1968 Shelby GT500KR Fastback

Forty years ago, at the 1967 New York Auto Show, Ford introduced the most powerful Shelby Mustang ever. The 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500KR was a mid-year introduction, based on the 1968 Shelby GT500. Ford added ‘Cobra’ to the Shelby’s moniker to help usher in the beginning of a new performance era at the company. The Cobra name referred to the new 428 Cobra Jet V-8 that was planted under the KR’s custom fiberglass hood. It was the engine that would once again vault the Mustang to the head of the pack.

GT500 KR represented Mustang’s evolution of Mustang from both Shelby’s and Ford’s standpoint. In 1967 Ford redesigned the Mustang to allow both big and small engines and by 1968 the 428 Police Interceptor FE big-block was on the option list. These Production R-code Mustangs featured front Super Cobra Jet Engines, disc brakes and a functional ram-air scoop which served as a good basis for the Shelby Mustang 500 KR.

Shelby’s Mustang offered many improvements for a customer demanding a ‘King of the Road’ Cobra. A redesigned front end, hood and rear end, with 1967 Cougar tail lights, were manufactured out of fiber glass. While the fiberglass helped reduce the weight of these components, the 1967 body style was much larger and heavier than preceding models. As an example of how good Shelby-Ford relationship was, the car send to Shelby did not have hoods or front ends.

Interior appointments were very similar to the deluxe interiors delivered by Ford. Shelby only installed a functional roll bar and a wood-rimmed steering wheel.

Ford conservatively rated the 428 CJ at 335-horsepower, but in reality it made more than 400-horsepower and 440 pounds-feet of torque. The KR model was also equipped with a modified suspension and was offered both in fastback and convertible models. Ford dealers sold 1,570 GT500KR models in 1968, 1053 fastbacks and 517 convertibles.

In Detail

typeProfessionally Tuned Car
built atLivonia, Michigan, USA
price $$ 4,594
engineCobra Jet V8
positionFront Longitudinal
aspirationNatural
block materialCast Iron
valvetrainOHV
fuel feedSingle Holley 735CFM 4-Barrel Carburetor
displacement7014 cc / 428.0 in³
bore104.9 mm / 4.13 in
stroke101.2 mm / 3.984 in
compression10.7:1
power298.3 kw / 400 bhp
specific output57.03 bhp per litre
bhp/weight247.07 bhp per tonne
torque596.56 nm / 440.0 ft lbs @ 3400 rpm
body / frameUnitary Steel Monocoque w/Fibreglass Hood, Nose and Tail
driven wheelsRWD w/Traction-Lok
wheel typeCast Aluminum Alloy
front tiresF60-15 Goodyear
rear tiresF60-15 Goodyear
front brakesDiscs w/Power Assist
rear brakesDrums w/Power Assist
front wheelsF 38.1 x 17.8 cm / 15 x 7 in
rear wheelsR 38.1 x 17.8 cm / 15 x 7 in
steeringRecirculating Ball w/Power Assist
f suspensionWishbones w/Coil Springs, Tube Shocks, Anti-Roll Bar
r suspensionLive Axle w/Semi-Elliptic Springs, Tube Shocks
curb weight1619 kg / 3569 lbs
wheelbase2743 mm / 108.0 in
front track1476 mm / 58.1 in
rear track1476 mm / 58.1 in
length4663 mm / 183.6 in
width1801 mm / 70.9 in
height1316 mm / 51.8 in
transmissionTop Loader 4-Speed Manual
gear ratios2.32:1, 1.69:1, 1.21:1, 1.00:1
final drive3.25:1
top speed~212.39 kph / 132 mph
0 – 60 mph~6.8 seconds
0 – 100 mph~14.6 seconds
0 – 1/4 mile~14.0 seconds
fuel capacity60.56 litres or 16 gal.

Auction Sales History

1968 Shelby GT 500 KR Fastback 8T02R206148 – sold for $101,750 Thorough Professional Restoration Completed in 2009. Meticulously Detailed. Authenticated by Marti Report and Copy of Window Sticker. Eligible for SAAC Meets and Muscle Car Tours.
Auction Source: The 2013 Scottsdale Auctions by Gooding & Company
1968 Shelby GT500 KR Fastback 428 CI, Automatic – did not sell for $130,000 Nut and bolt rotisserie restoration. Shelby registry. Automatic transmission. Believed to be matching numbers vehicles. The car speaks for itself!
Auction Source: 2010 Mecum at Monterey

1968 Shelby GT 500 KR Fastback – sold for $99,000

ubject to a sympathetic restoration, this is a very original 1968 Shelby GT 500 KR Fastback painted in its original Ford Acapulco Blue livery with the characteristic black interior. The paintwork and complete interior are reportedly in excellent condition.

The powerful Cobra Jet V8 engine has been completely serviced, rebuilt and detailed as new. The car runs effortlessly and cool without overheating, but most importantly to Shelby enthusiasts, it has the original date-code correct engine block, transmission and rear end and is also listed in the Shelby American World Registry. This 1968 Shelby GT 500 KR Fastback comes with the Marti Report and authentication that confirms it is one of only 1,053 GT500 KR Fastbacks built.

Additionally, it is equipped with power steering, power front disc brakes and additional options including a Sportdeck fold-down rear seat, Tilt-Away steering column, tinted glass and, most importantly, factory air conditioning, In fact, only 299 GT500KRs were ordered with air conditioning, making this example very rare indeed!

Auction Source: 2009 RM Auctions Sports & Classics of Monterey