Open Roads, April | Lot 316
1968 Shelby GT500 KR Fastback
$148,500 USD | Sold
| Oneonta, New York
21 - 29 April 2021
- The ultimate “King of the Road” model
- Finished in the stunning shade of Acapulco Blue
- One of 1,053 Shelby GT500 KR Fastbacks built for 1968
- Part of a private collection since 2005
- Documented in the SAAC Registry
- Accompanied by owner’s manual, build sheet, Deluxe Marti Report, old title copies, and restoration binder
When word trickled down that Ford was going to offer the special, Tasca Ford-developed Cobra-Jet engine as an option for select models, Carroll Shelby made sure it found its way into the GT500. The Cobra-Jet-powered GT500 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 GT500 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 GT500 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 GT500s, 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 1968 Shelby GT500 KR Fastback was built on 6 June 1968. It was finished in Acapulco Blue over black interior and powered by Ford’s legendary 428 Cobra Jet V-8. The engine was backed by a C-6 automatic transmission which sent power to a 3.50:1 Traction-Lok rear axle. It was further equipped with shoulder harnesses, GT equipment group, visibility group, Sport Deck rear seat, power disc brakes, power steering, tilt-away steering wheel, AM radio, interior décor group, as well as a tachometer and trip odometer. Upon completion it was shipped to Larsen Ford in White Plains, New York on 12 July 1968. The Shelby was purchased new by E. Joudrey of White Plains, New York on 8 January 1969. From 1970 to 1972 the car was owned by James Neigel of Woburn, Massachusetts. It would remain in Massachusetts under Bradford Clements of Lynn. The car would change hands a few more times, residing in Michigan and New Jersey, before being purchased by Mitch Newman of Florida. Mr. Newman subsequently sold the car in 2005 to the consignor, joining a well-respected private collection in the Northeast.
Today the Shelby GT500 KR remains very close to the way it left the factory in 1968, even retaining its factory buck tag on the passenger fender. The stunning shade of Acapulco Blue is accented nicely by “GT500 KR” rocker stripes. It rides on 10-spoke Shelby wheels wrapped in Goodyear tires. The interior presents nicely with black knitted décor bucket seats separated by a console housing Stewart Warner oil pressure and alternator gauges, and a Philco radio. This Shelby is one of 1,053 GT500 KR fastbacks built for 1968. The car is documented in the SAAC Registry and is accompanied by its build sheet, old title copies, owner’s manual, Deluxe Marti Report, and a restoration binder.