During Project Red
Hot, from 2009-2015, we were able to find and catalog nearly 100 high-resolution photos
of the '67 Convertible. This was no easy project -- in every
photo, the Convertible and it's Fastback kin were disguised
to look like 1968 models. All these photographs were taken
after the two cars were updated for "photographic purposes."
Careful scrutiny of these photographs allowed
identify and document that there was more than one version
of the '68 styling treatment over the course of a few
months. There were two 1968
"Photographic Cars" (one convertible and one fastback).
Note: There were
a small number of differences between the
Version 1 (circa April
wearing original paint color -- Candyapple Red.
- Both ‘photographic
styling’ cars captured with ‘67 10-spokes and
wheel covers. The pre-production wheel covers had
an inverted paint scheme from production covers. Wheel
cover centers have a prototype emblem of a rectangular
checkered pattern behind a left-facing Cobra snake.
Convertible is also seen wearing Ford 'turbine style' wheel covers
at one point.
- Car fitted
with hand-formed fiberglass components built by A.O.
Smith, including a front-end, hood, tail light
panel and center console. (Ref:
Van Akin Letter)
- The hood was
fiberglass over steel under-structure. Visible
differences between the prototype hood and '68
production hoods include: rounded front corners of top
louvers, non-functional front scoop openings, sharper side edges of scoops, longer tips on
front of scoops. Large hinge springs were used due to
the steel under-structure.
- This front-end was
moulded/fabricated as a single piece, not the four piece front
end that production cars would receive. Marchal light
pedestals are the only anchor to support brace (there
are no additional visible bolts visible on the grille
opening bottom return.
- “S H E L B Y”
chrome lettering on header panel is more condensed, approximately 19”
wide, as compared to the 23” wide lettering that
production cars would receive.
- Front grille
is a pre-production variant with top-center area cut out
for access to hood latch.
- The tail light panel made by
A.O. Smith fitted with ‘65
Thunderbird tail lights. Note: The convertible 0139
was originally prepared the same as all ‘67 Shelby cars,
with large, crudely-cut rectangular openings in the rear
valence for the ‘67 Cougar tail light assemblies.
Rectangular strips of metal were cut and riveted to the
top and bottom of the oversized openings to add support
for the new ‘68-styled fiberglass panel fitted with ‘65
Thunderbird taillights. The chrome taillight bezels were
attached with slotted (not Phillips) screws. Visible
area around trunk lock was painted silver to blend with
- Trunk lid was
also fiberglass over steel under-structure (same as early ‘67
cars). Made in Los Angeles area by Barry or Plaza Fiberglass.
- Hood locks
are right & left ‘hairpin’ style click-pins with cables.
Cables are fastened to the fiberglass return of upper
treatment #1 - left side of the car (v1-L) different is
different from the right side of the car (v1-R).
marker lights cut into front fenders.
- Rear lower
valance changed out for Mustang GT style (wide factory
openings for exhaust tips). This also eliminated the chrome trim
pieces originally fitted to the original '67 lower valance
exhaust tips are new “pipe-in-pipe” design.
- Rear quarter
reflectors were paper/cardboard mock-ups.
- Fuel filler
cap is ‘flat’ (not convex like production cars). No
adapter plate was used.
- Back of hood
scoop is body color (not blacked-out).
- Front license
plate bracket removed (convertible only).
steel wheel well mountings added.
- Chrome trim
added around front upper and lower grille openings.
Note: the trim isn’t
metal -- it is a flexible chrome plastic body moulding.
series spot lamp lenses (same as used on GT40)
Fitted to upper grille opening. These are not the
broad-beam fluted 653 series driving lamp lenses that were
eventually used in production cars. The pedestals were blacked out to make the lights appear as if they are
“floating” in the grille area.
- Lucas toggle
switch to control Marchal lights added to lower left of
dashboard (below convertible power top switch). Switch
is same as that used on dashboards of AC Cobra cars.
Speedway 350 “small letter” tires (note: when car was
discovered in late 1970's. the spare tire in
the trunk was still as the factory delivered it, a Magstar
with Goodyear large letter tire).
top boot is stock Mustang type, with exterior snaps
painted black. Two interior snaps on either side were
visible and unpainted.
- Wood Grain
appliqué applied over stock brushed steel ‘67 dash and
‘67 door panels.
knee pad is about twice as deep as those
found in most cars. Note: Knee pads were sourced from multiple
suppliers, so this is not unique to the convertible.
This does, however, help us identify 0139 as the
convertible in the vintage photos.
console made by A.O. Smith. Compared to a production console,
it is wider; the stitching, piping and seams different;
the armrest is not embossed and is covered in Connolly
leather rather than production vinyl.
- Front seats are
wrapped in black Connolly leather rather than production
vinyl. The tags found in the convertible designate them
as “Show Car” seats. Note: 0131, the coupe known as
'little red' also received a black Connolly leather
trim surrounding ’67 seats and
seat emblems were
steering wheel with unique (small) center top pad and
horn half-ring. Steering wheel believed to have be
sourced from the Ford Thunderbird.
Leather/vinyl-wrapped roll-bar with top clasps (which,
according to the press release, were for “securing a
surfboard or skis”).
- Large ‘67
style rear-view mirror relocated and mounted directly to front window
(top windshield frame mount receiver still present).
- Seatbelts are
‘67 deluxe style, and shoulder harnesses were added.
are Tung Sol, as would have been originally delivered
from Ford San Jose.
of the '68 styling cars were photographed at
Malibu Beach beach wearing ‘67 10-spoke wheels, off I-10
(at the base of the
San Jacinto Mountains) wearing the
15” steel wheels with the prototype wheel covers and at
Shelby American facility at LAX. In the LAX shoot,
Carroll Shelby is standing with the two styling
cars (and the convertible is also captured
wearing Ford 'turbine style' wheel covers p/n: C8AZ1130B).
Version 1a (circa May 1967)
Convertible has been repainted Wimbledon White.
Clear evidence of repainting includes painted bumper
support arms, painted body pinch-welds (both were
originally black), and runs in the paint on the cowl
(visible in the one engine bay shot we've found).
- All other
features, including the emblem and stripe treatment,
remain unchanged from version 1.
1a of the convertible '68 styling car was
photographed at the LAX facility
on the tarmac and
then taken to the
Hollywood Park horse racing track
along with the Acapulco Blue Fastback for a
professional photo shoot.
Version 2 (late June 1967)
Convertible remains Wimbledon White.
pinch-welds have been blacked out, however,
bumper support arms are still covered in white
of hood scoop is now blacked out with what
appears to be black vinyl tape.
hood locks with cables attaching them to inside
openings of hood scoop replaced the click-pin
Quarter panels now
appear to have early ‘68-style reflectors, though there is no recess or
cut-out in the quarter panel to accept them
(they are surface-mount and sit atop the sheet
Fuel filler cap
emblem has been updated.
are very close to production, though they are
actually two separate pieces. The snake piece is
thicker and the rectangular
“COBRA” portion has black lettering on a silver
background with red and blue stripes above and
below (a theme shared with the 427 Cobra's side
Rocker stripes are near production (though still
‘67 style - door justified model rather than
centered like production ‘68).
Dashboard emblem is now similar to ‘68
Roll-bar and interior panels are updated - both
appear to be molded fiberglass with a textured
coating. Roll-bar no longer has top clasps.
the hood, the factory dual-quad setup has been
replaced with the setup from a 427 Cobra
(intake, 715 CFM 4bbl carburetor and circular
chrome air cleaner).
Version 2 of the '68 styling cars were first photographed during 'press day' at the LLTC held
Riverside Raceway on July 7, 1967. Three days
later near they was taken out to Idyllwild and
photographed at three locations in the mountains.
Some of the Version 2 photos have been found in the Ford
Archives, however, no Version 1 photos have been
found in the archives.
Version 3 (possibly)
Repainted Acapulco Blue.
Fitted with production 4-piece front
end and full fiberglass hood.
Brightwork added to rocker panels.
Antenna relocated from front right to left
DZUS hood locks are no longer tethered with
Fender emblems and model designation in
stripe is ‘68 production style.
Rear-view mirror updated to ‘68 production.
Roll bar is still a prototype (wider
Version 3 is only found in a single print ad
the complete surprise... Carroll Shelby's
"1968 Shelby Photographic Cars
How to quickly identify the ‘68
photographic cars in old photos:
Wheels -- when wearing wheel covers, the
paint is inverted from production
colors. Centers also have a prototype
emblem of a rectangular checkered
pattern behind a left-facing Cobra
Model designation in side stripe is
door-justified like a '67, not centered
on the front fender as the '68
production cars would be.
No bright-work on rocker panels.
Cables on hood locks -- either
click-pins with cables attached to front
grille opening -or- DZUS locks with
cables attached to inside of hood scoop
Prototype emblems on sides, glove box and
fuel filler cap. Often, the early color
photographs found were often retouched
(airbrushed, altered) to make the car appear as if
it had a production emblems and stripes.
No embossed emblem on top of center
Front seats and console armrest show
clear signs that they are not vinyl, but
rather a more supple material such as
Connolly leather (convertible only).