For those who appreciate classic American muscle cars, the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is truly a legend. This iconic vehicle has been featured in numerous films and television shows since its debut in 1967 as an upgraded performance version of the Ford Mustang. Although it only lasted in production for two model years, the Shelby GT500 remains one of the most sought-after vintage vehicles today due to its powerful engine design and striking exterior aesthetics. In this blog post, we will be diving deeper into the history and specifications of this remarkable car!
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Overview of the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 was a high-performance variant of the iconic Ford Mustang. It was part of the first generation of Shelby GT500s, which were produced from 1967 to 1970. The GT500 was designed in collaboration with Carroll Shelby, a renowned automotive designer and racer, to create a powerful and aggressive muscle car.
The 1968 GT500 featured a distinctive and muscular appearance that set it apart from the standard Mustang. It had a longer and wider body compared to the previous year’s model, giving it a more imposing stance on the road. The front end of the car was characterized by a unique fiberglass hood with functional scoops, a large grille, and integrated fog lights. It also sported a prominent Shelby badge on the grille and distinctive racing stripes that ran along the length of the car.
Under the hood, the GT500 was powered by a formidable 428 cubic inch (7.0-liter) V8 engine. This engine, known as the “Cobra Jet,” produced an impressive 360 horsepower, making it one of the most powerful Mustangs of its time. It featured a high-performance intake manifold, Holley carburetor, and a robust cooling system to handle the increased power output.
To handle the power and improve performance, the GT500 came equipped with a heavy-duty suspension system, power-assisted front disc brakes, and an optional limited-slip differential. It also featured wider tires and stiffer springs to provide better traction and handling capabilities.
Inside the cabin, the GT500 offered a driver-focused interior with bucket seats, a wood-trimmed steering wheel, and a center console. It had a variety of optional features, including air conditioning, power windows, and an AM/FM radio.
The 1968 GT500 was a limited-production vehicle, with only 1,140 units produced. It was well-received by car enthusiasts and collectors alike, thanks to its powerful performance, aggressive styling, and association with Carroll Shelby’s racing legacy.
Today, the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, commanding high prices in the classic car market. Its iconic design and powerful performance continue to captivate automotive enthusiasts and make it a legendary model in Mustang history.
Features of the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 boasted several features that set it apart from the standard Mustang and contributed to its high-performance reputation. Here are some notable features of the 1968 GT500:
– Powerful Engine: The GT500 was equipped with a 428 cubic inch (7.0-liter) V8 engine known as the “Cobra Jet.” It produced an impressive 360 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, providing exhilarating acceleration and a thrilling driving experience.
– Aggressive Exterior Styling: The GT500 featured a muscular and aggressive appearance. It had a longer and wider body than the standard Mustang, with unique styling elements such as a fiberglass hood with functional scoops, racing stripes, and a prominent Shelby badge on the grille.
– Improved Aerodynamics: The GT500 incorporated aerodynamic enhancements, including a redesigned front end with an integrated grille and fog lights. These improvements helped reduce drag and improve overall performance.
– Suspension and Handling: The GT500 came with a heavy-duty suspension system that included front and rear anti-roll bars and stiffer springs. This setup enhanced the car’s handling capabilities, allowing for better cornering and stability.
– Braking Performance: To provide sufficient stopping power, the GT500 featured power-assisted front disc brakes. These brakes offered improved performance and enhanced safety compared to the standard drum brakes.
– Optional Limited-Slip Differential: The GT500 could be equipped with an optional limited-slip differential, which distributed power evenly to both rear wheels. This feature enhanced traction and improved the car’s ability to handle corners and launch from a standstill.
– Driver-Focused Interior: Inside the cabin, the GT500 featured bucket seats, a wood-trimmed steering wheel, and a center console. The interior was designed to offer a sporty and comfortable driving experience.
– Optional Features: The GT500 offered various optional features, including air conditioning, power windows, an AM/FM radio, and a tilt-away steering wheel. These options provided additional comfort and convenience for the driver and passengers.
These features combined to create a high-performance muscle car that was both visually striking and exhilarating to drive. The 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 continues to be celebrated for its powerful performance, iconic design, and association with the legendary Carroll Shelby.
A Look at the Interior of the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The interior of the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 was designed to provide a driver-focused and sporty experience. Here is a closer look at the interior features of this iconic muscle car:
– Bucket Seats: The GT500 featured high-back bucket seats for both the driver and the front passenger. These seats provided excellent support and comfort, especially during spirited driving. The seats were often upholstered in vinyl, which was durable and easy to clean.
– Wood-Trimmed Steering Wheel: The GT500 came equipped with a stylish wood-trimmed steering wheel. This feature added a touch of elegance to the interior and provided a comfortable grip for the driver.
– Center Console: A center console was included in the GT500, providing a convenient storage area and additional functionality. It housed various controls and switches for features like the ventilation system and optional accessories.
– Gauges and Instrumentation: The instrument cluster in the GT500 featured a set of analog gauges that provided essential information to the driver. These gauges typically included a speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, temperature gauge, and oil pressure gauge. They were designed with clear markings and easy-to-read dials.
– Optional Features: The GT500 offered several optional features to enhance comfort and convenience. These options included air conditioning, power windows, and a tilt-away steering wheel. These features were designed to provide a more enjoyable driving experience, especially during long journeys.
– Upholstery and Trim: The interior of the GT500 showcased a combination of premium materials and stylish trim. The seats and door panels were typically upholstered in vinyl or optional leather, while the dashboard and other surfaces featured quality finishes and accents.
– Sound System: The GT500 could be equipped with an optional AM/FM radio. This allowed occupants to enjoy their favorite tunes while cruising in this performance-oriented muscle car.
The interior of the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 combined comfort, functionality, and a touch of luxury. The driver-focused layout, along with premium materials and optional features, created an inviting cabin that complemented the car’s powerful performance and iconic design.
Driving Experience and Handling with the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 offered a thrilling driving experience and impressive handling characteristics, thanks to its high-performance features. Here’s a closer look at the driving experience and handling of the GT500:
– Power and Acceleration: The GT500 was powered by a potent 428 cubic inch (7.0-liter) V8 engine, known as the Cobra Jet. With 360 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, the GT500 delivered exhilarating acceleration and impressive power on the open road. The engine provided strong low-end torque and a thrilling surge of power throughout the rev range.
– Responsive Steering: The GT500 featured responsive and precise steering, allowing the driver to have excellent control over the car. The power-assisted steering system ensured that maneuvering the vehicle was smooth and effortless, enhancing the overall driving experience.
– Handling and Stability: The GT500 boasted a heavy-duty suspension system, including front and rear anti-roll bars and stiffer springs. These enhancements improved the car’s handling capabilities, reducing body roll and providing better stability during cornering. The wider tires and carefully tuned suspension contributed to improved grip and traction, enhancing the overall stability of the vehicle.
– Braking Performance: Equipped with power-assisted front disc brakes, the GT500 offered confident and effective stopping power. The brakes provided improved performance compared to the standard drum brakes, allowing the driver to have better control over deceleration.
– Limited-Slip Differential (Optional): The GT500 could be equipped with an optional limited-slip differential. This feature helped distribute power evenly to both rear wheels, enhancing traction and improving the car’s ability to handle corners and launch from a standstill.
– Ride Comfort: Despite its high-performance nature, the GT500 provided a relatively comfortable ride for its time. The suspension was tuned to offer a balance between sportiness and comfort, ensuring that the driver and passengers could enjoy a smooth and enjoyable driving experience.
– Exhaust Note: The GT500 had a distinctive exhaust note that added to the overall driving experience. The powerful V8 engine produced a deep and throaty sound, further amplifying the car’s performance persona.
The 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 delivered an exhilarating driving experience with its powerful engine, responsive steering, impressive handling, and confident braking. The combination of these performance-focused features made it a true enthusiast’s car and a joy to drive on both straight stretches of road and twisting turns.
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Restoration, Upgrades, And Customizations For A 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
Restoration, upgrades, and customizations for a 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 offer opportunities to enhance its performance, aesthetics, and overall appeal while preserving its classic charm. Here are some common modifications enthusiasts consider:
– Restoration: Restoring a GT500 involves bringing it back to its original condition, often with authentic or period-correct parts. This process includes repairing or replacing worn-out components, repainting the body, refurbishing the interior, and ensuring mechanical functionality.
– Engine Upgrades: Engine modifications can significantly boost the GT500’s performance. Some popular upgrades include installing performance camshafts, upgrading the carburetor or fuel injection system, optimizing the intake and exhaust system for better flow, and improving engine cooling with a high-capacity radiator.
– Suspension and Handling: Enhancing the suspension system can improve the GT500’s handling characteristics. Upgrades may include installing performance shocks and struts, upgrading to stiffer springs, adding sway bars for better stability, and improving the steering system with power steering upgrades or rack and pinion conversion kits.
– Brake System: Upgrading the brake system enhances stopping power and safety. Options include installing larger performance brake rotors, upgrading to high-performance brake pads, and adding a brake booster for improved braking response.
– Wheels and Tires: Replacing the stock wheels and tires with aftermarket options can enhance both aesthetics and performance. Wider and lighter alloy wheels can accommodate wider tires for better grip and improved handling.
– Interior Customization: Customizing the interior allows for a personalized touch. Upgrades may include replacing the upholstery with higher-quality materials, adding modern amenities like a touchscreen infotainment system or navigation unit, installing aftermarket gauges for more precise monitoring, or upgrading the sound system with modern speakers and amplifiers.
– Exterior Enhancements: Customizing the exterior can involve modifications such as adding a functional hood scoop, side skirts, a rear spoiler, or upgrading the lighting system with modern LED or HID headlights and taillights.
– Paint and Bodywork: Repainting the GT500 in a custom color or restoring it to its original factory color can enhance its visual appeal. Bodywork may involve repairing dents, replacing rusted panels, or modifying the body for a unique look.
It’s important to consult with knowledgeable professionals or experienced enthusiasts when considering modifications to ensure they are compatible, maintain the integrity of the car, and align with personal preferences. Additionally, it’s crucial to check local regulations and laws regarding vehicle modifications and customization.
Pricing And Value Considerations For A 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The pricing and value of a 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 can vary depending on several factors, including its condition, originality, historical significance, and any modifications or upgrades. Here are some considerations regarding pricing and value for a GT500:
– Condition: The overall condition of the GT500 is a significant factor in determining its value. Cars in excellent or restored condition, with original components and minimal signs of wear, generally command higher prices compared to those in poor condition or requiring extensive restoration.
– Originality: Originality plays a crucial role in a GT500’s value. Cars that retain their original drivetrain, body panels, and interior components are typically more desirable and valuable. Any modifications or alterations from the original factory specifications may impact the car’s value, although tasteful and well-executed modifications can sometimes add value for certain buyers.
– Rarity: The rarity of a GT500 can significantly influence its value. Limited-production models, special editions, or cars with unique features tend to command higher prices due to their exclusivity and desirability among collectors.
– Historical Significance: The historical significance of a particular GT500 can affect its value. If the car has a notable racing history, provenance, or connection to prominent individuals, it may fetch a higher price due to its historical value and unique story.
– Documentation: Comprehensive documentation, including original factory paperwork, maintenance records, and historical documentation, can add value and provide assurance to potential buyers. Documentation establishes the car’s authenticity, history, and helps validate its value.
– Market Demand: The fluctuating market demand for classic cars, including GT500s, can influence pricing. Factors such as trends, popularity, and collector interest can impact the perceived value of a specific model or year.
– Market Conditions: The overall condition of the classic car market can affect pricing as well. Economic factors, supply and demand dynamics, and the availability of comparable vehicles on the market can all impact the value of a GT500.
It’s essential to conduct thorough research, consult with experts, and consider multiple factors when determining the pricing and value of a 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. Evaluating the specific attributes of the car and comparing it to similar models in the market can help provide a more accurate estimate of its worth.
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Conclusion: Entering the automotive history hall of fame, the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 is truly a car for the ages. Its combination of power, performance, and design created an unforgettable driving experience that left owners convinced they were driving something special. Today, it’s become a collector item sought after by many and known as one of the most iconic muscle cars of all time.
Even 50 years later, enthusiasts around the world still marvel at what this classic Mustang was able to achieve in its short four year run. It’s no wonder why it continues to remain a beloved part of American automotive culture. If you’re looking for your own piece of auto history, look no further than the 1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500!
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