Return Of The King: 50th Anniversary GT500KR

(Photo Credit: Shelby American)

Fifty years is quite a long time. It’s more than half a decade if you really wanted to get granular. In 1968, the Mustang GT was beginning to dip in sales while the Mach 1 of the same model-year skyrocketed, and the U.S. was less than a year away from putting a man on the moon for the first time. A handful of crowning achievements were accomplished during the 20th century, including the production of one of the most capable Mustangs of all time – the 1968 Shelby GT500KR.

There’s never been a better time to be a Shelby fan. – Gary Patterson, Shelby American, Inc.

On January 20, 2018, during the 47th annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction, Shelby American will debut the continuation GT500KR Mustang. The continuation cars will use 1960s-era Mustang donor cars with an official Shelby serial number which will be documented in the official Shelby registry.

“Carroll Shelby was truly ‘the king of the road’ during the 1960s,” Joe Conway, CEO of Shelby American, said. “His racing team dominated just about every form of motorsports and his cars ruled the road. As the 1968 Shelby GT500KR is often considered the ultimate symbol of that era, Shelby American will offer a handful of continuation KR’s to honor both the man and what many call the golden age of the American muscle car.”

Dubbed the ‘King of the Road,’ the brute Shelby was above the pay-grade of the already heavily established GT500 lineage. Its first appearance was in February of 1968, so its only fitting that Shelby American, Inc. would plan to debut the 50th anniversary continuation cars around the same time this year.

It’s no secret that Shelby has steadily diversified its line-up of vehicles over the last decade, but if we’re being honest, the continuation of the 1968 GT500KRs was completely out of left field, but we love pleasant surprises.

“Shelby American has the most diverse vehicle lineup of any automaker in the world,” Shelby American President Gary Patterson said. “An enthusiast can buy a modern muscle truck, an off-road capable pickup, or a sports car based on the current generation Ford Mustang.”

Look familiar? That’s a 428ci FE big-block Ford V8 under the hood.

Gary didn’t spare any details, reminding us that Shelby also offers three versions of its historic Cobra, a GT40 continuation and a genuine Shelby Cobra Daytona Fastback. With the addition of a ‘new’ 1968 Shelby GT500KR through Shelby American, all of its vehicles offer a thrilling driving experience each in their own unique way.

Make no mistake, these cars are destined to become instant collectables. The company plans to produce no more than 20 examples – 10 fastbacks and 10 convertibles. With a price tag of just under $250,000 we have a feeling the ‘sign-up sheet’ is going to fill fast.

Are you more of a convertible fan? Don’t worry, Shelby has you covered too…

Quick Performance Stats

• 428ci FE V8 engine w/ Holley carburetor

• C6 automatic or manual transmission

• Original 9-inch rearend w/ Traction-Lok 3.70 differential

• 31-splined axles

• Steel driveshaft

• Original exhaust manifolds, 2.25-inch dual ‘Turbo exhaust’ w/ twin tip stainless extensions

• Original-style power steering

• Front coil springs, four-leaf springs, export brace 1-inch swabar

• Original style single-piston front disc brakes

• 2-inch rear drum brakes, dual-reservoir master cylinder

• Mallory ignition, Mallory distributor and coil, factory style wiring

• Standard 16-gallon galvanized tank, mechanical fuel pump

• Factory-style four-row radiator

Only the finest candidates will be submitted for high-performance surgery that will take place at the Shelby American facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.These KRs will use Ford FE-based 428ci V8s, with the choice of a manual or automatic transmissions, and you can bet it all on black that a pair of high-performance brakes and suspension will find its way onto your new Shelby. Likewise, any standard Shelby color from 1968 can be chosen, as the cars will be built to order.

Moreover, like the 50th anniversary edition Shelby Cobras, anniversary badges find themselves adorned throughout.

“The 1968 Shelby G.T.500KR was aggressive and visceral,” Gary enthused. “For those who can remember when the KR was introduced, or younger enthusiasts hoping to create their own memories, this new King of the Road represents a rare second chance to own a very special muscle car built just for them. This car represents a celebration of our roots, along with a validation of our future. There’s never been a better time to be a Shelby fan.”

No questioning that, Gary.

About the author

Harrison Noble

Living in San Diego for most of his life, Harrison was exposed to a variety of cars at an early age. His passion for anything that is fast, or has a V8, brought him to Power Automedia.
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