Lot 355: Shelby Mustang GT500KR Fastback
*428ci big-block V-8 engine *Four-speed manual transmission *The ultimate '68 Shelby
*Highly sought after Highland Green example *"King of the Road" status *Original build sheet available *Listed in the Shelby Registry
It was 1967, and Ford Motor Company had a problem its cars were uncompetitive on the street scene. Sure, the 390 was a new and welcome addition to the redesigned Mustang, but it was no competition to Chevrolet's Camaro SS 396. Even the 390 Fairlane GT was no match for Ram Air GTOs and 440 Mopars, and 427 Fairlanes were few and far between. For the brand that promoted Total Performance, it was an ironic place to be.
Meanwhile, over at Rhode Island's Tasca Ford, they were quite aware of Ford's lackluster performance on the street...and off the sales floor. In a fortuitous sequence of events, a grenaded motor from a demonstrator 390 GTA coupe led to the parts manager replacing it with a 428 Police Interceptor short block, then dug into the Ford parts bin to come up with a hodge-podge of 427 parts to create a stormer that turned 13.39 at 105 mph. Tasca christened it "KR-8" for "King of the Road 1968" and offered the package to its customers for 1968.
Tasca showed Ford engineers what they had done; they were receptive, but their bosses were not. Eric Dahlquist of Hot Rod caught wind of the KR-8 and went to Providence for a look-see. Then, in the November, 1967 issue, Dahlquist's article presented a ballot for readers to indicate BUILD THIS CAR and send to Henry Ford II. By April 1968, the first 428 Cobra Jet Mustangs had hit the street. Underrated at 335 horsepower, the CJ eventually ended up cleaning house at the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, not to mention giving Ford street cred.
Ford didn't leave out Shelby, replacing the GT-500 with the GT-500KR (with inspiration from Tasca's KR-8). Since then, the GT-500KR has been one of the most desirable muscle cars in the hobby. This unrestored Highland Green fastback is a low-mileage California car that has never had any rust or been in any wreck. Equipped with a four-speed transmission and obligatory staggered rear shocks, ten-spoke mags, and the usual power accessories, it's perhaps America's candidate for a Gran Turismo circa 1968. Being a California car, it even has the rare smog parts, starter delay, heat shield, and other KR-specific items. Part of a prominent Texas collection, it's listed in the Shelby Registry and comes with the original build sheet.
The Scottsdale Sale|
Bonhams & Butterfields, Arizona, Scottsdale
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||$70200|
|Engine capacity (cc)|
|Engine - cylinders|
|Number of doors||2|