Ever since the 1967
Shelby G.T. 500 Convertible was first discovered by Jamie Ventrella
and later confirmed by SAAC to be the only one built,
it was believed that the convertible's one-off status was
attributable to being a "prototype." That
theory, while plausible, led people to believe that Shelby American was
responsible for designing the '68 Shelby G.T. and that two
1968 G.T. "prototypes," a Fastback and a
Convertible, were built.
After nearly a
decade of research, we can now confirm that this
legacy theory was incorrect.
THESE TWO 1967 SHELBY G.T. CARS
(#0139 and #0463)
WERE NEVER "1968 PROTOTYPES."
In an effort to fix
all the problems associated with the '67 Shelby G.T. design,
It was Ford that actually penned the '68 design and then tasked the
Ionia, MI-based A.O. Smith Plastics to fabricate
two sets of hand-built fiberglass components, including
a front-end, hood, rear tail light panel and center console.
In the spring of 1967, A.O. Smith shipped these
hand-fabricated parts to
item #4 in the VanAkin letter). Shelby
American was not involved with the design or 'prototyping'
of the 1968
model year Shelby G.T. cars.
By the time the
California operation received the parts from A.O. Smith, Ford's '68 design had been
well-finalized. Shelby American was simply tasked with using these
fiberglass components to update/modify two 1967 model year vehicles, a
Fastback and a Convertible, for "photographic purposes." Once updated, the two cars
were taken to
several Southern California locations.
By the time these
cars were unveiled to members of the press at Ford's Long Lead Technical
Conference, on July 7, 1967, Ford had already made the
decision to terminate the California-based
Shelby Program and had formed the new Shelby Automotive
The following are
documents are associated with the 1968 photographic cars: