Ever since Carroll Shelby first put his name on an automobile in 1962, his magic has prevailed with virtually anything he touches. But his relationship with Ford might never have happened had Chevrolet seen the benefit of providing him with small-block Chevy V-8s for his aluminum-body Cobra sports car in 1962. With the Corvette already in its pocket, Chevrolet said no, but Ford said yes, changing the course of automotive history. Had Ford declined, there might not have been three consecutive Le Mans wins. We might not have seen Mustangs spanking Corvettes in SCCA B-production competition throughout the '60s.
Shelby's relationship with Ford, although turbulent at times over the years, cannot be underestimated. It has been hugely productive for both parties, and at 83, Shelby shows no signs of slowing down with the Shelby GT500 coming out for 2007.
Bob Slezak of Northern Illinois just had to experience a piece of the Shelby action in the form of a Dark Moss Green '67 GT500 purchased from M-Detail/The Mustang Market in Riverside, California. It's easy to see why Bob followed this path. We like the upcoming '07 Shelby GT500 from Ford, but not even 40 years of evolution can surpass the excitement across these pages.
Shelby's original GT500 was legendary in its execution, a winner from the time Shelby's people penciled it out to look different from a regular Mustang. Note the shark-like front fascia with twin-set headlamps and a mouthy grille. Scope out the fiberglass-scooped hood, air extractors, and brake-cooling sidescoops. Shelby made power fashionable with slippery fiberglass and those awesome full-width taillights everyone admires. Forty years down the road, we still want one in our garage.
It isn't just the GT500's good looks that attract people; it's also the mind-bending power of a dual-quad 428 Police Inceptor big-block. Factory rated at 355 hp and more than 460 lb-ft of torque, it's no secret you can build closer to 600 hp into one of these FE mills today and still remain civilized for street duty.
Power management in Slezak's GT500 begins with a big-shaft Ford Top Loader four-speed and a Currie 9-inch Detroit Locker with 31-spline axles and 3.50:1 cogs. A Centerforce clutch takes the effort out of shifting thanks to its clever diaphragm/flyweight design that cranks up disc pressure at high rpm.
Power management isn't just about engines and drivelines. It's also about safely managing these elements, accomplished here with power front disc brakes, Shelby ten-spokes, and the new technology of Dunlop SP8000 radial 245/50/15 tires. New car buyers in 1967 could only dream of these technological advances.
Wrap the history and details together, and the '67 Shelby Mustang is undoubtedly an American favorite that car lovers will embrace for generations to come.