"The '67 GT500s have eclipsed both the rough-riding '65 and the cushy KR for the top spot, pulling from $135K to $175K. Nobody will forget the $280,000 the '67 GT500 with the 427 Shelby aluminum engine brought at Barrett-Jackson in 2004. Meanwhile, '65 GT350s are "around $150,000 to buy a concours-type car," Drew estimated.
Drew's surprise for us was the KR, dethroned and in the $100,000 to $125,000 range for a documented, restored, no-stories car, now deemed his dark horse. As high as Shelbys have risen, he feels the KR is under-valued. "Everybody is so gee-gawed about Eleanor cars and '67 this, that, and the other. I remember the days when '67 Shelby Mustangs were red-haired stepchildren."
No more. Price wise, is the '67 GT500 the king Mustang musclecar? Or does the title go to the Boss 429?
Meanwhile, Cobra Jets follow what Drew calls "a standard market escalation" seen in all kinds of musclecars. Prices are high, but not wild.
Perkins says, "Top-notch Cobra Jet Mach 1s are going to bring $75,000-$85,000 with all the stuff on them. But one missing tires, exhausts, and all the trick stuff under the hood? No."
Times do change. Mustangs were once mainly collectible to the Mustang community. Now, with the popularity of musclecars, it's open season on Shelbys, Bosses, and Cobra Jets.
Will prices level off? Roger Gibson, who mainly restores muscle Mopars, says, "Right now, it's a hard market to figure out what cars are worth."
Perhaps owners are holding, afraid to sell with the market accelerating. So are muscle Mustang prices cheap? Roger says the key is to compare Mustangs with other marques based on rarity and desirability. Boston Bob says ultra rare is a car they made 12 or 15 of. Roger agrees and adds Mustangs were made in large numbers. The '71 Hemi 'Cuda convertible that brought $3,000,000 at Scottsdale this past January was one of 11 built. It is the king of musclecars. Had Ford built a Boss 429 convertible in such numbers, we would have an apples-to-apples comparison.
Meanwhile, Drew sold a Parnelli Jones-driven Trans-Am Boss 302 for $500,000. That's ultra rare. It's got race history, same as the '65 Shelby Mustang GT350R.
Will prices level off? Boston Bob says no. Roger says, "Well, it has to do something."
Running On Empty?"We're at the bottom of the barrel," says Rick Parker of Signature Auto Classics in Columbus, Ohio. Rick had a taste of today over 10 years ago when he went to a shop to see a friend.
He tells us, "My friend was working on a '37 Ford. I don't want to call anybody's car a piece of junk, but the thing was in horrible condition. There was nothing left. He was building a street rod. He says, 'Don't laugh, this is where you Mustang guys will be in 10 to 15 years.' He was right. We're now building cars that were parts cars 10 to 15 years ago."
Does this illustrate that we're running out of cars? In the '70s, the street-rod industry began building Model A bodies, then Deuce Coupes, and so on. Those first bodies were fiberglass. With Mustangs turning 40, we're about as far out as the cars of the late '20s and early '30s were in the '70s, when the industry started making those bodies.
Hot Rod magazine reported last October on the new '69 Camaro body from CARS (Classic Automotive Restoration Specialists) in Belews Creek, North Carolina. We visited with Jim Barber there, who verified the '69 Camaro will soon be joined by a '67 Mustang fastback. The estimate is in the $15,000 vicinity-no higher, but possibly lower. For this money, you'll receive basically a shell from the radiator support back, meaning full unibody minus front fenders, hood, doors, and trunk lid.
Who Are The Buyers?In 1989, the big rise in musclecar prices was peaking. The boom abruptly went to bust following America's surprise invasion and war against Iraq in January 1991 (which coincidentally started just as the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction was getting underway).