One-Off 1967 GT-500 convertible to be shown at Carlisle

What some are calling the world’s rarest muscle car will be on display at the Carlisle Ford Nationals, June 1-3. The only 1967 Shelby GT-500 Convertible event built is a lasting relic to what became the 1968 Shelby GT-500 production car.

On August 15th, 1966, Shelby American placed an order for three 428 equipped 1967 Mustangs: a fastback, a coupe, and this convertible. These special-ordered cars would become the first production line big-block Shelby GT 500’s built.

Upon arriving at Shelby American’s Los Angeles facility in November 1966, the convertible was designated a “company car” and promptly assigned to Carroll Shelby. Over the next four months, Carroll’s “personal driver” was often loaned to his friends, employees, celebrities, and visiting executives from the Ford Motor Company.

The car represents a number of only’s and firsts. The Candyapple Red convertible has a 428 “Police Interceptor” mated to a the first heavy duty C6 3-speed automatic transmission ever produced, with serial number #000001.

In April 1967, the lone GT 500 Convertible was re-tasked as a ’68 styling prototype. Updated fiberglass body parts were fitted to the car so that it could be extensively photographed for print ads, brochures, and dealer literature to promote the upcoming 1968 Shelby Cobra GT 350 and GT 500 models due out in the fall.

The prototype remains the only big-block convertible actually assembled by Shelby American in Los Angeles. It’s equipped with dual four-barrel carburetors and features a black deluxe interior as well. The car was one of two cars built, one a 1968 model.

Both are documented as 1968 prototypes though this car is actually a 1967 production model. The car was used for a variety of promotional purposes including corporate photography and media use. It is claimed to be the most photographed and publicized Shelby GT-500 ever.

The car was recently restored by Samantha and Brian Styles, a project meant to be completed in time for the 50th anniversary of Shelby American. Carroll Shelby’s passing of course makes this car and its completion that much more momentous.

The 2012 Carlisle event will be attended by more than 45,000 Blue Oval enthusiasts, and will showcase multiple vendors, special displays, reunions, a downtown parade and a one of a kind gathering of Carroll Shelby’s namesake, the Shelby Mustang.

The weekend officially launches on Friday, June 1st at 7 a.m. and continues through 3 p.m. Sunday, June 3rd. Over the span of three days, attendees can browse the Swap Meet, Car Corral and Manufacturers’ Midway, while witnessing American history sprawled over the 150-acre facility.

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