I met Dan Cundiff, owner of this sharp GT500, for the first time at Michael's Auto Body in Winter Haven, Florida. I'd been eyeing his Shelby for a possible feature in Mustang Monthly during the time Mike Paremsky (owner of Michael's Auto Body) had been massaging the fiberglass and metal on the Wimbledon White beauty. When Dan showed up during the final throes of prepping the car, I was wet-sanding the Lazarus Project and getting the fenders and the hood ready for paint. Quite frankly, I looked as though I worked there.
"Nice car," I said, as I walked around the GT500 with him and Mike.
"Thanks," Dan smiled.
"I'm Jeff Ford, editor of Mustang Monthly." I stuck out my mitt and he shook it. If he thought, Yeah, right, he never let it show. "I want to feature your car when it's finished," I said with a big grin. "Beautiful car." Realizing that I looked like I felt (hot, sweaty, and generally grubby from wet-sanding my '72 Mach), I added, "I normally dress better." We both laughed and I wrote down his number and gave him my e-mail address.
After three months of fits and starts, we were able to snap these shots at Silver Springs in Ocala, Florida. As you can see, between Orlando Mustang--that handled the engine and the interior--and Michael's Auto Body, the car has become a fine example of Shelby's efforts. Dan, like most red-blooded car guys, had his hand in the Shelby as well. He even wisely persuaded his two boys, Steven and Danny, to get involved in the grunt work on the 67,000-mile beast while it was at Orlando Mustang.
While completing his tech sheet for this story, Dan told us the car had no special history, that nothing special was known about the life of the GT500 before he bought it from the previous owner. The fellow had moved on the car, but at a snail's pace. Still, the former owner managed to rebuild the 428 Police Interceptor to stock specs. He also managed to get some of the other items ready for Dan to install.
Though the history is nothing special, the Shelby is. The 428 with its two Holley four-barrel carburetors and Cobra LeMans valve covers speaks volumes about its performance potential. "I had the car chassis dyno'd," said Dan. "Accounting for a 15-percent drivetrain loss, we had 305 hp at the flywheel and 400-plus pound-feet of torque." All that grunt from a stock rebuild. Behind the 428 Police Interceptor is the super-tough Top Loader four-speed and the 3.50:1 open rear axle. Dan's car also has the Shelby 10-spokes, as well as an aftermarket stereo system and black Deluxe interior. Even though his car originally didn't have the Le Mans stripes, Dan added them to give the Shelby a bit more flash.
"I drive the car around on the weekends as much as I can," said Dan. "Most people think it's a fake. I have to chuckle at those folks who don't realize it's real." Though the history is nothing to speak of, according to Dan, since he took possession of the car, its history has grown by leaps and bounds. Who knows? Perhaps in another 10 years when Steven and Danny are older, we'll have plenty to write about. Then we can title the story "Somethin' Special."