It’s going to be a long time before the shockwaves created by Carroll Shelby in the automotive world finally subside. With his recent, and quite frankly unbelievable passing (I thought he would live forever personally), cars like the above 1968 Shelby GT500 KR should see a steady increase in value. This “black on black” example is going up for auction at the Mecum Auto Auction Dallas in a few days, and will surely reach an astronomical price. Here’s why it probably deserves every penny.
Carroll Shelby’s partnership with Ford and Lee Iacocca had already produced the fiesty Shelby GT350 and the bruiser Shelby GT500 that was packing a 428 Police Interceptor engine rated at 340 hp. In 1968, Ford moved production of the Shelby GT500 (now a Cobra) to a new manufacturing plant and dropped in the more powerful 428 “Cobra Jet” engine to create the Shelby Cobra GT500 KR. That new engine was good for an advertised 335 hp (wait…what? less power). Those in the know were not surprised to see the engine’s output up around 410 hp in the real world. Very tricky Ford.
There were only 38 models produced with a black exterior and interior treatment, making this car even more exclusive. It was fully restored in 2002 and came from the factory loaded with almost every option package available. It even has the “Visibility Package”. Apparently, visibility was optional in th ’60′s. There was hardly a car in production in 1968 that could touch the GT500 KR for acceleration or handling. Shelby used to joke that the “KR” stood for “King of the Road”. I think he was right…at least until the 1969 Corvette ZL1 was launched, but that is another story.
Many collectors will want to own a piece of the Shelby legacy knowing that there will not be any new creations to come, at least not in the earthly realm. Carroll Shelby is probably modifying a heavenly chariot right now with lightweight wheels, independent suspension and a divinity-injected big block.
This GT500 KR is scheduled to cross the auction block on national television (check your local listings) at 6:35PM on Friday, September 7.
Photo Credit: Mecum Auctions