When it comes to classic Ford Mustangs, those made in the ’60s are the most revered in American muscle car history. 1967 was the first year there was a Shelby Ford Mustang GT500, a car that was built to be a step up from the legendary but now discontinued Shelby GT350. But, when the unplanned 1967 Shelby Super Snake Ford Mustang got built, it obliterated it in terms of performance. And it wasn’t even the first car to be called a Super Snake, there was already a 1966 Shelby Cobra named Super Snake.
Today the same ford car keeps smashing all Mustang sales records. It surely is the Mustang collectors dream car but many will be surprised that its original price of $8,000 was so high in the ’60s that it didn’t find an immediate buyer. After spending some time on display in Ford’s Mel Burns showroom in California, it eventually got sold for even less. A few new continuation models of the ’67 Super Snake got unveiled at Carroll Shelby International in Gardena, California in 2018, but it’s the original one-off prototype that carries the legacy to date.
Here are facts we gathered that might have been forgotten about the 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake Ford Mustang, these 10 are what made it a crown jewel among the many Shelby-tuned cars over the years.
10 Only The Original 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake Is Still In Existence
You read that right, there is only a single 1967 prototype in existence. Chief Engineer Fred Goodell chose a white Ford Mustang GT500 (serial number 67402F4A00544) for the special build. The original 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby Super Snake ended up in the hands of Richard Ellis.
He made a few tweaks and restorations to the car. These included fitting the original set of Goodyear Thunderbolt economy tires, adding a period-correct fire extinguisher, as well as fitting the proper hoses and wires for the GT40 Mk II 427 engine.
9 Inspired By The Legendary GT40 MkII Engine
The Ford GT40 was the car that helped the automaker secure the first overall win for an American Constructor at Le Mans. Ford clinched 1-2-3 in the 1966 Grand Prix of Endurance; there’s even the awesome Ford vs Ferrari movie covering this. What’s more, the Ford GT40 went on to win the next three annual races from 1966.
The Legendary GT40 MkII engine amazed European crowds and shook Ferrari’s racing division to its foundations. Don McCain was quoted having said the engine was “the mother of all 427s at the time.” Everything inside was built to run sustained 6,000 rpm at Le Mans.
8th The 1967 Super Snake Engine
Initially, Don McCain had suggested a 427 cu in V8 capable of 425 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque but Carrol went one better and asked for the racing-spec 427 cu in from the GT40 Mk II program. Under the hood of the one-off 1967, Shelby Super Snake is a V8 built to the same specification as the GT40 MkII.
The ’67 Super Snake even has the same “bundle of snakes” exhaust system and its exterior has three, blue, Le Mans-style racing stripes as the Ford GT40. Only the rear end of the engine and transmission got upgraded.
7 crazy performance
One of Carrol Shelby’s most popular phrases was “My name is Carrol Shelby and performance is my business”. The GT40-style high-output V8 engine performance numbers are nothing to be sniffed at, it was a monster back then managing to run on to a respectable 170 mph.
Its horsepower? There’s a Goodyear promotional video on YouTube where the 1967 Shelby Super Snake is said to have made make 650hp, but the officially confirmed number was 520 hp which was still mind-blowing in the ‘6os. In comparison, a 1967 Shelby GT500, with a 7.0-liter V8 engine could only manage 355 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.
6 Most Expensive Ford Mustang Ever
Originally, the planned ’67 Shelby Super Snake model was deemed unaffordable by Ford for most consumers at the time. Two airline pilots — James Gorman and James Hadden — who were drag racing enthusiasts bought the original for $5,000. The car has since exchanged hands a few times.
Fast forward to 2013, the same car got auctioned for a staggering $1.3 million at Mecum’s Kissimmee (Florida) auction. The price made the 1967 Shelby Super Snake the most expensive Ford Mustang ever (new and auctioned). But that’s not all, when it went under the hammer at the same Mecum Auction in 2019, it sold for $2.2 million. It is still the most expensive Ford Mustang in the world.
5 Built As A Demonstrator For Goodyear Thunderbolt Tires
Shelby American was Goodyear’s Tires West Coast distributor. The tire company had just come up with a new line of economy “Thunderbolt” tires – these were meant for boring family cars. Goodyear contracted Shelby to do a high-speed and much-publicized test for the tires. Carrol wanted to use a car that could beat every GT500 in existence, that’s how the Shelby Super Snake came to be.
The test was conducted at Goodyear’s proving grounds — a five-mile-long oval — in San Angelo, Texas. With Carrol Shelby on the wheel, the nitrogen-inflated tires (for rigidity and to prevent overheating) received some on-track punishment with 150-mph thrill rides. He then handed the car and his helmet over to Fred Godell who did 500 miles at an average of 142 mph. In the end, the test was a success as the 7.75-15 Thunderbolts had survived the torture and retained 97 percent of their original tread .
4 Fitted With Thin & “Mismatched” Tires
One Mustang collector who got to own the 1967 Shelby Super Snake remarked that the car was “way too fast for the technology of the tires it was on” – and it’s true. The white-walled Go0dyear Thunderbolt tires are the skinniest tires ever mounted to a Ford Mustang GT 500. The main reason they weren’t even made in a size appropriate for the Super Snake is that they would mostly end up on station wagons and family sedans .
When Richard Ellis wanted to restore the Super Snake car with the original pieces used for the test (after 35 years), he couldn’t find the original Goodyear ThunderBolt tires anywhere. Luckily, a picker in an East Coast tire warehouse came to his rescue when he chanced upon 10 original Thunderbolts.
3 Never Reached Full-Scale Production
Making just a single unit wasn’t the original plan, it just happens that the full-scale production got canceled. Don McCain had suggested the production of a limited run of 50 1967 Shelby Super Snakes. But with a suggested sticker price of $8,000 (fearsomely expensive in the ’60s), it would have been difficult to get 50 buyers.
For context, a 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500 only went for $4,195. Even the 1967 427 Cobra was more affordable at $7,000. Only the original Super Snake remained.
2 Shelby 1967 Super Snake Continuation Models
The 1967 Super Snake didn’t exist in production form (technically) until 2018 when Shelby American re-introduced it with 10 more units dubbed “Continuation Models”. They are all based on a 1967 Ford Mustang chassis that was donated to inspire engineers in the project. Most of the parts got built by Legendary GT Continuation Cars with their 427 cu in V8 engines beings supplied by Carroll Shelby Engine Co.
The 1967 Super Snake Continuation Models engine churns out over 550 horsepower and is mated to a four-speed manual transmission although some of their engine specs got tweaked to improve driveability. Each of the 10 has both a Shelby serial number as well as Carroll Shelby’s and Don McCain’s signatures created for the original 1967 project.
1 Beats All Classic Ford Mustangs In Terms Of Collectibility
There are many classic Ford Mustangs that collectors dream of owning like the 1965 Shelby GT350, and the 1967 GT500 Eleanor From “Gone In 60 Seconds” which can be bought new. However, the original 1967 Super Snake tops most lists. The reason being it was made as a one-off car.
Only 1 collector will ever get his/her hands on this model when it auctions again, and they will have to fork out millions because of its demand. After selling for $300k more than the Eleanor in 2013, the price of $2.2 million in 2019 elevated it to be the Holy Grail of all Ford Mustangs. That’ price was an appreciation of $200,000 per year!
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