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Home » FAQ » Why Was The 1967 Convertible Not Destroyed?

 

 

Why was the 1967 convertible (0139) not "destroyed" per Ford's policy?

There are two parts to this answer. The first deals with the timeline, and the second deals with the terminology and probability.

Until early 2009, it was theorized that the theft of the car somehow disrupted that process. This theory is present in the authentication letter from Carroll Shelby and was echoed in the various stories that have been published about Car 0139. In mid-2009 the Theft Repair Invoice was uncovered and we were able to fill in some missing pieces of the vehicle's timeline

We now know the reported 'theft' took place in April 1967 -- well before the car was photographed for print ads and well before the convertible made its appearance at Long Lead Technical Conference held at Riverside Raceway on July 6, 1967. It would be absolutely foolish to think that a styling prototype would be destroyed before it was ever photographed or seen by members of the press.

In addition, the car wasn't really stolen - it was 'borrowed without permission' and then 'returned' all within a week. One week, let alone a couple months isn't a long enough period of time to disrupt the destruction process.

Regardless, I am not sure who first introduced the term 'destruction' or introduced the theory that the convertible would have been 'destroyed' (crushed) per Ford's standard policy for prototype vehicles. Based on the handwritten Ionia move planning notes, the only term used by Shelby personnel when referencing what to do with this and other engineering/PR cars was simply "disposal." The term "destruction" was never used on any original Shelby American documentation uncovered to this day.

"Disposal" could mean destruction, as would probably be the case for cars with highly modified engines, suspensions or experimental technology like Little Red's twin supercharger setup. It makes sense to destroy a highly modified vehicle to guarantee that it never would end up in private ownership and get used on a public roadway (which would be a big liability to the automaker).

It is our belief that when Shelby American employees used the term disposal, they most likely meant that Shelby was disposing of the car by means of shipping it to Ford to do with it what they felt was  appropriate. Thus 'disposal' was a generic term used by Shelby.

It would also be safe to surmise that  "disposal" could also mean that the car could be sold on Ford's Employee Resale/Auction Lot -- a practice which Ford regularly did with unmodified special-tasked vehicles (like the 12 1964 Mustangs used on the Skyway ride of the World's Fair). After all, car 0139 was merely a stock production-line 1967 Q-code Shelby GT 500 with updated '68 fiberglass, safety features (including reflectors, seat belts, roll-bar), a console and woodgrain appliqué - why destroy it when you can safely sell it?

When asked why the car wasn't destroyed, Fred Goodell's 1988 explanation was that the "penny-pinching controller" may have been the reason that the car still existed.
 

 

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