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 1967 Shelby G.T. 500 Convertible

 

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  Original documents, photographs and advertising materials were collected and analyzed, a timeline was constructed to help chronicle the 1967 G.T. 500 Convertible and other important vehicles and events surrounding the 1967 Shelby Program.

The 1967 Shelby G.T. Convertible was assigned serial number 0139 and also referenced by 062, its Shelby American company car inventory number.

Click here (or anywhere on the timeline graphic) to open a larger, legible version of the graphic.

1967 Shelby Program Timeline

 

April 1966

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May 1966

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29 30 31
 

June 1966

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 1  2  3  4
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July 1966

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August 1966

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14 15 16 17 18 19 20
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28 29 30 31
 


September 1966

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11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30
 


October 1966

 S  M  T  W  T  F  S
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 2  3  4  5  6  7  8
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16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31
 


November 1966

 S  M  T  W  T  F  S
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27
28 29 30
 


December 1966

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11 12 13 14 15 16 17

18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
 


January 1967

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15 16 17 18 19 20 21
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February 1967

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12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28
 


March 1967

 S  M  T  W  T  F  S
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19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

 


April 1967

 S  M  T  W  T  F  S
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 2  3  4  5  6  7  8
 9
10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30
 


May 1967

 S  M  T  W  T  F  S
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14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25
26 27
28 29 30 31

 


June 1967

 S  M  T  W  T  F  S
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18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30

 


July 1967

 S  M  T  W  T  F  S
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 2  3  4  5  6 
7  8
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16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31

 


August 1967

 S  M  T  W  T  F  S
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13 14 15 16 17
18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25
26
27 28 29 30 31

 

Legend:
|   | = Work in Progress
|   | = Original '67 Styling
|   | = Updated '68 Styling

April 1966
Apr. 13: Toward the end of '66 production, Shelby American orders four 1966 G.T. 350 Convertibles.
June 1966
Jun. 07:  Shelby American staff meeting minutes refer to the four 1966 G.T. 350 convertibles, which were received a day earlier, as 'experimental.'  This document confirms Shelby's plan to offer a mid-model year (1967-1/2) convertible G.T.
August 1966
Aug. 08-10: Shelby places the first batch of orders (DSOs), #2501-2512, with FoMoCo for '67 model year cars. The 1967 Convertible's DSO is 71-2512

Aug. 11: DSO 71-2512 for the 1967 Convertible (0139) was accepted and signed-off off by Ford Special Vehicle Team.

Aug. 12: DSO 71-2512 for 1967 Convertible (0139) stamped "RECEIVED" by Ford.

Aug. 16: Order for 1967 Convertible (0139) keyed into Ford's computer system.

Aug. 18: 1967 Model year Mustang production begins at Ford's San Jose (Milpitas, CA) Plant.
September 1966
Sep. 01: The first G.T., a 350 (#0176) is built at Ford's San Jose plant.

With two Mustang fastbacks provided by Ford, Paul Kunysz, Lonnie Brannon and team build two proof-of-concept '67 Fastback prototypes for Ford's approval: a red GT500 and a lime gold GT350. The red G.T. 500 is 67ST102 (a.k.a. the "MTU Prison Car"), and the green G.T. 350 is believed to be #0176.

Sep. 23: Second G.T. 350 is assembled by Ford's San Jose plant (#0056).

Sep. 27: Third G.T. 350 is assembled by Ford's San Jose plant (#0057).

Sep. 30: Letter from Frank Martin to Paul Kunysz commending him for his hard work and involvement in building the two '67 fastback concept cars (67ST102 and #0176).

October 1966

1967 G.T. production begins at Shelby American, Los Angeles, CA with the first batches of Mustang G.T. 350 cars delivered.

Oct. 01: The first production '67 G.T. 350 Fastback is completed by Shelby American and assigned s/n 0176.

Unfortunately, fiberglass fitment, supply issues, and financial problems plague the '67 operation from the start.  Due to these "launch problems" Ford Motor Company steps in and takes control.  Ford dispatches Ray Geddes to run purchasing and inserts Fred Goodell as Chief Engineer.  Ford also turns to A.O. Smith Plastics "in an emergency fashion" to help solve the fiberglass issues.

November 1966
Nov. 01: Fastback (#0100) serialized at Ford
(VIN: 7R02S132***) 7 - 1967, R - San Jose
02 - Mustang Fastback.

Nov. 01: Convertible (#0139) serialized at Ford
(VIN: 7R03S133***), 7 – 1967, R – San Jose,
03 – Mustang Convertible

Nov. 02: Coupe (#0131) serialized at Ford
(VIN: 7R01S133***), 7 – 1967, R – San Jose,
01 – Mustang Coupe

Nov. 07: G.T. 500 Fastback (#0100) completed two weeks ahead of schedule by Ford's San Jose plant.

Nov. 08: G.T. 500 Coupe (#0131) completed a week ahead of by Ford's San Jose plant.

Nov. 08: G.T. 500 Fastback (#0100) "released" to Shelby American, Inc., 6501 W. Imperial Hwy, Los Angeles, CA 90009.

Nov. 08: Order for G.T. 500 Fastback (#0463) keyed into Ford's computer system.

Nov. 10: 1967 G.T. 350 / G.T. 500 "launch event" at dealerships nationwide. Unfortunately, no G.T. 500 cars were finished yet, so only about 68 G.T. 350 cars were shipped to dealers nationwide.

Nov. 21: Convertible (#0139) completed (a week behind schedule) by Ford's San Jose plant. The convertible was originally scheduled to be built on the 14th.

Nov. 23: Fastback (#0463) serialized at Ford
(VIN: 7R02Q146***) 7 - 1967, R - San Jose
02 - Mustang Fastback.

Nov. 25: Convertible (#0139) "released" to Shelby American, Inc., 6501 W. Imperial Hwy, Los Angeles, CA 90009.

December 1966
Dec. 07: Date that Shelby American deemed the Convertible (#0139) completed -- only '67 Shelby upgrades would have been available.

Convertible (0139) claimed by Carroll Shelby as his "personal driver."

Bob Carlson, Sales Manager at High Performance Motors, recalls Carroll Shelby driving-up in the red G.T. 500 convertible (#0139). "It caused a bunch of excitement and everyone in the dealership came outside and gathered around the new '67 GT convertible to get a closer look."

January 1967

Jan. 03: Coupe (#0131) reportedly makes appearance at Los Angeles Auto Expo

Jan. 03: Fastback (#0463) completed nearly a month late by Ford's San Jose plant. This Fastback was scheduled to be built on 12/05/1966.

Jan. 06: Fastback (#0463) "released" to Shelby American, Inc., 6501 W. Imperial Hwy, Los Angeles, CA 90009.

Jan. 27: "G.W. Nuznoff," the SAI employee that started placing orders before Ford took control, is allowed to re-assume the role of orders cars, though his name now appears as "J. Nuznoff" going forward. The late January (1/27/1967) Ford Special Order forms, beginning with DSO 84-2579 weren't received until February.

February 1967
Jim Frank hired and begins work at Shelby American with the title of "Development Engineer." Jim reports to chief engineer, Fred Goodell.

Due to continued production delays, extensive warranty problems, financial woes, and reduced public interest, Ford makes the decision to postpone the mid-year Coupe and Convertible body styles until the following year.

March 1967

Mar. 20: Marking an early end to 1967 model year production, Shelby American places the last orders (DSOs 2603- 2614) with Ford for 1967 G.T. vehicles. These 12 DSO were all accepted Mar. 28 and stamped received on Mar. 31 1967. 

Mar. 28: Date code found on Seat Load Deflection Data Tags. Ref: Seat Tags Scanned Image. Both the convertible (0139) and the Coupe (#0131) were fitted with black Connolly Leather "Show Car" seats.

Mar. 31: 1967 G.T. Convertible (#0139) listed on Shelby American, Inc. Federal Excise Tax and California Use Tax on Company Vehicles for Quarter Ended March 31, 1967.

The last Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster is built.

With FoMoCo's updated designs, A.O. Smith Plastics fabricates and ships '68 styled fiberglass components "to modify two cars for photographic purposes." The hand-built fiberglass parts included two hoods, front-ends, tail light panels and  center consoles. According to the VanAkin Letter (page 2, item #4), the dollar amount for this work was nearly $14,800 (about $7,400 per car). For three pieces of fiberglass and a console, that's nearly twice the cost of the car that the parts were fitted to!
 

April 1967

With the '68-styled fiberglass received from A.O. Smith Plastics, two Shelby American company cars were re-purposed as "1968 Photographic Cars" to be used for marketing and public relations events. The only convertible on-hand was #0139 and the January-built #0463 was chosen for the Fastback.

The Fastback (#0463), originally painted Lime Gold, was repainted Acapulco Blue after being updated. All photos of the Fastback are with it wearing Acapulco Blue paint.

The updated convertible (#0139) was taken to Malibu Beach. Photos taken from this iconic shoot later appeared on the cover of the tri-fold dealer brochure, and then in the first color print ad in Nov-1967 (the rocker stripes, fender badges and fuel filler cap were later 'airbrushed' on the published photos).

The two photographic cars, the convertible (#0139) and the fastback (#0463) are also photographed together at the LAX facility with Carroll Shelby and at the base of the San Jacinto mountain range for some off-road action shots.

According to interviews of Jim Frank, Fred Goodell, Carroll Shelby & a Theft Repair Invoice, the convertible (#0139), shortly after being transformed into a "1968 Photographic Car," was apparently borrowed without permission, reported "stolen" by the staff and then "returned" a few days later." In a 2003 interview, Carroll Shelby revealed that the convertible (#0139) wasn't really stolen -- that the reported theft was merely the "public story." He refused to give further details and stated "It's better to let a sleeping dog lie." Other information from the Carroll Shelby Foundation indicated that some form of "compensation was tendered" for the convertible's return.
 

May 1967
Shelby American reportedly replaces "missing" parts from the reported April theft of convertible (#0139). Strangely, the itemization of parts replaced looks strikingly similar to the 'shopping list' of parts required to update the convertible for the '68 photo shoots. Ref: Theft Repair Invoice.

Convertible (#0139) is repainted Wimbledon White and is photographed at Shelby American's LAX facility. The Fastback (#0463) is photographed along with Shelby's corporate jet.

The convertible (#0139) and the Fastback (#0463) are taken to the Hollywood Park horse track for another photo-shoot. These photographs would be included with the press kit handed out at the Long Lead Technical Conference held at Riverside International Raceway in early July.

May 26: Six months after taking control over ordering and engineering, Ford, still unable to make the Shelby Program profitable, decided to terminate the Shelby American operation.

June 1967
1968 styling details and assembly engineering drawings are finalized.

Jun. 10-11: Carroll Shelby and the Holman & Moody group deliver the ultimate victory to Ford at the 1967 24 hours of Le Mans (35th Grand Prix of Endurance).

Motor Trend Magazine, in their 'As Rumor Has it' section,  prints "Shelby-American will have a convertible in '68 . . . True ­ Shelby was shorting himself, perhaps on the premise that converts account for only 16% of Mustang sales. What he should have looked at was his direct competition, Corvette, which runs 31.3% with its ragtops." -- Obviously this reporter leaked the news ahead of time, and never knew that Shelby actually intended to introduce a convertible as a 1967-1/2  model. [ref: June '66 staff meeting minutes]

Jun. 14: "1968 Shelby GT Front End Assembly Drawing". The blueprint showed the finalized 4-piece fiberglass components.

Jun. 20: Repairs of Convertible (#0139) "Stolen and Returned" are billed to Zurich American insurance company. [Ref: Shelby American, Inc. Invoice #5040]

Both '68-styled photographic cars, the convertible (0139) and the fastback (0463), receive updated (version 2) ornamentation on the glove box, fuel filler cap,  and fenders.  Rocker stripes were also updated prior to the car's appearance at next month's LLTC.  Photos show that the Convertible (#0139) also received an updated roll-bar.

Jun. 30: The end of Shelby American's fiscal year. The Shelby Program suffered approximately a $764,000 loss in FY-1967.

July 1967
Jul. 06: Press release (with media blackout until Oct-3) is handed-out at the Long Lead Technical Conference (LLTC) during the Ford and Shelby Performance Show being held at the Riverside International Raceway July 6-7. The press kit includes four photos and details of the upcoming '68 Shelby vehicles, including the blue fastback (#0463) and white convertible (#0139). Both cars were also present for members of the press to drive and photograph.

Jul. 10: The two '68 photographic cars are taken out to Idyllwild, California for another photo shoot. Both cars are photographed at no less than three different locations in Idyllwild.

Jul. 12: Date of North American Program of Racing and Related Activities for the Model Years 1968-1970 presentation. This document includes a P&L summary of the '65-'67 Shelby Program.

Jul. 17: Date of 1968 Fiberglass 'Panel, Assembly-Hood' engineering drawing by A.O. Smith Corporation.

Jul. 31: Convertible (0139) listed on Shelby American, Inc. Vehicle Fixed Asset Ledger – Auto Division as of 1967-Jul-31.
 

Aug, 1967
1967 Shelby Coupe "Little Red" (#0131) reportedly shown at a sporting event at Los Angeles Coliseum.

Aug. 02: Task List regarding A.O. Smith & Ford [handwritten]

Aug. 04: Last '67 Mustang built at San Jose assembly plant.

Aug. 10: Due date for convertible top boot to be modified by local trim ship. Ref: Ionia Move Documents - Jobs Yet to be Completed in CA

Aug. 14: Due date for Convertible's (#0139) sample production roll bar. Ref: Ionia Move Documents - Jobs Yet to be Completed in CA

Aug. 15: Print (Lithograph) date of '68 Shelby Cobra GT 350/500 Tri-Fold Dealer Brochure. The disguised convertible (#0139) graced the cover.

Aug. 18: Convertible (#0139), referenced by inventory number 062, along with other engineering cars, are "disposed of" by means of shipping them to FoMoCo in Dearborn. Ref: Ionia Move Documents - Disposal of Prototypes. Most engineering cars were shipped on 8/18 (arriving by 8/25). Ref: Ionia Move Documents - Relocation Dates

Aug. 31: Shelby American's lease for their Los Angeles Airport facility is terminated, pursuant to Ford's decision to end the Shelby Program.

September 1967

Production of the ’68 Shelby Mustang moves to Ionia, MI,
under contract with the A.O. Smith Plastics Corporation.

The Shelby Automotive, Inc. company is formed in Ionia, MI, with a small staff made up of former employees of California-based Shelby American, Inc. They would be 'consulting' on the 'Shelby project,' but no longer hands-on. A number of documents we've found seem to tell the story of a contentious relationship between A.O. Smith Plastics and Shelby Automotive.

1968 model-year Mustang production begins at Ford.

1968 Shelby Dealer Promotion Handbook printed (lithographed) and distributed to Shelby dealer network. The Convertible (0139), disguised and photographed back in May, graces the cover of this publication.
 

October 1967
Oct. 05-15: The 54th Annual Pairs Automobile Show takes place. Ford sent a gold G.T. 350 Fastback overseas to the show. [Ref: VanAkin letter]

The first four ’68 model-year Shelby cars sent to Ford’s engineering department.

Oct. 24: Activities by Shelby Automotive [handwritten]

First print ads showing the 1968 Shelby G.T. 500 cars appear in the November issues of Car Life, Playboy and Road & Track magazines. The convertible pictured in the ads was the 1967 Convertible (#0139) that had been updated to look like a 1968 model. Photos were taken between May 67 and July 1967.

Oct-Nov: Nationwide strike at the Ford Motor Company temporarily halts production of vehicles.

Oct-Dec: The 1967 Coupe (0131) "Little Red" was air-shipped to Dearborn at the request of Henry Ford II. This car was originally supposed to remain with Carroll Shelby in California per handwritten notes.
 

November 1967
Nov. 08: Memo from Shelby Automotive to A.O. Smith

Regular production of 1968 model year Shelby vehicles begins.

Shelby American Racing moves from the Los Angeles Airport facility to a new location in Torrance, California.
 

December 1967
Dec. 08: A.O. Smith sends three page letter to Ken VanAkin, Senior Buyer at Ford, requesting reimbursement for engineering expenses incurred throughout the 1967 Shelby Program.
 
1968

March: A G.T. Convertible, painted Acapulco Blue, first appears in print advertisement. It is unknown if the blue convertible is #0139, repainted a third time, or a production ’68 model year car. The car's stripes, rocker mouldings, wheel covers and antenna location appear to be production, though the roll-bar looks non-production).

April: Shelby Automotive purchases a stock Mustang coupe with 390 cu.in. engine. This car is used to test Conolec fuel injection and  experiment with an independent rear suspension setup. Eventually, the Coupe receives some spare '68 styled Shelby fiberglass, gets painted a special metallic Green, receives a black vinyl roof and is nicknamed the "Green Hornet." The car never receives a Shelby VIN.

September: 1969 Mustang production begins at Ford

November: 1969 Shelby Mustang production begins
 

1969
Jan. 24: No 1967 convertible is listed on the Shelby Automotive Engineering Vehicles list, dated January 24, 1969. That leads us to conclude that the convertible (#0139) would have been sold through Ford'sEmployee and Auction Resale Lot (the "B-Lot") before this date.

September: The Shelby Mustang project is terminated as sales slow dramatically. The leftover '69 models are updated to '70 specifications and production ends.

December: Shelby Automotive Racing Company closes
 

1971
The 390-cu.in. equipped '68 Mustang Coupe formerly nicknamed "The Green Hornet" by Shelby Automotive, is purchased for $3,000 from Ford's Employee and Auction Resale Lot (the "B-Lot") in Dearborn. The buyer was Robert Zadnowski, a Ford employee and the yard supervisor.
 
1977 - 1997
Nov. 1976 - The convertible (#0139), still disguised with '68 styled fiberglass, is offered for sale in the Chicago Tribune's classified ad section.  The ad reads:
          _____________________________
          Shelby - '68. GT 500 Conv. 428
          lk new eng. top and tires.
          Must sell immed. $4000/offer 392-0571
          _____________________________

Jan. 8, 1977 - Convertible (#0139) is purchased by Donald Neil Osbjornson of Lake Forest, IL. This is the furthest back that we've been able to trace the car's ownership history to. When acquired by Osbjornson, the convertible was painted Acapulco Blue, had a rear-mounted antenna and had steel wheels with 1970-styled Ford center caps.  Osbjornson's first order of business was to change out the wheels, and replace the well-worn driver's seat with one from a '68 he found at a nearby junkyard.

Aug. 20, 1978: Convertible (#0139) is purchased by Jamie Ventrella of Northfield, IL. It was Ventrella that originally suspected that the convertible was actually a 1967 model year vehicle due to all the '67 parts and other 'fingerprints.'

Ventrella repaints convertible its original color of Candyapple Red.

Jul. 1, 1983: Convertible (#0139) shown by James Ventrella for first time at first SAAC convention in Dearborn. Shelby experts did not believe the car was real (and this is understandable because they didn't have any of the Shelby American paperwork at the time).

Dec. 16, 1985: Frustrated at the lack of acceptance of the car from the Shelby community, Ventrella begrudgingly sells the convertible to his friend, Richard Kot.

1986: The Shelby American interviews Jim Frank for "Cobrasations," issue #49. The convertible (#0139) is discussed.

1988: The Shelby American interviews Fred Goodell for "Cobrasations," issue #53. The convertible (#0139) is discussed.

Jul. 1989: Dave Mathews authenticates the convertible's hidden Ford VIN at SAAC 14 held in Pocono, PA.

Jul. 14, 1997: Richard Kot offers car for sale at SAAC #22

2001 - 2007
Feb. 03, 2001: Richard Kot forced to sell convertible (0139) due to divorce proceedings. Mrs. Kot contacts Volo Auto Museum about the value of a "1967 Shelby Convertible Prototype."

2001: Volo Auto Museum acquires the convertible (#0139) from the public auction.

2001-2003: Brian Grams begins research effort during cosmetic restoration of the Convertible (#0139). He makes the decision to restore the car with 1967 Shelby styling due to his discoveries of telltale '67 features found when car was taken down.

Dec. 04, 2003: Carroll Shelby interviewed by Donn Gurney in reference to the convertible (#0139). As part of the interview, the Carroll Shelby Foundation also provides detailed vehicle information and an authentication letter

Mar. 27, 2007: Dana Mecum acquires the convertible (#0139) from Volo Auto Museum in a seven-figure trade deal.
 

2009 - Present
May 17, 2009: Styles acquires the convertible (#0139) from Dana Mecum and begins the research phase of this project.

Feb. 2010: With a team of experts assembled, the physical restoration of the convertible (#0139) begins. The decision was made to restore it to the "earliest known point as a Shelby." Given the research, photographs and lack of an accurate timeline, the car was restored to its mid-1967 role as a "1968 photographic car."

Nov. 19, 2011: Public unveiling of the restored convertible (#0139) at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Rosemont, IL.

Jun. 1, 2012: Convertible (#0139) shown at Ford Nationals at Carlisle, PA. The car is displayed in prestigious invitation-only T-building.

Jun. 8, 2012: Convertible (#0139) shown at SAAC-37 held in Watkins Glen, NY, where the car was judged and awarded "Gold - Division II."

Jun. 22, 2012: Convertible (#0139) displayed in Marriott (host hotel) lobby at Mid-America Ford and Team Shelby Meet in Tulsa, OK. The car was judged and awarded Heritage Gold.

Jul. 30, 2012: Convertible (#0139) invited and shown at Concours d'Elegance of America, held at the Inn at St. Johns, in Plymouth, MI. Styles presented with Lee Iacocca Award.

Apr. 27, 2013: The convertible (#0139) appeared on Spike TV's PowerBlock show hosted by Courtney Hansen.  [Magazine & Video clips] (Filming took place in March 2013 in Nashville, TN)

May 5, 2013: Convertible (#0139) invited to Concours d'Elegance of Texas (Houston) where it was judged and awarded Best in Class - The Cars of Carroll Shelby.

Jul. 6, 2013: The two '68 styling & photographic cars, the Convertible (#0139) and fastback (#0463), are reunited at SAAC-38, held in Riverside, California. This is the first time in 46 years that the two cars have been photographed together.

Jul. 20, 2013: Convertible (#0139) invited to Keeneland Concours d'Elegance, in Keeneland, KY where it was judged and received two class awards, including 1st place by the junior judges and 2nd place by the class judges.

Oct. 4, 2013: Convertible (#0139) invited to the Louisville Concours d'Elegance, where it was judged and awarded Best in Class.

Apr. 17, 2014: Convertible (#0139) displayed in the 50 Rare Cars exhibit at the Mustang 50th Anniversary event held at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC.

May 16, 2014: Convertible (#0139) displayed at annual Indiana regional SAAC convention.

May 25, 2014: Convertible (#0139) sent to Billups Classic Cars for a re-restoration to the highest Concours standards.

Oct. 05, 2014: Convertible (#0139) invited to and shown at the French Lick Concours d'Elegance where it was awarded Best in Class.

Jan. 11, 2015: Convertible (#0139) invited to and displayed in a special VIP showcase at the Palm Beach Supercar Week.

Mar. 22, 2015: Convertible (#0139) invited to and displayed at The Palm Event, held on the grounds of Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, FL.

Mar. 20, 2016: Convertible (#0139) invited to and displayed at The Miami Beach Concours were it was awarded best American Muscle Car 1953-1967.

Nov. 19, 2016: "The Cars of Carroll Shelby" invitational display at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Rosemont, IL.

Mar. 2017: Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance (tentative).


 


 

 

 

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