Miles Cook
March 1, 2005

As reasonably knowledgeable vintage Mustang and Shelby enthusiasts, we're fairly sure there's no such thing as a production '67 Shelby convertible, right?

For the most part, that's true-with one exception. Shrouded in mystery for decades, the emergence of this one-of-a-kind '67 GT500 convertible, powered by the requisite one-year-only dual-quad 428, is a newsworthy vehicle in the world of Shelby Mustangs.

Any of the 3,225 '67 Shelbys are collectible and desirable. Of those 3,225 cars, this lone convertible was produced. Ordered by Shelby American after Carroll Shelby's '66 GT350 convertible driver was taken back by Ford, this prototype was built, along with a '67 coupe that was converted into a GT500 hardtop. Inside Shelby American, the coupe was dubbed "Little Red" and was apparently used regularly for promotional events and marketing efforts. Strangely, the convertible didn't get nearly as much exposure.

However, the GT500 convertible was passed around on a regular basis to those working for Shelby American. The plot thickened when, in the summer of 1967 while on loan to a Ford executive, it was reportedly stolen. Ironically, the theft is likely the most significant reason for its survival today.

After recovery, the car was eventually given to a member of the Ford family before it was returned to Ford corporate hands in 1967. The car was then fitted with '68 Shelby parts and sold as a used '68 GT500 convertible.

Today, the convertible is in the hands of the Volo Auto Museum (www.volocars.com) in Volo, Illinois. The museum acquired the car in 1999 and spent several years researching and restoring it. The car was also displayed at the '04 Chicago Auto Show, where Shelby was on hand to see it and autograph the dashboard and hood. He also wrote a letter to Volo, which plays a part in the car's documentation. In the letter, Shelby stated he was "surprised" the car still exists because it was Ford's policy to eventually destroy prototype and experimental vehicles, which is what ultimately happened to the "Little Red" '67 coupe. In the letter, Shelby said, "I am without knowledge how it is this GT500 convertible was not destroyed, other than speculating the theft of the vehicle may have disrupted the standard Ford Motor policy somehow."

The car is now in the hands of the Volo Museum and can be seen by making the trip to the Chicago area.

There are widely varied opinions about the car's value. In an article by Chicago Sun-Times automotive writer Dan Jedlicka that appeared in the February 22, 2004 edition, Old Cars Weekly magazine called the prototype Shelby "the single-most valuable artifact of the musclecar era." Others believe Volo's estimate of the car, around $1 million, is extreme. One source said it's worth "nowhere near $1 million; it's not that special a car and could be worth about $125,000 under the best of circumstances if it had absolute proof of authenticity."

We think the car is special and obviously worth what anyone wants to pay, likely more than $125 large on most days.

Luckily, this historic GT500 still exists. Under any other set of circumstances, it would have been crushed. However, one of the most unique Shelby Mustangs of all time will thankfully never see such a fate.