Donald Farr
Former Editor, Mustang Monthly
March 5, 2013
Photos By: Jerry Heasley

The opportunity was too good to pass up. Photographer Jerry Heasley was in Dearborn to photograph this year's Mustang Dream Giveaway Shelbys—a '13 GT 500 and'68 G.T. 500. So we thought: Wouldn't it be great to get SVT chief engineer Jamal Hameedi out to Ford's Dearborn Development Center (formerly Dearborn Proving Grounds) to give us his impressions of the 45-year differences in technology.

Hameedi was happy to oblige. After all, a bad day of driving Mustangs at the test track is better than a good day in the office anytime.

First, a little background on the Shelbys. Since 2010, the Mustang Dream Giveaway has, well, given away a pair of Mustangs, new and old, to the winner of their annual sweepstakes. They even add $50,000 cash to the prize so the winner won't be burdened with the taxes. Sponsored by the WorldCause Foundation, this year's proceeds go to the Carroll Shelby Foundation, the Henry Ford Health System, Disabled American Veterans, and the Paralyzed Veterans of American Outdoor Recreation Heritage Fund. The winner will be chosen right after the entry deadline of July 4, with the key presentation taking place during the Mustang Memories show at Ford World Headquarters in August.

Except for 2011 when Thomas Barker won a pair of old and new Boss 302 Mustangs, Shelbys have been the Mustangs of choice for the Mustang Dream Giveaway. This year, both GT 500s are one-of-a-kinds: a Candy Apple Red '68 G.T. 500 that was originally used as an engineering car to test the viability of a sunroof option and a matching '13 GT 500, also in Candy Apple Red with a custom interior and sunroof. Let's not forget that the '13 Shelby GT 500 comes from the factory with 662 horsepower, 631 lb-ft. of torque, and fuel economy that avoids the gas guzzler tax.

Winning just one of these Shelbys would get anyone excited. "We always try to put together a package that you can't just go down the street and buy," explains Mustang Dream Giveaway CEO Mark Breiner.

Breiner thinks that this year's pair of Shelby is the best prize yet. For starters, the '68 Shelby, 8T02S143400-01503, has been confirmed by '68 Shelby expert Pete Disher as a car that was retained by Ford to test the viability of a sunroof option, similar to the Cougar XR-7. It was built on January 3, 1968, then stayed in the possession of either Ford or Shelby Automotive until it was sold as a used car on April 3, 1969. Paperwork indicates that the Shelby was shipped to Culver City, California, in May 1968 so Paramount Sunroof could install the ASC power sunroof, a procedure that required shortening the Shelby's roll bar. That time-consuming and costly conflict likely led to the conclusion that it would be too difficult and expensive to offer the sunroof as a Shelby option.

After 1969, the Shelby passed through a string of owners, all documented in the car's extensive paperwork, before ending up in the possession of Jeff Stalberger, who sent the rare Shelby to Jim McKinnon for body/paint and Dan Mattila for assembly during a full restoration. A previous owner had added the white LeMans stripes, which McKinnon reapplied.

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Although you can run down to your Ford dealer to purchase a '13 Shelby GT500, you won't be able to find one like the Mustang Dream Giveaway car. To match the '68, it was completely disassembled by Alternative Automotive Technologies for a Candy Apple Red repaint in one of AAT's OEM-quality painting booths with the same low-bake process as used on Ford GTs and Saleen vehicles. While apart, Signature Sunroof installed their Inbuilt Sport Sunroof. A custom saddle interior, also to match the '68, was designed and installed in a collaborative effort between Roadwire, Distinctive Industries, and Classic Soft Trim. A Super Snake hood, side scoops, and sequential turn signals were also added.

Even though they share the Shelby name, the '68 and '13 GT 500s are totally different cars separated by 45 years of technological advancement, something that SVT's Jamal Hameedi was quick to point out after his drive in the Mustang Dream Giveaway '68 G.T. 500 at the test track in Dearborn.

"The first thing you notice when you get into a 1960s-era car is just how loose the steering is," Hameedi noted. "But you also notice a lot of other things, like how prevalent the engine sound is. It's a lot more of a visceral, pure experience. Although it's a completely different driving experience, there's still something to be learned by us spending time in the old cars and remembering how small they were, how light they were. In their own way, they were really nimble."

Hameedi made a couple of full-bore laps in the 428-powered '68 before Breiner informed him about the tires. "You were hauling butt on 40 year-old rubber," Breiner laughed, noting that the previous owner had tracked down and installed a set of 1960s' vintage Goodyear Polyglas tires during the car's restoration.

The tires reminded Hameedi of another comparison: "When you get in an old G.T. 500, you feel like you're on a roller coaster. You've got the little tires that don't hook up as well. And there's something about the sound that a carbureted V-8 makes. Now that we have all these modern intakes, throttle bodies, and air filters, they don't sound the same as they did back in the day."

Hameedi should know. In addition to overseeing the development of the '13 Shelby GT 500, he drives one every day. He adds that capturing some of the old Shelby feel was part of the process.

"Because the platform these days is so good in NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) and ride, it's easy for us to make something that doesn't create excitement. That's always a challenge—to make it sound right, ride right, steer right. Something that excites the driver."

Well, 662 horsepower is plenty exciting, especially from the Shelby GT 500 package that adds great handling, luxury, and even amenities like Track Apps with Launch Control. "It's a different driving experience than any other Mustang we've done," Hameedi adds. "We've now entered the era of 662-horsepower Mustangs that go 200 mph. It's pretty cool that a Mustang now belongs in that elite group."

It's also pretty cool that everyone has a chance to win both of the cars, with the proceeds going to great charitable causes. For a chance to win the Shelbys, call toll-free 877/700-8946 or visit www.winthemustangs.com. A $3 tax-deductible donation gets you into the drawing, but other levels of donations and ticket volumes are available.

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It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about ’68 or ’13, both Shelby GT 500s have large engines for their era—carbureted 428 cubic-inches for the ’68 and supercharged 5.4-liters for the ’13. The big difference is output—360 then and 662 now.