Never-Restored Shelby! 1968 Shelby Cobra GT350

Imagine the nerve of someone using a Shelby Mustang… as a car! While many Shelby Mustangs have become untouchable lifesize Matchbox cars to be traded by collectors who don’t know a clutch pedal from a rose petal, this 1968 Shelby Cobra GT350 in Carroll Shelby’s own home state of Texas, Brownsville to be exact, has apparently spent its entire life as an automobile. That may not make it more valuable than your neighbor’s rotisserie-restored version, but wait a few decades, and the tables may turn. The listing here on eBay has enticed at least six bidders to raise the market value of this driver-quality GT350 above $75,000. With no attempt to validate anything on the car as original in the listing, you’d have to either investigate in person or bid accordingly.

The 302 cid (5.0L) V8 wore an air cleaner designed for twin carburetors. Some featured a bracket to accept two wing nuts and some (like this one) were tapped in the center for one. Gone was the high-strung 289 making a (probably underrated) 306 HP. The 302 was nearly all Ford and cranked out a respectable but hardly neck-snapping 250 HP (gross). So when is “never restored” simply code for “dirty?” You be the judge. Certainly, if a car is 80 years old, running, and almost completely original, “never restored” is a good thing. If it’s 20 years old, it’s just dirty. Somewhere in between is the magic transition point.

What looks like correct 10-spoke wheels were optional (above the standard steel wheels) and differed slightly from ’67 wheels despite some aftermarket sources selling a single “67-68” wheel. Other pictures show signs of metal replacement and rattle-can black paint in the trunk. The undercarriage looks solid, as it should after a healthy coating of Zeibart rustproofing. The model year 1968 marked a number of changes in the Shelby / Ford ecosystem. According to MustangSpecs, Shelby’s business split into three entities, production of Shelby-destined Mustangs moved from California to New Jersey, and AO Smith won the contract to produce the fiberglass hood and trunk and also finishing work on the cars themselves.

The style had trumped road-racing performance as the name of the game for Shelby’s Mustangs by 1968, leading to record sales. In addition to the new-for-’68 convertible option and this car’s factory air conditioning, an automatic transmission sullied the interior of some Shelby units including today’s feature car. Aftermarket speakers further reduce the value of this “never-restored” pony. As classics go it’s hard to beat a Mustang, and the Shelby is even more rare and special. If this one checks out as being nearly all-original, it would be wise to keep it that way. Would you pay a premium for a never-restored Shelby?

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Comments

  1. CraigR

    Something to be said for a car that isn’t driveway jewelry.

    Like 21
    • Steve R

      An average of 1,100 miles per year over it’s lifetime and 300 per year since 2002 says otherwise.

      Steve R

      Like 3
  2. Henry

    beautiful interior

    Like 4
  3. CCFisher

    Amazingly solid for an early Mustang. The trunk panels look original to me. I believe the black you’re seeing is undercoating.

    Like 3
  4. Grumpy

    Heater core is bypassed. Take 10 grand off.

    Like 5
  5. scottymac

    Todd,
    Not sure if that’s what you meant. This article says Mustangs destined to be Shelbys were manufactured in New Jersey, but A.O. Smith was in Michigan, where the transformation took place.

    https://www.motorcities.org/story-of-the-week/2017/the-1968-shelby-mustang-and-the-a-o-corporation

  6. Rod

    All 68 Shelbys came with steel wheels and wheelcovers, not 10 spokes. Only a handful of export 68’s got 10 spokes.

    Like 2
  7. Paul

    Owned a 68 Shelby GT350,RED W/TAN INTERIOR. AUTO,ROLL BAR,SESTBELTS AND OVER THE SHOULDER HARNESS.$4800 purchased early 69 used.
    Never should of sold.

    Like 3
    • walt

      Yea, I had a 69 Z28 around 75 getting out of USAF, had 2 live. Gas lines & gas @ a whopping .35-.40 cents a gallon & getting 4-6mpg that car was killing me. Sold it 4 a LWB ford van 2 live in & a Chopper, modified van so Chopper would roll in & I was on the road. Who woulda thought that a 69 Z28 would b what it is now!

      Like 3
    • Rod

      Hey Paul,
      Do you recall the serial number of your car?
      Where did you buy/sell it?
      Rod

  8. Daniel Gavin

    Just love the wooda / coulda / shoulda stories about past ownerships.
    I sold my 90 911 Targa in absolutely showroom condition for $25K about 15 years ago……now these air cooled 911s are selling in the 90K range….kick myself every time I see an ad for one.

    Like 3
  9. Rod

    @Paul
    Owned a 68 Shelby GT350,RED W/TAN INTERIOR. AUTO,ROLL BAR,SESTBELTS AND OVER THE SHOULDER HARNESS.$4800 purchased early 69 used.
    Never should of sold.
    —–
    Some of these cars sat on the dealership lot for a long time. I’d like to hear more about your car as I might know where it is today. Hopefully Paul sees this.

    Like 2

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