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Home / Technology / The first Shelby GT500, a 1967 prototype called "Little Red," has been found

The first Shelby GT500, a 1967 prototype called "Little Red," has been found



It was rested for more than 20 years on a farm in northern Texas and was thought to be destroyed, but now it has been found and reported verified: Ford and Shelby American 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 EXP- prototype, the first of its kind and significant for many other reasons. Barrett-Jackson writes that the car, called "Little Red", is "considered one of the most significant findings in American car collector history."

Barrett-Jackson's chairman and CEO Craig Jackson found the car in March and unveiled it at the Henry Ford Museum near Detroit on Friday and showed it on Mustang Alley as part of the Woodward Dream Cruise on Saturday. Now they try to tie up what happened to the legendary block after it disappeared in the late 60's via a crowdsourcing site and Facebook page.


"Little Red" was one of two experimental cars – the other is nicknamed "Green Hornet" – built by Ford and Shelby American. It presented new ideas, including a restyled body and a Paxton superlaster that was added to 428 cubic meters of V8, and served as a model for Ford's 1968 Mustang California Special.

It was the only GT500 coupe hardtop built by Shelby American, and the only GT coupon ordered with factory-equipped two-quad carburettors. It is also one of two famous 67 GT cars fitted with a black Connolly leather interior. It was valued in 1967 at $ 3,318.84, which would be equivalent to $ 25,420 today. Needless to say, it would be worth exponentially more if it was put on sale now, but Jackson told Detroit Free Press he has no intention of selling it and will instead restore "back to his original glory."

It was built at Ford's San Jose, California, assembly plant and spent years running Carroll Shelby, also regularly driven by Shelby Americans chief engineer Fred Goodell, before disappearing. Experts probably believed that the coup was broken early in the 70's, but somehow it did from Detroit to a Ford dealer in Littleton, Colo.

"Locating Little Red was similar to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack," said Jason Billups, a classic car restaurator who worked with Jackson. "After our first survey, we realized that we, like others before us, used the wrong search criteria. Everyone looked for Little Red using the Shelby serial number, which would eventually lead to a dead end. We took another approach and found ourselves the original car Ford VIN number, which was not easy to detect. The VIN led us to its original registration and finally to its last owner. "

It will be exciting to see the car's history spike back together – and also what the restoration will see out. Shelby's engineers announced continuously updated Little Red with new parts from at least two different model years and many experiments, including an experimental automatic gearbox. After it was sold in the early 70's, it spent the year in storage and got the engine stolen after a radiator melting.

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