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1967 Ford Mustang GT500 - The Golden Years
If "Retirement Living" Means Cruising The Country With A '67 Gt500, Sign Us Up!
Like many a Mustang enthusiast, Milwaukie, Oregon, resident Dan Jones has been a fan of Shelby American products for as long as he can recall. Now at age 66, his memories of new Cobras, GT350s, and GT500s remain clear, which translates into a 40-year infatuation with the storied marque. Dan worked at the San Francisco International Airport during the mid-'60s, where his interest was heightened as he watched GT350Hs being shuttled daily between the Hertz rental counter and storage lots. Yet, like so many others, the passion and desire for his own Shelby played second fiddle to the responsibilities and realities of life-you know, things like work, family, and so on. So it wasn't until 1997 that Dan fulfilled his dreams with the '67 GT500 seen here.
As retirement dawned for the former United Airlines mechanic, Dan began a search for a Shelby that would help fill his newfound free time. Enamored by both the '65-'66 and '69-'70 models, you can see he ended up with something quite different. The indecision is reflective of differing opinions within the Shelby community, for if you were to ask five people which Shelby Mustang they find most appealing, you're apt to hear five different answers. Such was the evolution of the cars that started out as clearly recognizable near-racers in 1965 and ended up as highly stylized boulevard brutes by the end of the run.
Dan happened upon this particular '67 (No. 561) quite by accident, and explained how he and wife Judy had gone to view a '69 in nearby Boring, Oregon. We're not kidding about the town's name, but despite the dull sound of it all, the Shelby's owner obviously knew how to generate excitement in his life via hot cars. About the time Dan was concluding the '69 required more work than he wanted to commit to, Judy spotted the green fender of the '67 in another part of the garage. Turns out both Shelbys were for sale, and while Dan hadn't thought himself interested in a first-year GT500, a deal was quickly struck.
What the couple bought that day was a fully restored big-block Shelby that could be enjoyed immediately-a sort of instant gratification after years of patience. The chosen color combination was based on the original Dark Moss Green, but the gold stripes were an obvious deviation from original, and found inspiration in the Hertz cars of the previous year. The look certainly sets this one apart in a crowd, as if the striking appearance of the '67 Shelby fiberglass weren't enough.
Remaining mostly stock, No. 561 sports an interior we've long been smitten over. Shelby flat out nailed the appointments in this last year of the company's real hands-on direction, due in no small part to the use of Mustang's brushed-aluminum Interior Dcor Group, and a 140-mph, 8-grand dash cluster. To this, Shelby added critical big-ticket items like the gorgeous wood wheel, underdash gauges, and a rollbar with inertia-reel seatbelts, resulting in one of the best cockpits of the era. Of course, like so many of the breed, the crowning touch, added years later, is the creator's signature above the glovebox.
While the factory's muscular drivetrain would have likely been adequate for the Jones' purposes, a former owner took certain liberties that suit Dan just fine. The 428 Police Interceptor now measures a bit larger thanks to a .030-inch overbore, while Cobra Jet heads, an Alliance cam, and roller rocker arms from Ford Power Parts up the ante in the power department. The CS logo valve covers should look familiar yet different, as they're sourced from Shelby's over-the-counter parts business in the late '60s and early '70s. Hooker headers feed 211/42-inch pipes and Flowmasters, while the intake retains the fabled factory dual-fours-in this case, a pair of newer Holley 600s.
Complementing the power-producing capabilities of the modified 428, the C6 automatic's updates are completely hidden-that is, 'til the go-pedal is pinned to the floor. In an instant, the 2,500-rpm stall converter, B&M competition valve body, and Torrington bearing internals make themselves known, and Dan's face lights up like the proverbial kid in a candy store.
While full-throttle blasts have their purpose, the real fun for Dan and Judy involves a retirement lifestyle, which emphasizes cruising the country with their GT500 in tow. Numerous treks from the Pacific Northwest invariably have a major automotive gig as the destination, with plenty of traditional diversions along the way. Major events have included Ford's centennial celebration in Detroit, repeat visits to the Mid-America Shelby meet in Tulsa, and SAAC conventions from coast to coast. Hmm, we can't begin to keep up with the Joneses-at least their travels. Golden years indeed!