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1967 Shelby GT500E Convertible - Star Power
Unique Performance Builds The First '67 Shelby GT500E Convertible
To date, all GT500Es have had black interiors. For the convertible, Unique went with standard blue seats that look custom with Carroll Shelby signatures embroidered into the backs. The dash is deluxe Mustang, with Shelby's signature on the passenger side, like all Eleanors. White-face, Shelby Signature gauges include a 10,000-rpm tachometer and a 160-mph speedometer. Also standard is the LeCarra 15-inch wooden steering wheel and a Sony stereo with CD player.
There's no console between the seats. Instead, Unique mounts a fire extinguisher and its "Remove Before Flight" red ribbon, referring to the adjacent nitrous-oxide switch, as used in the Gone In 60 Seconds movie car.
The 408 cubic-inch engine, which develops 475 hp in the Performance Edition 500 with carburetors, now develops 515 hp with fuel injection. There's no loss in the underhood looks-the DC & O fuel injection system resembles a set of Webers with air stacks.
Convertibles, due to their structure, have extra bracing from the factory. But with over 500 hp, the first Eleanor convertible needed even more rigidity. The rollbar stiffens up the unit-body construction, but Unique also adds special frame connectors and X-bracing.
One concession on the convertible is a five-speed manual instead of the standard six-speed. Mikus explained, "The six-speed has a bigger housing and we didn't want to destroy the floorboard." Due to the extra reinforcement, the convertible's floorboard is actually smaller. So Unique used the new TKO 600, which Mikus said is "really a stronger transmission."
The result is a GT500E with the performance of the fastback and the showboat looks of a convertible. It was bound to happen, and we wonder what could be next. In 1967, Shelby produced a prototype known as Lil' Red, which was a coupe with a blown big-block. With Shelby, there's no telling what may come.