Open Roads, February | Lot 240
1968 Shelby GT500 KR Fastback
North American Offering
$160,000 - $180,000 USD
| Montreal, Quebec
19 - 28 February 2021
- The ultimate “King of the Road” model
- Three-owner example from new
- Rotisserie restored by Mustang International nearly twenty years ago
- One of 43 GT 500 KR fastbacks finished in the special-order shade of yellow with an automatic transmission for 1968
- Documented in the SAAC registry
- Accompanied by Deluxe Marti Report
When word trickled down that Ford was going to offer the special, Tasca Ford-developed Cobra-Jet engine as an option for select models, Shelby made sure it found its way into the GT 500. The Cobra-Jet-powered GT 500 would be the top-of-the-line Shelby for 1968—the question was what to call it. As the story goes, Iacocca had a meeting with Shelby informing him that Chevrolet was about to release a new version of the Corvette called the King of the Road. Shelby had supposedly always wanted to use that name for one of his cars and figured the Cobra-Jet-powered GT 500 was the perfect platform. He left the meeting and called his trade dress lawyer in Washington to see if anyone had secured the rights to the name; turns out no one had. Shelby secured the rights and thus, the GT 500 KR—the King of the Road—was born.
The Cobra-Jet 428 engine was rated at “just” 335 horsepower as a ruse to fool the competition and the insurance companies. The engine, in fact, pumped out at least 400 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. The KR included a number of engine modifications over the 428 Police Interceptor engine in standard GT 500s, such as: low-riser heads from the famed 427 engine, a beefier crank, rods and pistons. Additionally, the KR had larger brakes, under-hood suspension bracing and staggered rear shocks to prevent axle wind-up and wheel hop, making the KR the best of the best.
This stunning GT 500 KR was ordered on 5 May 1968. It left the factory finished in special order paint, Ford #WT6066 (yellow), over a black interior, powered by the 428 Cobra-Jet V-8 engine. The engine was backed by a C-6 automatic transmission which sent power to a 3.50:1 Traction-Lok rear differential. The Shelby was further equipped with the GT equipment group, visibility group, sport deck rear seat, power steering, power front disc brakes, tilt-away steering column, AM radio, interior décor group, as well as a tachometer and trip odometer. The GT 500 KR was completed on 21 June 1968. It was shipped to Rankin Ford of London, Ontario, Canada on 15 November 1968. Having received the Shelby so late in the year and with it still on the lot at the end of January 1969, the dealer applied for a five percent ($232.40) carry-over rebate from Shelby. It was still unsold on 2 February 1969, when with just 40 miles on the car, the rear-end was overhauled under warranty by the dealership at cost of $71.75.
The car was sold new to John Oak O’Connor of Jonquiere, Quebec, Canada. He would go onto own the Shelby until 1989 when he sold it to Sylvain Provencal from Levis, Quebec, Canada. Mr. Provencal, a Mustang enthusiast and owner of Mustang International restorations, enjoyed the car for a few years, eventually selling it to Gilles Bosse of New Brunswick, Canada. Mr. Bosse commissioned Mr. Provencal’s Mustang International to complete a total rotisserie restoration on the GT500 KR. Mr. Bosse went on to own the car for a number of years until it was purchased by the current dealer.
It remains very close to the way it left the factory in 1968. The brilliant special order yellow paintwork is nicely accented by chrome trim. The grille fog lights have protective Lucas covers on them, blending in with the mesh grille. It rides on 10-spoke Shelby wheels wrapped in Goodyear tires. A Goodyear Polyglas spare resides in the trunk. The interior presents nicely with black knitted décor bucket seats and Carroll Shelby’s signature prominently displayed on the dashboard. This Shelby holds the distinction of being one of just 43 GT 500 KR fastbacks to be finished in the special-order shade of yellow with an automatic transmission for 1968. The car is documented in the SAAC Registry and is accompanied by a Deluxe Marti Report.