Al Rogers
January 29, 2018

While the iconic Highland Green 1968 Mustang used in the movie Bullitt resurfaced in the Motor City during the 2018 North American International Auto Show, Craig Jackson, Chairman/CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, made news of his own about another very special 1968 Mustang.

Jackson took one last heart-pumping drive in the Shelby EXP 500 prototype, also known as the Green Hornet, before the car was loaded into a hauler to start the next phase of its storied history.

Jackson will entrust Jason Billups and his team at Billups Classic Cars in Colcord, Oklahoma, to perform a historically correct rotisserie restoration of the one-of-a-kind Mustang. Using historical documentation and the knowledge of several experts within the Mustang community, a plan is in place to return the Mustang to how it appeared during the second phase of its two-part prototype past.

In 1967, this Mustang debuted as a Lime Gold GT/SC prototype, a forerunner of the GT/CS special edition. Once that role was completed, Shelby's engineers in Michigan transformed it into the Shelby EXP 500. It's possibly the only Mustang to have successfully served a two-prototype role.

It was the Shelby team that gave the Green Hornet its one-of-a-kind, gold-luster green paint scheme, independent rear suspension, four-wheel power disc brakes, and a Conelec fuel-injection system.

Jason Billups, his father, Gerald, and brother Scott unload the Green Hornet at Billups Classic Cars in Colcord, Oklahoma.

During the last few years, Pete Disher, a historian, researcher and the 1968 Shelby Head Judge for SAAC, has been reproducing Conelec fuel-injection parts based on the original blueprints and 3D scans of original parts. The system he's working on is an exact copy of the original, including the 1960s electronics. Chris Long will have a vital role in the design and build of the Mustang's Conelec system. His father, E. David Long, invented it.

The four-wheel disc-brake installation will be done in house by Gerald Billups. He plans to replicate the setup and component installation exactly as it would have been done in 1968.
Heading the design, build, and installation of the independent rear suspension is Duane Carling, using original blueprints for the Arning T-5 independent rear suspension as a template. The original Arning T-5 IRS was developed for the Mustang in 1964 by Klaus Arning.

The Mustang was last restored in the 1990s, and Jackson purchased it in 2003. Jeff Catlin, who works for Jackson and handles the vehicles in his personal collection, explained that Jackson wanted to restore the Green Hornet "because it's showing its age a bit and to put the car back to its original form. We received information that the independent rear suspension was a bit different originally, and also the original fuel injection system that was on the car had been reworked."

Following what is expected to be a nearly yearlong restoration, EXP 500 will be unveiled at the 2018 MCACN in November.

Billups Classic Cars has been restoring automobiles for two decades. The company has earned a reputation within the Mustang and muscle car communities for world-class workmanship, attention to detail, and historical correctness.

"We went with Mr. Billups for the restoration because he's hands-down the best guy to do the research and restore the car to what it would have looked like back in 1968," Catlin said. "Jason is very well known in our world as being a perfectionist, and his research skills on the cars he has worked on are impeccable."

The restoration of the Shelby EXP 500 is scheduled to be completed in October 2018. Bob Ashton and his team at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals will coordinate the car's official unveiling on the first day of MCACN 2018, which is Saturday, November 17. Watch for a full feature and complete details of the car's rebirth in an upcoming issue.