1968 Shelby GT-350

In the spring of 1985, I was getting ready to graduate from college.  I went out to the local Ford dealer to look at the new 1985 Mustangs.  When I got there, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing......a 1968 Shelby GT 350 sitting on the used car lot!  It turned out to belong to the dealer.  It was candyapple red with white Lemans stripes, 302 engine, 4-speed, with black interior.  The dealer was asking $9000 for it.  I made some notes and called some friends who were restoring a 1968 GT500KR later on that night.  The next day I went back to check all of the things that my friends listed and I called them back again.  I went back on the third day to confirm some more details my friends told me to check.  My friends said if I could get the car for around $6500 it would be a very good deal.  I looked the car over one last time.  I went in to talk with the dealer, discussed what I had found wrong with the car, and what I felt it would cost to correct these problems.  I also gave him an estimate of the cost to correct these problems versus what the car would be worth once it was completed.  Based upon my findings and discussions, I presented him with my $6500 offer.  It certainly made him flinch and I thought at first he was going to refuse it, but then he excused himself for a minute.  He came back with a stack of paperwork on the Shelby.  He had just had a new clutch and pressure plate installed in the car........if I would give him $6700, he would sell.  I couldn’t believe it!  We finalized the paperwork and drove the Shelby off of the lot.  

The "Used Cars" sign in the background is just perfect...  

I later took the Shelby for a cruise around campus... and then the engine died.  I tried to restart but it wouldn’t.  It acted like the battery was dead.  I got out and raised the hood and the wiring harness was lying on the exhaust manifold and had melted!  While we were standing there with the hood up, the starter wires shorted and the engine started to turn over and the car was in gear!  I quickly ran around and took it out of gear.  Then the wiring harness completely shorted and started a wiring fire in the engine compartment.  I tried to unhook the battery, but I had no tools with me!  We extinguished the fire with dirt.  There I stood, newly purchased dream car with the wiring burnt to a crisp and no warranty.  I called Ford dealer, told them what happened, and they agreed to pick up the car and repair it FREE OF CHARGE.  You see, their mechanics had serviced the car and tuned it up.  They had also knocked the wiring harness loose and forgot to reattach it to the fender well.  So the Ford dealer fixed it.  I also had them to do some front suspension work on it prior to driving it 300 miles home.  The rear axle was roaring some and the mechanics said the differential was bad and needed replacement.  They said a 9” traction-lok could not be located so they would have to use a standard Mustang differential.  I told them just to leave it alone and I would correct it once I got the Shelby home.  I later took the Shelby to a great Ford mechanic at home and the roar turned out to be only bad axle bearings.  

My '68 GT Fastback with the '68 Shelby This ain't just a Cobra dress-up kit... it's the real deal!!

At least for a short period of time, this is what my mom's basement garage looked like.  The white 1965 Mustang coupe was my little sister's car!!  It had a 289-4V, 4-speed, and was a lot of fun to drive too!!

In 1986 two people in Atlanta were interested in buying the Shelby.  We drove it to Atlanta to show it to them.  The first guy offered to give me some money and his original, unrestored Buccaneer Red 1973 SD-455, 4-speed Trans Am with 90,000 actual miles!!!!  I was trying my best not to be too anxious.  I would've GLADLY traded EVEN!!   But, in the end he could not part with his Super Duty... and I certainly couldn't blame him.  The second guy was a rich man who never worked on a car in his life and wanted to only point out all of the flaws in the Shelby.

Later on in 1986, I drove the Shelby to one of our local Mustang club drives and one of our club members walked around the Shelby once and bought it right there on the spot.  So I ended up taking my 1968 Mustang GT Fastback on the club drive that day...

Here's a picture of the Shelby after he'd done some work on it to put the correct wheels, steering wheel, etc back on it.  It looked GREAT!!  He sold the Shelby two years later to someone in North Carolina and two years after that it was sold to someone in Arizona.