At RK Motors, we've sold every single Shelby we've gotten our hands on this year, setting two price guide records in the process. Check out our top 20 sales of the year for the evidence. Anyone who tells you that the classic car market is down is stuck in 2008. Bottom line, as Carroll Shelby's star has risen, so have the values on the hardware bearing his name. And at the very top of the list has to be the King of the Road GT500KR like this 1968 Fastback.
By 1968, the pony car wars were in top gear, with GM and Ford working overtime stuffing big block V8s into their popular muscle cars. In 1967, Ford finally managed to stuff a 390 into the Mustang, paving the way for Shelby's GT500, which took it one step further and added a 428 to the menu. In 1968, with the hard engineering work already done, it was time to up the horsepower ante. Enter the 428 Cobra Jet, with a grossly underrated 335 horsepower number attached to it, ostensibly to fool the insurance companies. Shelby stuffed the Cobra Jet into the GT500, stole the Chevy Camaro SS396s thunder by calling it the King of the Road (or GT500KR), and drove himself even further into the history books.
This 1968 Shelby GT500KR enjoyed a high-quality restoration in 2008 and looks spectacular today in its original Acapulco Blue finish. Driven less than 100 miles since it was completed, this car was restored to compete at the very highest levels, and the original mileage of 20,912 is correct and authentic, with a complete owner and title history to back it up. The paint is 2-stage urethane that glitters in the sunlight, and the white stripes and GT500KR callouts on the rocker panels stand out in bright, clean contrast. The fiberglass pieces are in excellent condition, in part thanks to the improvements made to build quality when A.O. Smith and Ford took Shelby production back to Michigan. It has been a long time since I've seen a Shelby with a trunk lid that fits as well as this one does. Panel gaps are very good, certainly much better than new, and the doors on this car close like it has never seen a rough road or more than part throttle acceleration. Solid.
Trim and bright-work was thoroughly restored, including the bumpers and all the stainless around the windshield. Ford was intent on advertising the new Cobra Jet motor everywhere they could, so there are bright red emblems on both front fenders advertising the car's 428 cubic inch power plant. The fog lamps in the grille opening are functional, and the glass is very good all around. Those cool Shelby sequential taillights pilfered from the Thunderbird look great and work properly always good for some extra attention when you're sitting in traffic.
The original 428 Cobra Jet engine lives in a fully detailed and beautifully restored engine bay that is befitting a car of this caliber. Yes, it is the original engine, fully rebuilt to Cobra Jet specs. There's a lot of speculation about the actual horsepower of this engine, and performance tests of the day suggest that the number was really somewhere north of 400, and that's not hard to believe. With all the heavy duty upgrades that came with the Cobra Jet, it was clearly a piece built for performance and could easily handle the rigors of racing, which is exactly the image Ford wanted for their biggest hitter. Bathed in a bright coat of Ford blue paint, the block, heads, and many ancillary parts look better than they day they were new. As the KR featured functional ram air, the traditional oval Shelby air cleaner is gone, replaced by a more utilitarian (but vastly more functional) steel filter housing that seals to the hood and feeds the Holley carburetor underneath through an open-element filter. Cast aluminum Cobra valve covers look gorgeous with their black wrinkle finish. And sharp-eyed viewers will note that the factory air injection system is intact and functional on this KR, which is incredibly rare, most enthusiasts removed all these components the instant they got their new Shelbys off the dealer's lot. With Shelbys, there's really no excuse to get all the details correct, since there are about a zillion books on authenticity and original specifications, and it looks like the restorer read every single one of them. Note the orange shocks as original, the correct hoses and clamps, and the Autolite battery. Heck, the windshield washer bottle on the driver's side fender has never had a drop of fluid in it!
The chassis is also show quality throughout, from the red oxide floors with some Acapulco Blue overspray, to the detailing on the suspension components. The engine is backed by a C6 3-speed automatic that is original to the car, feeding a 9-inch Ford rear with 3.50 gears and Traction-Lok limited slip. As I said, this car was restored several years ago, and shows some slight signs of usage, but could be prepped for competition without a lot of time and effort. The basics are correct, with the proper stripes, markings, and decals applied as needed. The wheels are 10-spoke Shelby alloys (don't try to put your 1968 alloys on a '67, they won't fit!), and I'm guessing that they're in original condition too nice to restore, but not quite up to the standards of the rest of the car, but I certainly respect the restorer's decision to keep them as-is. They currently wear a set of 215/70/15 BFGoodrich T/A radials.
The black comfort weave bucket seat interior is almost 100% Ford Mustang, with the notable exceptions of Shelby-exclusive items like a center armrest with a Cobra logo embossed into its surface, a roll bar with integrated seat belts, and a pair of auxiliary gauges in the center stack. Ford was moving the GT500 into a grand touring role in the lineup, combining the potent hardware underneath with a near-luxury blend of interior features to create the ultimate gentleman's express. The interior in this car is an astounding mixture of original and new pieces. The steering wheel is fully restored, with clean wood-graining and a rim-blow horn. The seats are ORIGINAL and look amazing. Overhead, the headliner is taut, the gauges have been rebuilt, and the carpets are the correct weave. The seatbelts even feature the Shelby Cobra logo on the buttons. As I said, there aren't many excuses for not getting a Shelby correct in every detail, and the restorer on this one nailed it.
Documentation includes a copy of the original build sheet, the original title, and a Marti report that details the features on this car. As one of only 933 GT500KR fastbacks built, it is a very rare piece that has been returned to better-than-new condition, and the documentation is icing on that cake.
We've had a lot of incredible Shelby Mustangs roll through here in the past 12 months, and they've all sold for strong money. I predict that this one will continue the trend, and thanks to its great color combination and rarity, it probably won't last long. With a top-notch restoration and a no-stories background that includes all the original hardware, they just don't get much more blue-chip than this. This one won't be here long, so call now!
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