Solid Survivor: 1968 Shelby GT350

By 1968, the Shelby GT350 had lost something of its hard edge and had become a more comfortable and refined vehicle when compared to its predecessors. Running changes across the entire Mustang range for the 1968 model year impacted upon the Shelby range, but the GT350 could still deliver reasonable levels of performance if the owner asked the question. This GT350 is a largely original survivor that has spent a significant part of its life in drier climates. The result is that it is a solid vehicle, and the next owner can choose whether to treat it to a restoration, or whether it would be more appropriate for it to continue to wear its original survivor status like a badge of honor. It is located in Broadview Heights, Ohio, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $60,100, but the reserve hasn’t been met. If the rigors of an auction are not for you, then there is a BIN option available at $89,000. I have to say thank you to Barn Finder Patrick S for referring the Shelby through to us.

The GT350 was delivered to its original owner in Jefferson City, Missouri, but by 1983, it had found its way to the dry and warm climate of Arizona. It remained there for many years, and this has contributed to the fact that the Candy Apple Red Shelby remains essentially rust-free. There are a few very minor spots appearing in the bottom of the rear quarter panel on the passenger side, but I really need to stress the fact that these are minor. Beyond that, this Ford is as clean and solid as you are ever likely to find. All of the distinctive hallmarks of the GT350 remain intact, and these components appear to be in quite good condition. The wheels are free from any obvious defects, while all of the fiberglass additions and badges are also looking quite respectable. The Shelby was ordered with tinted glass, and once again, there are no obvious problems in this area. The vehicle still wears its original paint, and this is beginning to show its age. It is still presentable, but it does carry its share of chips, scratches, and fading. That is where the next owner will need to make a choice. There is no doubt that there will plenty of readers who will feel that it should remain untouched, as a classic is only original once. There will be others who will advocate for a cosmetic refresh, which would return the GT350 to its former glory. The reality is that both camps would be right in this case, so at the end of the day, it comes down to a matter of choice for the person who ultimately hands over their hard-earned cash for this classic.

The Shelby is a numbers-matching car, and refreshingly, the owner doesn’t make any outrageous claims of low mileage with the vehicle. It is showing 146,000 miles on the odometer. Having said that, the engine has only clocked approximately 26,000 miles since it was treated to a rebuild. What we find is a 302ci V8, while the original owner also received a C4 automatic transmission, along with power steering and power front disc brakes. The 302 that found its way under the hood in 1968 was far more refined and closer to a regular production engine than its 289ci predecessor. This also meant that potential buyers faced a significant drop in power output. Owners had 250hp at their disposal, meaning that the 1968 Shelby GT350 automatic found itself covering the ¼ mile in around the 16-second mark. The engine bay of this Shelby presents quite neatly but is not close to showroom condition. I would describe it as appearing to be honest, but I have noticed that the engine has been treated to aftermarket headers and a new dual exhaust. Replacing the headers should be pretty easy if the next owner wants to achieve complete originality, which is a real positive. There is also another positive that is well worth considering. The owner states that the GT350 runs and drives very well, and he can’t see why it couldn’t be used as a daily driver.

The interior of the Shelby reveals a mix of good and bad points. The dash looks like it is in good condition, as also seems to be the case with the upholstery on the seats. The door trims are showing some ripples, but I think that this could be stretched back into shape. From there, we do find a few obvious signs of deterioration. The carpet has become quite faded, while the embossed armrest on the console has split. The kick panels have been replaced with ones that are designed to accommodate aftermarket speakers. This is undoubtedly because the original AM radio has made way for a CD player. It isn’t clear whether the dash has been cut to fit this, but it would be a good idea if the next owner braced for the worst on that front. When the original owner ordered this car, not only did they tick the box beside the radio, but the also chose to equip the vehicle with a tachometer and trip odometer, along with air conditioning.

It would seem that this 1968 Shelby Mustang Cobra GT350 is very close to being original and that any changes that have been made should be easily reversed. It appears to be a very solid vehicle, and there is sure to be some debate on whether it should be left largely untouched, or whether it should receive some form of restoration work. I’m not sure what the right answer is to that question, because I have to admit that I would be equally as happy with it parked in my driveway in either state. Values have remained pretty flat on the 1968 GT350 over the past few years, but that doesn’t stop pristine examples from easily achieving six-figure sale prices. This particular car isn’t pristine, but there is no reason why it couldn’t be once again. Restore it or drive it? That is a question that the next owner of this classic will have to answer for themselves.

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Comments

  1. RGSmith1 Member

    Drive it as is. At least I wouldn’t be afraid to go to the store and be worried about unconcerned door slammers parking next to it. In my opinion the dings, etc, are badges of honor and show that it was used as intended — driven and enjoyed.

    Like 28
  2. Bmac777 Member

    I fully agree RG
    It’s nice to see one of these that’s not pristine and only for display.
    Hop in it and enjoy

    Like 19
  3. Tom71mustangs

    100% agree with the above comments and would leave and enjoy as-is. It’s much more unusual seeing a first-gen Shelby in this state (than as a show queen) and would personally be much easier to really enjoy it this condition. it would attract more attention at most shows than it’s Trailer-Queen sisters as well.
    Awesome just the way it sits!

    Like 17
  4. Classic Steel

    Its nice but missing items to make me dig into the cash reserves for the 89 ask such as automatic and low power 302. I would rather shift to big block Shelby.

    1968 Shelby GT500 https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F143604038872

    I do like mustangs and hope this Ohio Stang makes ot to a good home and the small rust is addressed quickly.

    Like 7
  5. ken tilly UK Member

    The only thing I would do to it is to give it a good buff and polish then drive the wheels off it.

    Like 10
  6. Troy s

    It’s an attractive car without question, and that’s all it is. I wonder how many of those 302’s either got built or removed and tossed completely. The potential was most definitely there, back when it was fairly new or even a few years old.

    Like 3
  7. joseph santora

    Great article. This is my car. Thought I had it sold about 12 months ago but the deal fell through and quite honestly I was ok with it. I did kick around doing a full restoration but could not bring myself to eliminate the years of patina she earned. Plus its just fun to drive and not worry about scratches and we drive it. I hope it goes to a home where someone will appreciate it like I do, in its current state. She is only original once.

    Like 43
  8. Robert Burke

    When I look at it I see the an ultimate ‘Bullitt’ car. 68 fastback. A bigger motor might be nice but with some judicious tweaking that 302 can be a lot of fun. Upgrades to the suspension and brakes as well and what’s not to like about this thing as a lively daily driver?

    Like 1
  9. Bob Mck Member

    Sure would love to bring this home, but would need to sell the home to buy it.

    Like 6
  10. fran

    68’s are a little boring but if you want a Shelby, for the price, its hard to beat. I also have a boring Shelby, only because it is an auto with air. I would much rather a car to shift and put a supercharger in place of the air compressor, but its a 67 and, it is a Shelby. Mine is a rust free original body panel car, you dont see 50 plus year old cars like that anymore.

    Like 4
  11. Al

    I don’t get it. Its numbers matching but a 302? I thought those were modified 351’s. Thought the 302 was reserved for the regular mustangs & the performance 302 would be the Boss. So your saying it came from the factory with a 302? I keep learning after decades lol

    • Greybeard48

      Yes, Ford used 302 engines starting in 1968 as the base V8. That also was the first year of federal emissions on automobiles which lowered the power.

  12. TimM

    It’s a beauty!!!

  13. Douglas Threlfall Member

    I’d leave it as is, just clean & detail it. May do a careful “paint correction” and not burn through any of the edges @ style creases. Maybe refurbish the interior, new rugs, console and door panels. Dash & seats look fine. Maybe just rugs…

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