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.
Professionally Tuned Car
Livonia, Michigan, USA
Cobra Jet V8
Single Holley 735CFM 4-Barrel Carburetor
7014 cc / 428.0 in³
104.9 mm / 4.13 in
101.2 mm / 3.984 in
298.3 kw / 400 bhp
57.03 bhp per litre
247.07 bhp per tonne
596.56 nm / 440.0 ft lbs @ 3400 rpm
body / frame
Unitary Steel Monocoque w/Fibreglass Hood, Nose and Tail
Cast Aluminum Alloy
Discs w/Power Assist
Drums w/Power Assist
F 38.1 x 17.8 cm / 15 x 7 in
R 38.1 x 17.8 cm / 15 x 7 in
Recirculating Ball w/Power Assist
Wishbones w/Coil Springs, Tube Shocks, Anti-Roll Bar
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!