2 front-end to the '68 styled fiberglass,
which was crafted by A.O. Smith and shipped to SAI. The theft was
alleged to have happened in April 1967.
The theft and recovery
locations seem consistent in both Frank’s and Goodell’s
interviews. Goodell stated the car was stolen from the Polynesian
Village apartment complex in the Pacific Palisades. Goodell and Frank
both recall the vehicle being recovered in the Palos Verdes Hills.
Both former Ford employees (Frank and Goodell) believed that the car was actually
stolen. Conversely, Carroll Shelby stated that the car was not stolen, was subsequently returned and some
compensation tendered (records not available). In his 2003 interview, Shelby
laughed about the "stolen car" story and said that was the public story
and then started to relate the true circumstances. He stopped and said,
"It's better to let a sleeping dog lie."
Frank’s and Goodell’s recollections about the stolen parts differ; Frank
states they stole the carburetor[s] and intake; Goodell states they took
the entire engine. The
Theft Repair Invoice aligns more consistently with Frank’s
recollection and clarifies the parts "stolen" from the engine bay were
"bolt-on" components – not the entire engine.
CSF suggests that it may have been the "theft" that disrupted the
standard disposal process.
Goodell suggests that it may have been the “penny pinching” controller
that was the
reason for the convertible not being destroyed.
Handwritten notes, scribed when Shelby was closing up the California
operation, indicate the convertible was "disposed of." (i.e. sent to
the new Shelby Automotive Company along with the other company cars).