The GT500KR, or King of the Road, was Shelby’s offering for 1968. A big movie feature on Ford’s partnership with Carroll Shelby is now in production and will soon be playing in a multiplex near you. However, it concentrates on racing, which is a totally distinct facet of Shelby’s job at Ford. Particularly in vehicles that Ford was creating for the first time, they competed against Ferrari and the rest of the competition at Le Mans.
The GT500 played a very early and significant role in Shelby’s history as a manufacturer of performance vehicles. Today, this aspect of Shelby’s connection with Ford would be referred to as “tune.”
However, the 1965 GT350 and GT350R were the first Mustangs Shelby’s company modified before moving on to the GT500. The “simple” GT350 added 15-inch wheels with low-angle Goodyear tyres and reworked steering to the Mustang, increasing its output by 35 horsepower, to 306 horsepower, thanks to a 289 CID K-Code engine.
The Ford Galaxie’s stronger rear axle, Koni adjustable shock absorbers, and Kelsey-Hayes front disc brakes were all included as standard equipment. The early automobiles also had a clutch that may be characterised as heavy, making them a little challenging to drive. The GT350R increased the power even further, reaching 360 hp, although only 34 of these models were produced.
The 1967 GT500 was a totally different horse from the prior versions. For starters, it had a 428 CID engine with two 600-CFM Holley carburetors, rated at 355 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque, and connected with either a three-speed automatic or a four-speed manual transmission. An intake manifold made of cast aluminium was also part of the engine. Actually, Ford’s 427 CID V8 was the alternative engine choice for the GT500 in 1967; it was considerably more costly than the 428 CID one that Shelby had modified.
The GT500’s enhanced 140 mph speedometer, 8,000 rpm tachometer, and a few more extra instruments were also installed in the cockpit. The roll bar, however, was the greatest and most obvious alteration, as well as one of the most useful from a safety standpoint. Interior badges were sparse, with Cobras adorning the wood-trimmed three-spoke steering wheel and the passenger-side dash. With Cobra badging and a rocker stripe, there were plenty more chances to promote the car’s performance on the outside. In the days before smaller wheels, buyers had three options for wheels, all of which had a 15-inch diameter.
The first GT500 GT Mustang Parts’ reign was brief; by 1969, Shelby’s relationship with Ford had already started to deteriorate as Shelby sought to pursue personal endeavours. Even though Ford eventually modified several hundred unsold 1969 Shelby GT500 models into 1970 model year vehicles, 1969 was really the last year for the first-generation models of the Shelby GT500. Shelby and Ford put an end to the GT500 brand for quite some time.
Ford revived the GT500 Parts moniker only decades later, in 2005, and the car went into production two years later.