When Ron Kinberger was finally able to register his freshly-restored '68 GT350, he told the auto license clerk that he was a retired fireman. "The clerk explained that he had just the number for me," Ron explained. "P-911, certainly a number that I have responded to many times!"
Originally a New York car, the Shelby's second owner had started a restoration but later decided to sell it so he could buy a vintage Camaro. Ron paid only $13,000 for the original but disassembled GT350. "I got the deal of the century!" says the Louisville, Kentucky, resident.
From there, Ron performed most of the rotisserie restoration himself, including all of the mechanicals, in 2006. Bob Blair sprayed the Sunlit Gold paint, with white stripes, while Kentucky's "Mustang Charlie" handled the interior.
Through the previous owner, Kinberger learned that his GT350's first owner was a serious drag racer. He had even replaced the original C4 automatic with a four-speed. When Ron got the car, there was a hole through one of the hood louvers. "He must have really wound out the engine," Ron says. "Apparently the clutch exploded and a piece of clutch blasted through the fiberglass hood. When I got the car, the louvers had not been repaired."
During the restoration, Ron decided to replace the four-speed with the correct automatic. That was a move back to original, but he then shifted away from stock with the installation of a Shelby/Paxton supercharger, which was a Shelby accessory in 1968. "It wasn't possible to order a supercharger that year if you had air conditioning, which this car has," Ron explains. "I'm aware of only one other Shelby that has both," he said.
But it was a bigger job than Ron originally imagined. "To install both the supercharger and air conditioning, we had to move the A/C compressor to the passenger side of the engine compartment," he says. "It was also necessary to replace the factory York compressor with a modern Sanden unit, which is more compatible with the increased blower revolutions. The A/C was also set up for the newer R-134A refrigerant as opposed to the original R-12."
With help from Classic Auto Air and Ken Blanchard, new air conditioner brackets were fabricated to relocate the compressor. The supercharger came with the appropriate brackets and belts, but the A/C and power steering belts had to be custom fitted.
One would think that this significant underhood modification would place the car into modified classed for car show judging. But that is not the case: Ron says it's still judged in the stock class.