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Barn Find 1969 Ford Mustang Shelby G.T. 500 is a Diamond in the Rough
Gary Morgan and a friend made the ultimate discovery in a barn in Pennsylvania—A 1969 Shelby G.T. 500
The barn find is a romanticized notion. You’ve heard the story a million times: someone walks into a dark old barn in the middle of nowhere to find a single stream of sunlight bursting through the rafters. It lands harshly on a dusty hunk of metal. It might be easily overlooked, but upon closer inspection, it’s made clear that hunk of metal is really a beautiful old classic that hasn’t seen daylight in years. Gary Morgan of New Freedom, Pennsylvania, has a story that isn’t too far off.
“A very good friend of mine, Fred Gimble, knew of this car for about 12 years prior to my buying it,” Gary told us. “The previous owner told Fred that if he was ever going to sell it, he would give Fred the first chance.” Gimble is the owner of Autovision Performance LLC in Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania, and upon Gary’s arrival at the shop one day a little over a decade ago, Fred told him that the two of them should go look at a car about five minutes down the road.
“I had been going to the shop for a few years and I never knew that this car was that close,” Gary said. “When we got to the vehicle, it was parked in a stall under a large old barn covered in dust. The taillights had been removed so that people passing by would not ask if it was for sale.” The layer of dust on the car was thick, but Gary could make out a Shelby emblem on the driver’s side front fender, so he wiped the dust from the windshield. “I saw the ‘R’ code in the VIN and I smiled. It was real. The 1969 has always been my favorite and I couldn’t pass this one up.”
The 1969 Shelby G.T. 500 was worse for the wear, but it was a complete car. The two decided to buy the car and pulled it out of the stall and into the sunlight for the first time in years. A closer look revealed just how much work the pair had cut out for them. “Little did we know how many other Shelbys we would look at, take pictures of, and research,” Gary remembers.
The 1969 came from the Dearborn factory with the expected 428ci engine. The Black Jade Shelby was equipped with a black interior and was scheduled to be built on February 27, 1969, but was actually produced a day ahead of schedule, per the Marti Auto Works Deluxe Report that Gary provided us with. A 9-inch rear with limited-slip differential and stock 3.25 gears remain, and an automatic transmission handles shifting duties. It was sold just two weeks after production to Marshall Motor Company in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, for $5,528.43. What a steal!
The Shelby also came with several options, including the C6 Cruise-O-Matic transmission, Visibility Group, Goodyear tires (which have since been replaced with BFGoodrich tires), and power front disc brakes. Power steering and a Tilt-Away steering wheel allow for driver comfort, and other creature comforts include a Sport Deck rear seat, Select Aire air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo radio, and tinted glass. Deluxe belts and a warning light keep passengers safe, and a tachometer and trip odometer were also selected options.
After four long years and a fresh coat of Black Jade paint from Autovision Performance, the restoration was complete and the Shelby was finally ready to make its long-awaited debut at SAAC-33’s concours car show in August of 2008 with its original engine and transmission. “There it finally was among all of these other Shelbys. After many long hours of judging and waiting, our hard work paid off. The car won the Gold medal.” Gary told us that the car is not a trailer queen, and he drives it to and from shows and around town. “I love driving it. I avoid gravel roads, of course, but this is what it was meant for. It was meant to be driven.”