1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500

What a difference 50 years can make

by | Dec 5, 2019 | Reviews

Photo Credit: John Lamm

1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500

What a difference 50 years can make

by | Dec 5, 2019 | Reviews

Photo Credit: John Lamm

After a very successful launch in 1964, Ford’s Mustang came up for its first redesign in 1967. While the car’s wheelbase and overall height remained the same, the new Mustang was about 2 inches longer and wider. This meant Ford could now fit its big-block 427- and 428-cubic-inch V-8s in the pony car.

There was also something of a character change with the new Shelby Mustangs. While the GT350 carried on with its predecessor’s image as a road racer, the 1967 GT500 was more of a muscle car. While testing the 2020 Shelby GT500, we had a chance to sample the 1967 version and get a sense of what a difference 50 years can make.

Carroll Shelby began modifying Mustangs in 1965 with the GT350 using a small-block V-8 engine. Come 1967; there was a second model, the GT500 with a big 7.0-liter (428-cubic-inch) V-8 engine. This model was considered very cool in the day with four large lights out front, intakes aft of the doors and the tall rear spoiler. 

The original price of a 1967 GT500 was around $4,200. Other than some 1969 versions carried over as 1970 models, this was the last run of Shelby Mustangs until 2005. These days you’d be lucky to get a nice 1967 GT500 for $100,000 and could easily triple that for the best-of-show models. This particular 1967 Shelby belongs to Hagerty, the insurance company.

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The Shelby Mustangs were so different back then. The flat seats offered little lateral or lumbar support. The car included seatbelts, but not much else in the way of safety equipment was provided. The large thin-rim steering wheel has a cobra in its center. It feels rightly vintage, which is the opposite of today’s vehicles that have small Alcantara-wrapped wheels. The manual-crank windows and mechanical gauges all in a functional layout are also a thing of the past.

Fans have to love the COBRA rocker arm covers and the extended air cleaner cover for the two 4-barrel Holley carburetors atop the big V-8 engine. The 7.0-liter engine was said to have 355 horsepower at 5400 rpm and 420 lb-ft of torque at 3200 rpm. Both manual and automatic transmissions were available. The 0-60 time was about 6.2-6.5 seconds and the quarter-mile in the mid-14 second range, depending on the gearbox. 

If you were given a sunny Saturday morning and a smooth wandering country road, which GT500 would you prefer? In today’s version, you might well be thinking of how quickly you could get down that pavement, windows up, satellite radio playing loudly. With the 1967 Shelby, there’s a chance you might still be considering your speed, but likely with the windows down and the radio off. And there’s just something about the feel of that thin-rim steering wheel.

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