- 1 of just 1,053 GT500KR Fastbacks
- Documented by Elite Marti Report
- Listed in the official Shelby Registry
- Factory four-speed, factory power steering and power disc brakes
- Desirable 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet engine
When Ford first approached Carroll Shelby about creating a “hopped-up” version of the new Mustang, his dance card was already full with the production of his historic Cobra roadsters. However, being the entrepreneur that he was, Shelby threw caution to the wind and set about to make his friends at Ford even more beholden to his genius. The original Shelby Mustang fit the bill of what Ford was looking for and soon its racing endeavors were making news wherever they appeared. While production of those early GT350 street cars was limited in the first year, the second year saw a major jump in production and sales. But Shelby wanted more for his vehicles and, with Mustang’s redesign in 1967 able to accommodate a big-block V-8, it was game on. That year Shelby introduced the GT500 available only in fastback models, but still, Shelby felt there was more performance to be found. Through experiments with ram-jet technology, a few more horses could be produced and that was the engine that would become the ultimate in regular production Shelbys.
According to Carroll Shelby, in the late summer of 1967, someone at Ford got word that Chevrolet was planning a major ad campaign for the new 1968 Corvettes, and plans were to use the term “King of the Road”. Shelby got ahold of his representatives from 3M, who provided the outside striping for his Shelby Mustangs and had them conjure up a GT500KR graphic for the Cobra-Jet powered cars waiting in the wings. Shelby’s legal team quickly filed for trademark application and the King of the Road from Shelby was born. To much delight, Chevrolet was left scrambling. The performance of the GT500KR did not disappoint. Officially, the rated horsepower was advertised at 335; in reality, it was a lot closer to 400. The torque was terrific, 440 lb-ft or, to borrow a line from the late Tom McCahill, “enough torque to pull an elephant through the eye of a needle!” For 1968, production of the Mustangs destined to become Shelbys was switched to the Metuchen assembly plant in New Jersey. From there, the cars were shipped to A. O. Smith’s facility in Michigan where they underwent a rigorous process to conform to all of Shelby's specifications before being sent to authorized Shelby-Ford dealers around the country. The GT500KR moniker would be around for just one year, and a mere 1,053 GT500KR Fastbacks would be produced.
As noted in the Shelby Registry, this KR Fastback was sold new on February 19th, 1969, by North-Western Motor Car Company of Milwaukee to Patrick James Sibel of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Per its Elite Marti Report, this example is finished in its original Candy Apple Red and would leave the factory equipped with an array of factory options that include the GT equipment group, shoulder harness, tilt-away steering wheel, an AM radio, and the interior decor group. This GT500KR would also leave the factory with the desirable creature comforts of power steering and power disc brakes, which elevates the driving experience of this King of the Road to another level.
Always maintained mechanically, this is one of Shelby’s best creations and is ready to do what it was designed for – to hit the road running. In impressive condition both cosmetically and mechanically, this rare muscle car is a thrill to drive. The massive 428 Cobra Jet mated to the factory four-speed manual transmission will get any driver’s heart racing, and with the addition of a plush luxury interior, and the ever-so-important safety features of power disc brakes and power steering, the journey is elevated to another level. Powerful, rare, and authentic, this stellar example of Shelby's performance presents an opportunity to acquire one of the most legendary and desirable muscle cars ever produced.
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