Jerry Heasley
October 21, 2016
Photos By: Owner

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John Lingam had always wanted a Shelby Mustang but never had the chance to find the right one. But by the time he was 54 years old, Lingam, a house-painting contractor with an obvious passion for Shelbys, had waited long enough and finally heard of a jewel from his son Joshua, who got wind of a rare Shelby through Facebook contacts.

It was a 1967 Shelby G.T. 500 that belonged to an older married couple, Sam and Robin, who bought the car in pieces over 30 years ago and had constantly turned down all offers to buy it, hoping to one day restore the four-speed, dual-quad, 428-powered fastback, one of 49 Shelby-American-assembled with Lime Gold paint and Parchment interior. The Shelby remained, socked away in a garage in a residential neighborhood on Hornby Island (population a little over 1,000) west of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada.

When John Lingam and his son Joshua arrived at the residence, this is what they saw; a 1967 Shelby G.T. 500. John felt that finding a project Shelby at a reasonable price was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The owner’s brother-in-law (named Tom) told Joshua that health issues with the couple had brought them close to thinking about a potential sale of the Shelby—just what Joshua had been hunting to fulfill his father’s Shelby dreams. When John Lingam heard about the car and that it might be for sale, he was excited to get a phone call from Tom, and after talking it over with Tom, immediately wanted to phone the actual owners. But Tom said, “No, they’ll call you.”

Finally, the call came that same Monday afternoon from Robin. “She called me and I go, ‘how much?’” said John, expecting to hear a ridiculous price. When the price turned out to be reasonable, Lingam’s mood swung from anxious to a little bit south of rabid. “I said okay, I’ll give it to you. I’ll come down and buy the car.”

The 1967 Shelby was minus the original dual-quad 428 Police Interceptor engine. In less than a few days, John had located a 428 and a set of carburetors for the restoration.

But Sam and Robin were not all that ready to sell just yet. They had owned the G.T. 500 for 31 years and needed a few weeks, so Lingam hung up the phone. Two weeks was too long to wait, so after a few hours he phoned them back. “I said, ‘Can I please come see the car on the weekend?’ They said to call them Saturday and they would see what they could do.”

So Lingam spent that week prepping to get his dream Shelby and phoned a man in the Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC) for help with numbers. Shelby American affixed a plate stamped with a unique Shelby VIN to the driver’s side inner fender panel and over Ford’s VIN. For each Shelby Mustang built, SAAC has a list of each Ford VIN. If an owner supplies a Ford VIN, SAAC will verify if this car is an original Shelby. Lingam did not have the Ford VIN yet, so he would have to check back with SAAC later.

The Parchment seats were all there.
Luckily, the wood Shelby steering wheel was still in the car.

On Saturday, Robin and Sam gave Lingam the okay for Sunday—they had spent four days cleaning 31 years of debris from the Shelby—so on that Saturday, Lingam pulled money out of his bank, and then he and his son left their house at 5:00 AM on Sunday, March 27, 2016 to drive their pickup truck, pulling a car trailer, to the ferry in Horseshoe Bay. This first ferry ride was an hour and forty minutes long to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. Then they drove 45 minutes north to the Denman Island Ferry, followed by a 15-minute drive to the Hornby Island Ferry.

Once on the small island, they finally pulled up to the couple’s residence and Lingam was awe struck to see a 1967 G.T. 500 fastback, sans engine and transmission, in pieces but in restorable condition, parked in a residential garage in this small island community. He said, “The roll bar was intact. The top of the cowl and the rear quarters had some rust, and the floor had some holes, but nothing major. A couple body pieces were missing, like the scoops, but he said he would look for them.” Under the hood, the Shelby tag was missing. Lingam phoned his contact at SAAC and read off the Ford VIN. As expected, the 1967 Mustang was a real Shelby.

John has other classic Mustangs, and with his son plans to fully restore the G.T. 500, a job Sam wanted to do for decades but never got around to for health reasons, but the couple were very happy to see their Shelby go to a new home and a father/son restoration.

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The four-speed transmission, John believes, is from a 428 Cobra Jet and not stock for this Shelby. Obviously this G.T. 500 is a project car, but that’s what made Lingam’s dream of a Shelby possible.
The odometer reads 31,438 miles.