Lyndon B. Johnson was president, the "space race" was
on and the Beach Boys released their best-selling album. It was the summer
After two successful
years of selling his Mustang-based G.T. 350 Fastback,
Carroll Shelby unveiled his plan for 1967 and readied his
company for a new level of greatness.
There were three
key parts to Shelby's plan for 1967:
Mustang's body with fiberglass components to give
the Shelby G.T. its own distinct look,
Introduce coupe and
convertible body styles by mid-year, and
Offer the potent FE-series
'big block' "Ford Cobra" engine as an option.
This plan would would
have resulted in customers being able to choose from six different Shelby G.T.
models, and was put into motion a week before production began on the redesigned '67 Mustang.
Beginning on August
8th, 1966, Shelby American placed the first orders with Ford
Motor Company. Twelve orders for a total of 111 cars; all
fastbacks except for one coupe and one convertible.
the first small block equipped cars began to arrive in
September, Shelby American was plagued with fitment, supply
and financial problems. Ford stepped in and took control
over the ordering process and tapped A.O. Smith to solve the
fiberglass-related issues. As part of this triage effort,
Ford management also abandoned the plan to introduce the
mid-year coupe and convertible body styles. As history has
now taught us, Shelby's aggressive plan to go from one G.T.
model in '66 to six models in '67, while his focus was still
on racing and winning Le Mans, proved to be too much...
Even though the plans
changed, the coupe and convertible (ordered back in August)
were still completed by Ford's San Jose assembly plant in
November 1966. Along with the first G.T. 500 fastback,
this trio (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.
At Shelby American,
the convertible received sequence number 0139, was designated a "company
car," and like all early-built '67 Shelby cars, was
upgraded with the same off-the-shelf parts, including
fiberglass, inboard headlights, emblems & stripes.
With plans for a
mid-year '67 convertible cancelled by Ford, the only
convertible delivered was promptly claimed by Carroll Shelby as his own "personal driver."
with his former employees indicate the convertible was often
being driven by "Patricia" who worked for Shelby
in the upstairs executive offices at the L.A. facility (she was the
originally the receptionist at the Venice shop).
four months later, the convertible was was re-purposed for
use as a '68 styling and photographic car.
With Ford'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 installed the
fiberglass components and began extensively photographing the convertible
at numerous California locations. These photos were printed
in brochures, magazine ads and dealer
literature that was used to promote the upcoming 1968 model year
Shelby G.T. cars.
Nearly half a
century passed since this unique G.T. 500
convertible first rolled-off Ford's assembly line.
After several years
of researching and documenting this convertible's special history,
Jason Billups was entrusted to perform the Concours-correct restoration
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 when
the legendary Carroll Shelby first sat behind the wheel in