Jerry Heasley
April 1, 2010

Evolution of the GT500 CS
Clinton White and son Clinton White II have been restoring Mustangs and other performance cars for over 15 years, starting out as White Auto Body. Clinton II said, "We built mainly six-figure cars-SuperBirds, Hemi cars, Shelbys, and a lot of custom vehicles. Anything high-end performance or restoration is what we've done."

Around 2003, White Auto Body changed its name to Retrobuilt and took on several partners. One of their ambitious Mustang builds was the '07 RSC/GT, short for Retro Built Supercar GT. When they began the project, the '67 "Eleanor" was still the rage. The Whites thought that perhaps an '07 with a '67-'68 body kit would catch on but the car never went into production.

In 2007, Retrobuilt built another Mustang, also with series production as the goal, by customizing an '07 Shelby GT500 into a tribute to the '68 1/2 GT500KR. When finished, the tribute cars were high-dollar renditions of the vintage KR with a multitude of custom features. Retrobuilt sold "five or six" and went out of business at the end of 2007.

Now the company has shed three owners and reformed again as Retrobuilt, this time with Clinton White and his son Clinton White II. One of their first projects was the design of the '69 Shelby GT500 for the Gen 5 Mustang.

Clinton II said, "We started with '69 Shelby fiberglass and sheetmetal for an original car." Cobra Fiberglass, a supplier of quality reproduction fiberglass parts for Shelby Mustangs, became a player once Retrobuilt had fabricated the steel panels necessary to make the fiberglass molds. As they had done with the previous builds, Retrobuilt designed the prototype in steel, performing the work the old school way-by hand, in-house, and without computers.

Clinton II said, "We took the original fenders and cut them up, then we grafted them together, lengthening and widening to get the panels to fit correctly. Same for the door skins-we took '69 skins and cut and heightened them. Then we reinforced where the door handle goes so we could use the vintage door handles."

In the same systematic way, Retrobuilt designed a new rear fascia with a one-piece fiberglass decklid. As they had done with the RSC/GT and GT500KR tribute, the '69 GT500 CS used the Ford mounting points. Also, they did not affect any of the "crash zones." Clinton pointed out the factory crash barrier behind the chrome bumper. It's visible with the hood open.

Clinton II said, "The stainless for the hood and the eyebrows come from Shelby Restorations in Michigan. They're having our stainless made for us here in the U.S. along with our bumpers." The bumpers are three inches wider than the original '69 Shelby.

Clinton has driven the red fastback 8,000 miles with "no cracks, no trouble" from the panels. "It does well in the heat and does well in the cold, with no rattles."

The Original '69-'70 Shelby
By 1969, Ford had become more involved in the design and build of the Shelby Mustangs. In fact, the fiberglass nose and rear end for the '69 model was created by Ford Design in Dearborn. The dramatic styling took another huge step toward differentiating the Shelby from the Mach 1s and Bosses coming out of Ford. They were offered as GT350s with the 351 Windsor small-block and GT500s with the 428 Cobra Jet.

When the Shelby program ended in the fall of 1969, a number of Shelby Mustangs were still in the pipeline. Those cars were "updated" as '70 models with hood stripes and a front spoiler.