ford‘s relationship with Carroll Shelby is a well-known story that traces endless circles within the car community. On one hand, you have his racing exploits with the brand but arguably more popular are his achievements when it comes to transforming stock Ford vehicles into high-performance machines with a lot of bite.
The 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 was one of the early results of Carroll Shelby’s tuning magic after a few others like the 1965 Shelby GT350, GT350R, and the ’66 GT350H. It packed significantly more power compared to the regular Mustang but it also emphasized comfort and practicability with features like air conditioning and a roll bar for added safety. Today, a significantly improved modern version exists in the market but here are a few reasons why the 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 will always remain a special vehicle.
10 A Beast Of An Engine
The Shelby GT500 was built around a formidable power plant; one with enough credentials to push the muscle car into the ranks of the elite. The engine was a monster with a displacement of 428 cubic inches. The water-cooled pushrod V8 unit was officially rated at 355 hp at 5,400 rpm and a thumping 4,200 lb-ft of torque from 3,200 rpm though the real-world stats were probably much higher.
Granted, the engine was not as potent as the legendary 427 cubic-inch engines that powered the Ford GT40 cars to victory at the 1966 Le Mans but it still packed enough power to transform the GT500 into a genuine tire shredder.
9 It Was No Slouch
One would expect the Shelby GT500 to be a brisk mover given the type of arsenal at its disposal and yes, it does not disappoint with performance that was close to the fastest muscle cars of that era.
The classic car could go from a standing start to 60 mph in roughly 6.10 seconds if the tires were hooked upright. The quarter-mile sprint can be completed in as little as 14.5 seconds at 101 mph and the car can continue accelerating until it maxed out at a top speed in the 130 mph region. Those are seriously impressive stats for the swinging ’60s.
8th A Class Apart On The Exterior
Carroll Shelby was a master at differentiating his cars and the GT500 was no different. The car started out as a regular Mustang fastback but even the casual observer will quickly notice some of the differences that make the GT500 no ordinary Mustang.
The chrome grille above the bumper is gone, now replaced by other components including a metal bug-strainer and a pair of close-together headlights. There is also a functional scoop that channels air to the dragon beneath the hood. You will find functional scoops along the sides of the car as you move towards the rear where a small ducktail spoiler rounds off the car’s appearance.
7 …And The Interior
The changes continue as you step into the car. The seats, instruments panel, and controls have carried over from the stock Mustang but there are a few other additions. You will notice a proper roll bar to add some rigidity to the car’s structure.
The Shelby GT500 has also gained shoulder straps to supplement the standard lap belts. The steering is wood-rimmed and bears the Shelby emblem just in case you forget where you are though we think that’s hardly possible.
6 A smooth cruiser
For all its macho personality and massive gas-guzzling engine, the Shelby GT500 was a surprisingly easy car to drive. The power steering is a no-cost option and it was quite responsive which is a definite advantage in the 3,000+ pound muscle car.
The acceleration is smooth and steady enough once the engine got past the low revs and the presence of air conditioning, another free option should make for a rather pleasant cruise down the highway.
5 It Was Not Alone
The Shelby GT500 was not Carroll’s only creation for the 1967 model year. In fact, there was another model, the GT350 that existed before the brawny GT500 arrived on the scene.
It was powered by a 289 cubic-inch V8 that generated up to 306 hp at 6,000 rpm and 329 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. It was no road rocket but could still accelerate to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds and complete the quarter mile in 16 seconds at 89 mph.
4 The Unicorn GT500s
A vast majority of the Shelby GT500s were fastbacks; over 99% of them in fact. However, 2 units stood out from the rest. There was a 1967 GT500 convertible that was personally commissioned by Carroll Shelby himself.
The car was not only an engineering test mule but also served as Shelby’s personal car. It was later converted to resemble a 1968 convertible before being used for the 1968 Ford/Shelby Ad campaign. Apart from the convertible, there was also 1 notchback coupe that was used at various times for testing purposes and as a loaner car.
3 Another Unicorn Story
This one is even more special than the rare examples mentioned above. The car in question is the 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake, a car that went on to become one of the most expensive Mustangs ever sold at auction when it changed hands for a cool $2.2 million in January 2019.
Only 1 unit was ever built and it was primarily designed to be a demonstrator for Goodyear Company and its Thunderbolt tire brand. Unlike the ‘regular’ Shelby GT500, this one was powered by the racier 427 cubic-inch engine that made over 500 hp and could push the car to a top speed of about 170 mph.
2 The Revology 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Revology is a Florida-based shop that caters to the specific needs of well-heeled automobile customers. The company designed a modern iteration of the 1967 Shelby GT500 for clients who still desire the elegant lines of the classic car and want to experience one but without the challenges of steering an ancient chassis.
The Revology Shelby GT500 has been vastly upgraded with modern mechanics, creature comforts, and safety equipment that’s at par with the demands of modern-day driving.
1 The Movie Connection
The ‘Eleanor’ Mustang is one of the most iconic movie cars after its depiction in the 2000 Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’. According to reports, 11 Mustangs were built for the movie and they were actually a reinterpretation of the original 1967 Ford Shelby GT500.
The muscle cars were recreated by automotive designers, Steve Stanford and Chip Foose. In January 2020, one of the movie cars went under the hammer at an auction and promptly sold for $1 million.