Jerry Heasley
January 1, 2013

Old Mustangs in old garages are the stuff of dreams. This Rare Find was a 1969 Shelby G.T. 500 in the garage of the original owner. It doesn't get much better than that.

Our story begins in 2008 when Bret Mattheson from Northeast Mustang (www.shelbymustang.com) in Massachusetts got a call from John Peterson in Vermont. After almost 40 years, Peterson was going to sell his Shelby, the one he bought new. Mattheson said he would be right over.

What he extricated from the garage was a G.T. 500 with the rare Drag Pack option, which transformed the 428 Cobra Jet into the 428 Super Cobra Jet. In addition to the V-code on the trim tag for the 3.91:1 Traction-Lok rear axle, Mattheson also spied the oil cooler still intact under the hood.

As a dealer, Mattheson resold the Shelby to Mike and Dawn Pfeifer, who were elated with their purchase and contacted me about their Rare Find. The original owner even had a collection of images from the early days, not to mention lots of stories, including the time he almost drove his Shelby to Woodstock. But with rain predicted for the music festival in August 1969, Peterson bailed on his trip, fearful of seeing his gleaming new Shelby G.T. 500 in a mud puddle on a farm in upstate New York.

Woodstock aside, a 1973-vintage photo shows a young Peterson with long hair and bell bottom pants standing beside the 1969 Shelby equipped with shackles, side-pipes, and tires with raised white letters spelling out Firestone and Parnelli Jones.

Peterson parked his big-block Shelby in the mid-1970s, mentioning a "small fire" in the rear seat area, perhaps from a cigarette, plus the skyrocketing price of gasoline.

When Mattheson discovered the 1969 G.T. 500, it was "complete and all there" after 30 odd years of resting in the neighborhood garage. Mattheson describes the condition as "neglected." The 428 SCJ did run, but the G.T. 500 was "tired looking" and basically needed a restoration. Rust-wise, Pfeifer said the body was "extremely good" except for a "couple of patches in the floorboards."

Another oddity is "special order paint" as denoted by code 5 on the trim tag. Apparently, Peterson did not like the original Grabber Blue finish. In the early 1970s, he repainted the car in Acapulco Blue and paid the Ford dealer $100 to add twin white stripes over the top of the car.

Pfeifer said, "Peterson spent a lot of weekends with his family drag racing at Island Dragway and Englishtown in New Jersey, and National Speedway on Long Island. Mr. Peterson mentioned that the car ran in the highs 10s or low 11s with good tires."

Mike Pfeifer emailed, "I feel lucky to have the privilege to bring this Shelby back to life after it sat for 35 years. I am really enjoying being but a caretaker of this historic machine."

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