Mysterious 1967 Ford Mustang Sees Daylight After 40 Years, Turns Out It's a Shelby GT500

Identifying and authenticating a classic car is easy when you have a VIN plate under the hood, but things tend to become complicated when the vehicle's main ID is missing. And it may result in keeping a rare and sought-after classic locked up in a garage.
1967 Shelby GT500 barn find 8 photos
Photo: Auto Archaeology/YouTube
1967 Shelby GT500 barn find1967 Shelby GT500 barn find1967 Shelby GT500 barn find1967 Shelby GT500 barn find1967 Shelby GT500 barn find1967 Shelby GT500 barn find1967 Shelby GT500 barn find
This is exactly what happened to this 1967 Shelby GT500, which spent about 40 years in storage. The muscle car has been in the same family for decades, but it's missing the VIN tag under the hood, so the current owner had trouble getting proof of authenticity.

Thankfully, the folks over at The Shelby Research Group stepped in to help and YouTube's "Auto Archaeology" was invited to document the process. Dragged out into the light for the first time in about four decades, the Mustang definitely looks like a 1967 GT500. But is it an authentic Shelby or a very good replica?

Well, things seem very complicated at first. Not only the code on the door suggests that this pony is a mundane Mustang, but the air cleaner is also of the regular Ford variety. While it's not exactly weird for a Shelby to have a Ford air cleaner, these were used in early GT500 models with center-mounted grille lights.

Since this Mustang had them placed toward the edge of the grille, it should have featured a proper Shelby air clear. The hood is not the original one either, so they suspect that the car was involved in a crash at some point. That's when one of the doors might have been replaced too.

Fortunately enough, the guys at The Shelby Research Group know where to find additional VIN codes and managed to get one from the gearbox. And the number turns out to be related to a Shelby VIN, which means that the blue fastback is indeed an authentic GT500.

That's good news for the owner, but he's still a long way from getting proof of authenticity and a VIN replacement so he can put the car back on the road. But it's not just about bureaucracy. The GT500 needs a very expensive restoration to recapture its former glory. One that might cost the owner more than $100,000 if he wants a Concours-ready Shelby.

But it seems that he's willing to at least make it road-worthy, so the GT500 is being put back on its feet as we speak. Hopefully, we'll see the results soon enough.

While it's not the rarest Shelby out there, the 1967 GT500 is a somewhat scarce vehicle. Carroll Shelby's shop put together only 2,050 units that year, including a coupe and a convertible. That's 2,048 fastbacks. And when in excellent condition, these muscle cars can change hands for more than $175,000 at public auctions. Definitely not the kind of car you want to keep in a barn.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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