Drop-Top KR! 1968 Shelby GT500KR

You might say an original, never-restored Shelby in this condition sells itself. Nevertheless, the listing for this 1968 Shelby GT500KR (King of the Road) in Tifton, Georgia includes numerous pictures and a decent description here on Hemmings. Ironically I’m writing about this sweet GT500KR at 75 MPH in another Ford KR, the 2017 Ford F250 King Ranch, a vehicle that couldn’t be further from the Shelby except for sharing a position at the top of its respective food chain. In addition to the original paint on this GT500KR, you can impress your friends with the original tires! They’re too deteriorated for driving but included for show purposes. If a prime rare-among-rare classic would complete your collection, this one can be yours for $299,995 “negotiable.” Thanks to reader Boot for spotting this highly original Shelby.

Showing up with Ford’s new 428 Cobra Jet in 1968 was like carrying a roll of quarters to a bar fight. Making 335 HP on paper, the hot CJ makes over 400 on modern dynamometer pulls.

Early Shelby Mustangs fulfilled one mission:  road racing prowess. By 1968 Carroll Shelby realized selling the idea of racing meant more to most buyers than being able to slap a number on the door and compete. And while you’re at it, why not rub the Shelby magic on a convertible?

Tasteful wood grain nicely breaks up the all-black interior. That cheesy automatic shifter completes the story of how the Shelby evolved from a hard-edged street-legal track weapon to the top trim level for Mustang buyers with unlimited budgets. Still, when it comes to ’68 Pony-car convertibles, this really is the King of the Road.

“Shelby” script, custom nose and tail treatment, and other changes made this KR more than a suspension-tweaked Mustang. Just like in ’68, a Shelby convertible makes a fun way to show off for your golfing buddies, but let’s hope this one gets wrung out once in a while when it’s in between trophy-collecting opportunities and long periods of climate-controlled storage. I followed a 390-powered ’68 Mustang GT around Road America years ago and this 428 probably sounds even more angry and impressive. For more information on how the 428 changed the muscle landscape at Ford, check out the links on this 428 Mustang we covered recently. Don’t miss the killer video of a drag-race 428 Mustang ripping down the 1320. Pure symphony! Would you wager this Shelby’s fire-breathing 428 will ever spin more than 2500 RPM?

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Comments

  1. cold340t

    Summer 1972, my dad and I go to Golden Bear Ford in Berkeley on University ave. I’m 7yrs old. We roll out in a Blue KR500 convertible. We get home. I’m leaning on the roll bar as Dad tries to convince my mom that this is our new car. She says NO! My Dad had never listened to her about cars before or since. We drive back to Golden Bear and come home. This time in a PINTO WAGON! Still hurts to this day.

    Like 22
  2. Steveo

    “Honey! Look what I traded the house for.”

    Like 9
  3. Troy s

    2500 rpm, 1500, idling…. not without fresh tires if the purpose is to drive. Museum piece really.
    I dont know, the automatic transmission works fine with the 428 engine. Not a road racer but more of a high profile straight line screamer. King of the Road!! Yeah, okay.

    Like 5
  4. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Good job Todd. Nice to see an unrestored Shelby in very good shape. I liked your comment about the “idea” of racing being part of the marketing. I think the same thing today when I see a twentysomething with an offroad-capable, yet pristine, new Jeep. The same marketing idea is central to the marketing for the upcoming Bronco (and, to some degree, the Bronco Sport).

    I know your KR does not have BlueCruise (Ford’s autopilot system), so I’m hoping someone else was driving while you wrote…..

    Like 5
    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Thank you Bob_in_TN. I was definitely NOT typing and driving, though we did pass a woman driving a FedEx tractor-trailer weaving around as she looked at a laptop or some kind of screen while wearing headphones with a microphone attached. I’m not a fan of technologies that enable distracted driving. Be careful out there!

      Like 6
  5. Howie Mueler

    Yes what a beauty, but i don’t think they bring that much even at big time auctions.

    Like 4
  6. DSteele

    I love it, BUT its a automatic and I like rowing my cars around this planet

    Like 4
  7. Bill McCoskey

    In the late 1970s, near the former C&P Telephone headquarters building on US route 29 in Silver Spring, MD, I found an exact copy of this car in a garage, attached to a dilapidated house. The homeowners, an elderly couple, said the car had belonged to their son, who had died not long after purchasing it. They simply would not sell the car. It was their connection to the departed son. Turns out I wasn’t the only gearhead who had “found” the car, multiple car guys in the area knew about it.

    About 5 years later, the house was gone, and a development of town houses was quickly filling up the landscape. Until I read about this red car, I had not thought about the one I saw some 40+ years ago. I’m kind of curious if this might be the same car.

    Like 1

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