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 1967 Shelby G.T. 500 Convertible


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Home » Research » Interviews » Jim Frank
The Shelby American, Issue #49 - "Cobrasations" (1986)

Jim Frank, Peter Sheir, Cecil Mackinnon
Behind the scenes at Shelby Automotive

Download the entire interview (pages 12-17)

In February 1967, Jim began working as a Development Engineer at Shelby American. He reported to Fred Goodell. The following paragraphs about the 1967 Convertible Engineering Car appeared in Issue #49 (1986) of The Shelby American.

SAAC: There was one convertible made in 1967, a prototype [67413C9A00139]. Do you remember anything about that?
Jim Frank: Sure. We built the damned thing and it got stolen almost immediately! This was actually the first 1968 model made - it was a prototype made from a 1967 Mustang chassis but was built to '68 specs - more or less - and had '68 fiberglass which we made in some temporary molds that were thrown together out there. It was the only one like it in the world.

It was, of course, an engineering car and we ran on the system that anyone could drive an engineering car who got to it first. We had a visiting engineer who was from Argentina, I think, and he was out there doing some consulting with us, on remittance from Ford. He took it home one night and parked it under the carport at his apartment and it got stolen.

We got it back about a week later; it was found in the Palos Verdes hills and everything had been stripped out of it: the carburetor and intake manifold were gone, the wheels and tires - anything shiny had been taken off of it.

We were also fortunate enough to obtain an audio recording of the relevant portion of the interview and we've done our best to transcribe it. Listen to the actual audio recording of this portion of the interview

SAAC: December 9, today, Jack (?), Ron Mack, John Johnson and I’m Allen (?) and myself, (Bill?) and we’re talking to Pete Sheir. Pete, what was your classification at Shelby when you worked there?
Pete: (unintelligible)
Jim: He was our best mechanical, quite frankly. (More unintelligible).
SAAC: This was at AO Smith?
Jim: No, Shelby. We were separate entities, they were a subcontractor to us and did the assembly, and we theoretically did all the engineering work in what is now the (Cage C Hall ?) down here. It was a former Buick agency, so it had lifts and what not, and we had, uh, 3 or 4 offices, a couple of drafting tables and – how many lifts did we have? – about 4 lifts? Other space to work, and we did some experimental, and development work there.
SAAC: And what is your name?
Jim: Oh, I’m Jim Frank, and I was the development engineer for Shelby. There was the chief engineer, Fred Goodell. Uh, Ray Rosic(sp?) was an engineer, and I was (#3 in the group). Only 3 people were titled engineer. So far as I know, Rosic? was the only one who had a degree.
SAAC: And you came from the plant in California.
Jim: I came from them in California. I went to work for them in Feb 67, and got transferred out here, when they moved the production of the Shelby Mustangs to Ionia.
SAAC: Do you know about the time of the production year? (cuts out)
Jim: (cuts in) They were a little bit better.
SAAC: What about the in ’67, there was a proto convertible? Did you hear anything about that?
Jim: Sure, they built the damn thing and it got stolen almost immediately.
SAAC: that car still exists.
?: There were two of them. But that car that does exists is in Chicago and has been rebuilt as a ’68.
Jim: It was a, the first one we built, um, was of course an engineering car. And they ran on a system that anybody could drive the first engineering car if they got to it at night and said "keys!" (Laughter) And we had a sort of a visiting engineer who was an (Argentinean) if I’m not mistaken. And he was out there doing some consulting with us or (?) from Ford, and he took it one night and parked it in the, parked it in the carport at his apartment. It got stolen. We got it back about a week later it was on down in the Palos Verdes Hills, and of course everything had been stripped: the manifold, the carburetor... (cuts out)
SAAC: ... (cuts in) got a 302?
Jim: This was not a ’67, it was never built as a ’67. It was built as a ’68, it was a prototype of a ’68 production.
Pete? It was built on a ’67 chassis.
Jim: Oh, a '67 chassis yeah. It was a '67 Chassis.
? (unintelligible)
Jim: it was never, it was never built, it was never built originally ’67, it was built as a prototype '68.
? Was it a prototype '67 or '68?
Jim: No, It had '68 glass or close to it. It was made in some temporary molds that was thrown together out there.
? it never had ’67 glass?
Jim: No.
SAAC: Ok, then if that car is real (unintelligible), that explains the car. The car had a '67 VIN but it looks like a '68. '68 glass. The present owner, I think he thinks, that it was built, it was originally a '67 convertible.
Jim: No, he’s got a '67 chassis, '68 glass. And it was put together that way. But it was the only car like it in the world, and then it got stolen (laughter). No, it was absolutely the only one. It was the first one we built, and it was done for a week, and we got it back (unintelligible) tires.


See Also: Fred Goodell Interview Carroll Shelby Interview Vehicle Information Provided by the CSF,  Comparing the Interviews and CSF Vehicle Information, Theft Repair Invoice



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