Beauty Industry Bulletins

1968 Shelby Mustang GT500KR spent decades in a farm barn in need of a nose job

The GT500 has spawned a few infrequent iterations as well. The Super Snake is perhaps the most iconic. Equipped with a race-ready 427 FE grinder from the GT40, it hit the road with a full 650 hp. But Shelby only built a prototype due to limited interest in such a monster.

But in 1968, Carroll decided to plug the Cobra Jet V8 into the GT500 to create the KR. The abbreviation for “King of the Road” was the KR, apart from the engine and the stickers, very similar to the regular GT500. Rated at 335 hp on paper, the Cobra Jet mill was actually less powerful than the 355 hp 428 FE in the GT500. However, it later turned out that KR was good for 435 horsepower.

While the Cobra Jet engine remained stock, it came with aluminum valve covers emblazoned with “Cobra LeMans” to celebrate Ford’s victory over Ferrari in the Le Mans 24 Hours of 1966 and 1967.

Shelby produced 4,658 cars in 1968, of which 1,664 were GT350s. GT500 production comprised 1,542 units, while the GT500KR rolled off the assembly line in 1,452 units. This makes the KR the rarest Shelby-designed Mustang built this year.

Of course, they are difficult to find and, in excellent condition, are quite expensive. The chances of finding one forgotten in a barn are slim, but here’s a KR that was recently taken from long-term storage somewhere in Illinois.

Documented by YouTube’s Auto Archeology, this 1968 GT500KR reportedly spent 20 years in a farmer’s barn before being moved to another building where it stood for another 10 years. That’s a whopping 30 years off the road and a rather sad fate for such a rare muscle car.

The story is pretty well known. The owner kept it hoping to restore it at some point, but that day never came. Fortunately, he agreed to sell it and old Shelby found a new home. One that provides the much needed refresher.

The car may not be in the best shape at the moment, but it’s a fantastic survivor. A white car from the factory, the GT500KR was repainted red at some point. But whoever restored the exterior did a good job putting the GT500-specific decals back on the side skirts.

But while the paint isn’t original, the Magstar wheels are. And they’re pretty rare too. The interior is also original and in solid shape, including the seats that have been removed for storage.

And don’t be fooled by the missing front section, this car is complete and comes with the original, matching-number 428 V8 engine. Yes, it does need a nose job and the grinder has to find its way back under the hood, but it’s a solid car that could become roadworthy without a full and expensive restoration.

But of course this Shelby, like every GT500KR out there, would be better off with a frame-off restoration because it has the potential to become a Concours-winning classic.

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