During the teardown, Yergovich found many clues about the convertible's past. The identification tag on the C6 transmission was numbered 000001, indicating that it could be the first C6 automatic. According to tags found on the seat frames, the convertible got different front buckets in March of 1967. When Yergovich removed the '68 Shelby rear taillight panel, he discovered that the original sheetmetal had been cut out to accept '67 Shelby (Cougar) sequential taillights. Perhaps the car was originally outfitted as a '67 Shelby after all.
Yergovich restored the convertible just like it was originally built--as a '67 Mustang convertible that was later converted into a '68 Shelby with prototype pieces. He pieced together a production '68 Shelby nose to create a mold for a one-piece, handbuilt front end. By studying photos, he determined that the lower grille trim was actually made from door edge guards, so he located 1960s vintage guards and bent them to match the photos. Woodgrain was applied over deluxe '67 aluminum trim.
After its two-year restoration at R&A, the '68 Shelby convertible prototype debuted last November at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, where Styles and Yergovich recreated the beach scene, complete with sand and bikini model. The car is scheduled as a featured vehicle at the Ford Nationals in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on June 1-3.
Even though the convertible has made its show debut, Brian Styles admits that the car is not finished. As additional photos and documentation surface, Styles and Yergovich continue to update the car. For example, the side badges were completely redone when the original engineering drawings turned up, and Yergovich revised the console stitching and Thermactor pump mounting based on recently discovered high-res photos from the Motor Trend archives.
Samantha and Brian Styles consider themselves as caretakers for the historic '67/'68 Shelby convertible prototype. They have created a website devoted to the car, located at www.67shelbyconvertible.com, where you can view additional vintage photos, promotional material, and documentation.
The prototype '68 Shelby convertible appeared in numerous magazine ads and Shelby promotional materials, including the "Specifications and Features" sheet. The first ads appeared on the inside front covers of the Nov. '67 Playboy, Road & Track, and Car Life.
- Hand-formed fiberglass hood with hood pins and cables
- Single-piece front-end (three-piece for production)
- Front fenders hand-cut to accept side turn signal lights
- Single chrome trim around front grille (two-piece for production)
- Hand-formed fiberglass rear panel
- Hand-formed fiberglass trunk lid
- Decal rectangular quarter panel reflectors
- 15-inch wide header panel SHELBY lettering (22-inch for production)
- Mustang convertible top trim with visible snaps
- Side stripes, emblems, and fuel filler cap with "GT 500 Cobra"
- No taillight sequencing (not available)
- 10-spoke wheels (early); prototype hub caps (later)
- Seats recovered in black leather
- '67 Mustang deluxe steering wheel with Shelby horn button
- Woodgrain applied over '67 brushed aluminum dash inserts
- Prototype instrument panel emblem
- No embossed Cobra emblem on console armrest
- Prototype roll bar
- Vinyl-wrapped fiberglass seat rear panels
At R&A Motorsports, the convertible...
At R&A Motorsports, the convertible was disassembled to bare metal so Richard Jackson could make necessary sheetmetal repairs.
The earliest photos show the...
The earliest photos show the convertible with 10-spoke wheels; later, it had prototype wheel covers with inverted colors compared to production covers.
During the disassembly, Yergovich...
During the disassembly, Yergovich found several seat tags, including this one dated March 28, 1967, and labeled "show car."
Although no promotional photos...
Although no promotional photos show the convertible with the top up, it was equipped with a white convertible top.
Styles and Yergovich worked...
Styles and Yergovich worked together to recreate the fake reflectors on the rear quarter panels.
The prototype was displayed...
The prototype was displayed in '67 Shelby trim for several years at the Volo Auto Museum in Illinois.