Lyndon B. Johnson was president, the Beach Boys released their best-selling album
and Carroll Shelby was focused on sending Ferrari home from
Le Mans without a trophy. It was the summer
Meanwhile, after two years of selling the Mustang-based G.T. 350 Fastback,
Shelby American unveiled their three-part expansion plan for the upcoming
1967 model year:
1) Augment the
car's body with fiberglass components to give the Shelby G.T. a
more aggressive and distinct look from the
Mustang upon which it was based;
2) Offer the potent big block 428 cu.in.
FE-series "Ford Cobra" engine in addition to
the hi-po 289; and
3) In addition
to the proven Fastback, introduce coupe and convertible
body styles mid-model year (just in time for Spring).
This plan would have
allowed customers to choose from six Shelby G.T.
models and was put into
motion on August
8th, 1966, when Shelby American began placing orders with Ford
In the first three days of placing
pre-production orders, a total of 111 cars were
-- there was one coupe and one convertible, the rest were fastbacks.
the first batch of cars began to arrive at the Shelby
production facility (late September / early October), the
operation was plagued with fiberglass fitment, supply chain
and financial problems. These "launch problems"
prevented Shelby from being able to build cars so Ford
stepped in and took control
over the ordering and engineering departments. Ford
turned to A.O. Smith Plastics in Ionia, MI to solve the
Throughout October, Shelby
American managed to complete approximately a hundred cars --
all were G.T. 350 cars. In November,
the first big block G.T. 500 cars, including the coupe,
convertible and fastback
were completed by Ford's San Jose assembly plant.
This trio (Shelby VINs: 0100, 0131 and
0139) became the first 428-equipped production Mustangs
built by Ford and subsequently the first big block G.T. cars
delivered to, upgraded by and serialized by Shelby American.
The convertible was designated a "company car," and
received the same livery as all '67 G.T. cars (fiberglass
front-end, one-piece grille, inboard high-beams, exhaust
tips, emblems & stripes). According to Carroll Shelby,
claimed the first convertible as his own "personal driver."
with other former employees indicate "the convertible was
regularly being driven by one of the
gals who worked in the upstairs executive offices at the L.A. facility."
primarily caused by the hastily designed fiberglass
modifications, continued to plaque the
Shelby operation. This resulted in the 1967½
convertibles being pushed back an additional six months. Instead
of offering mid-year '67 convertibles, the drop-top would be
a 1968 model.
Part of Ford's intervention was to fix the problems caused
with Shelby's '67 styling upgrades. With FoMoCo'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 was tasked
with installing the components on two cars, a fastback and to a
convertible, so that the cars could be used "photographic
purposes" at various Southern California locations.
In May 1967, six
months after Ford first intervened, the
decision was made to terminate the Shelby American
operation. In August 1967 the Shelby American Program assets, including this convertible,
were shipped to Ford's headquarters in Dearborn, MI.
In October 1967, the photos previously taken of the
disguised convertible and fastback made their way to printed
brochures, magazine ads and dealer
literature that was used for the promotion of the upcoming 1968 model year
Shelby Cobra G.T. cars.
Eventually, Ford sold the convertible through it's corporate
"B-Lot," thus fulfilling the convertible's destiny of being
offered to an enthusiastic member of the public -- just as it
was originally intended.
As history has now revealed, Shelby's aggressive plan to grow from a
350 model in 1966 to six models in 1967, proved to be too much
for the small California company...
After several years
of researching and documenting this convertible's special history,
Jason Billups was entrusted to perform the Concours-correct
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 in
December of 1966 when
the legendary Carroll Shelby first enjoyed this big-block