You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

1968 Shelby GT500 KR Barn Find

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 7/17/2018 Hot Rod Network Staff
001-shelby-500kr-front-left-overall

There has been a steady stream in recent years of desirable cars coming to light that have been, in many instances, tucked away for decades. Many of these cars were purchased when they were still dirt-cheap and not viewed as the blue chip investments that they've become. Time has a way of sorting some things out, and some of the folks that purchased these cars when they were affordable have slowly come to the realization that they will never do anything with them and have decided to sell them, or they've passed away and their families subsequently faced with that decision. This 1968 Shelby GT500 KR owned by Art Winner that we recently found in New Jersey is the result of the latter. He passed away a few months ago and left behind an estate that included properties, and two cars. In his will he specified that some of the property, and both cars, would be auctioned off and the proceeds given to a number of charities. Faced with that task, the executor of his will made the assets available for biding, which included the Shelby. We found out about the Shelby as a result of a Facebook post that eventually put us in contact with the person responsible for the sale of the car. Some of the history on the car that we were able to gather has come from some of the family members.

Research

Art's ownership of the Shelby started in 1976 in Palmyra, NJ when he purchased it from the original owner. It was parked in the guys back yard and he asked if it was for sale, which it apparently was. We couldn't get any info on him but we were told that it was originally delivered to Pletcher Ford located on the Fairway in Glenside, PA. That dealership was only open at that location for a few years, but in that span of time moved quite a few Shelby's through their showroom floor. Evidence of the car coming from that dealership can be found on the rear valance. On Mustangs, they usually placed the "By Pletcher" dealer emblem above the left rear exhaust cutout. This emblem required two holes to be drilled. While the emblem is gone, the two holes in that location are present on the car.

Art used the Shelby sparingly as daily transportation, and as a diehard Ford guy, it was above all the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. It was conveyed to us that he was a bit of a hell raiser that liked speed, and the Shelby was allegedly used a few times to outrun the law. He also had a clear understanding that it was something special, even back in the late 70s. We were told that the tipping point that led him to park the car after only a few years came about as a result of someone rear ending it and damaging the rear panel. As a result of that incident it was parked in his barn. The Shelby's void was filled with a 1968 Mustang GT with a juiced up 427. That became his new hell raiser, and from what we were told, that was also involved in a few chases from the law.

The Shelby stayed in the barn for many years until some of the land that was part of the farm was taken over by the township. As a result of that land grab a storage building was erected at his house, at which point the car was moved there. It was rolled into that building and rarely saw the light of day. As evidenced by the inspection sticker on the window that dates to 1995, it wasn't a complete derelict that was abandoned. Art was always worried that people knew that he had the car, and that secrecy is evident, as some of his family members actually don't recall ever seeing him drive it.

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

A few years ago, the car was pulled out of its resting spot and a new set of tires installed. It still had the original tires that could no longer hold air, so they were replaced. The fluids were checked and topped off, and it was given a bath. He apparently took it for a short spin, and after that it was again wheeled back into the building where it would again collect another layer of dust.

When Art passed, word got out that the Shelby was for sale. It initially popped up in some forums, which drew a few tire kickers out of the woodwork who were looking for a bargain with ridiculous low-ball offers. When a legitimate offer was given the deal was sealed. Its new residence is in Iowa and chances are that it will be on display at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in its unrestored state (missing snorkel, heat shield, s-tube, starter delay, and complete smog system).

TECH NOTES

Who: Art Winner

What: 1968 Shelby 500 KR

Where: Cinnaminson, NJ

Engine: For 1968 Ford installed the 428 cubic-inch Cobra Jet engine and labeled the car as a GT500 KR, which stood for "King of the Road". Rated at 335 horses, it was by all accounts underrated for insurance purposes with actual output over 400 horses. Art's car still has the original numbers-matching 428 under the hood, however some items are missing. The most noticeable is the air cleaner assembly, which is missing some of its pieces. Another key set of components that were often ditched by many car owners and is missing on this GT500 KR is the smog emissions system. The distributor is correct for this car, however, the radiator, while stamped with FoMoCo is incorrect, and the fan shroud is also long gone. Wiring on the car has also been modified over the years and not in a factory correct configuration.

Induction: All GT500 KRs used a cast iron intake manifold that was painted Ford blue. They were quite heavy and often swapped by owners with an aluminum unit. Art went that route on this car with an aluminum intake. There were two carburetor options on the GT500 KR depending on the choice of shifting. Since this one is equipped with the 4-speed, it still wears the correct 735 cfm Holley C80F-9510-AA 4-barrel carburetor that it originally came with. Thankfully Art was a bit of a pack rat when it came to engine parts, so the original intake was still sitting on a shelf and was included in the sale of the car.

Transmission: If you ordered a 4-speed equipped GT500 KR in 1968, you got Ford's Toploader manual box. On Art's Shelby, at some point in time it was replaced with another 4-speed Toploader with an early 1970 date code.

Rearend: Standard on all non AC GT500 KRs was a 9-inch rear with a 3.50:1 ratio Traction-Lok and 31-spline axles. These are still in place on Art's Shelby.

Chassis/suspension: Art's Shelby still retains most of the original suspension parts that came on the car but the shocks do appear to have been replaced at some point.

Brakes: Braking duties on this Shelby consist of 11.3-inch Kelsey-Hayes power assisted discs up front and 10x3-inch drums at the rear. This was the configuration that it rolled off the assembly line with.

Exhaust: The exhaust system that runs back from the original manifolds in a combination of OEM and aftermarket pieces. A set of Thrush mufflers were installed and run back to the rear. The rear tips appear to be original to the car and are welded to the pipes, which was done on all GT500 KRs.

Wheels/Tires: In 1968 the standard wheel choice for the GT500 KR consisted of 15x6 stamped steel rims painted in a semi gloss finish with E70x15 Good Year Polyglas tires, and 5-spoke Shelby hubcaps. On Art's car the original rims are still there as are the hubcaps. The Good Year tires are gone, and in their place some radial replacements that were added a few years ago. We were told the original tires could no longer hold air to safely move the car around so they were replaced.

Paint/body: The body on Art's Shelby is remarkably solid with no rust or indication that it was ever hit. We were told that he was tapped in the rear at some point but couldn't find any signs of such damage. The Acapulco Blue Metallic paint appears to be all original, however, the rear tail panel has been sprayed in black which could lend some credence to rear end damage. The car was covered in dust when we photographed it so it was very difficult to get a fair assessment of the actual condition of the paint, however we did see photos from a few years ago when it was washed off and it looked quite presentable. All the Shelby pieces are in place and in good condition. The car is missing the fender-mounted emblems on both sides. These emblems were affixed with double sided automotive adhesive and easily removed without damaging the paint. The correct Lucas fog lights and original sealed beam headlights are also original.

Interior: Interiors in the 1968 GT 500 KRs shared many of the pieces with the Mustang, however, they did come with a Shelby Cobra badged steering wheel and dash, a Shelby embossed armrest, 140 MPH speedometer and 8,000 RPM tach, along with a console, Shelby shifter, auxiliary Stewart Warner (SW) gauges, and Shelby roll bar. On Art's KR much of what came on the car is still there, and in decent condition for a car that has been sitting for decades. The carpet is original, as are the black Comfortweave seats. The seats and armrest are in excellent condition without any signs of wear, rips, tears, or discoloration they're just dirty. The same can't be said for the headliner as that has a large tear. There are notable items missing, like the original shifter. We assume that when the 4-speed was swapped, Art also opted to replace it with a Hurst shifter. The original SW gauges in the console were also replaced, as was the Philco AM radio with an AM/FM unit.

Follow MSN Autos on Facebook and Twitter

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from HOT ROD

Loading...

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon