The nameplate was also short-lived. Carroll ended his collaboration with Ford in the Summer of 1969, and the GT500 went into the history books until it was revived in 2005. When that happened, Ford had built only 5,464 units.
Exactly 2,050 left the assembly line in 1967. All but two of them (a convertible and a coupe) were fastback models. 1968 saw 1,542 cars hit showrooms. This time around, Ford offered a production drop-top that was favored by 402 customers. In 1969, Ford put together 1,872 examples before Carroll Shelby cut off the deal.
Although the GT500 found its way into showrooms in 1970, no vehicles were actually built that model year. Ford sold examples that didn't find owners in 1969. The cars got 1970 VINs and a few cosmetic changes, including a front chin spoiler and twin black hood stripes. Everything else remained unchanged from 1969 when the GT500 and GT350 looked notably different than the regular Ford Mustang.
According to Mustang historians, only 286 GT500 were sold as 1970 models, which makes this model year the rarest for this Shelby nameplate. There are no records as to how many were convertibles, but the number is likely much lower than 40 units. The red example you see here is one of them and just went under the hammer for more than a quarter-million bucks.
What makes it so valuable? Well, for starters, what you see is the result of a rotisserie restoration. This car looks spotless inside and out, and it's highly original. It comes with solid documentation, and it's part of the Shelby Registry. And like any sought-after Ford, it has a Deluxe Marti Report.
The latter proves that the GT500 is a highly optioned-up rig and uncovers that this Shelby is a one-of-one gem. And it's not just the color-equipment combo that makes it unique. This GT500 also features the Super Cobra Jet Drag Pack bundle, a rare sight on this model regardless of the model year.
The package added an engine oil cooler, upgraded crankshaft and flywheel, and a traction-lock differential, which made the car more suitable for the drag strip. It also turned a Cobra Jet into a Super Cobra Jet.
All of the above prompted Shelby Mustang enthusiasts who attended Mecum's Kansas City 2023 auction to bid beyond the GT500's $200,000 reserve. The hammer fell at $260,000 ($286,000 including fees), a record for a 1970-model-year Shelby.
As of this writing, the muscle car is also the second most expensive vehicle from the event, surpassed only by a 2005 Ford GT that got $429,000. The classic fetched more than a 2022 Ford Shelby GT500H ($220,000) and a 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 ($214,500). Watch the drama unfold in the video below.