1968 Shelby GT500 KR Convertible

During the intensifying muscle car competition in the mid-1960s, Ford responded with a 1967 Mustang redesign, notably enlarged to accommodate the formidable FE-series engines. The introduction of the 390-powered GTA marked Ford’s foray into “big block” Mustangs. Recognizing the potential for improvement, Carroll Shelby pushed the envelope further by fitting the Interceptor 428 into the Mustang shell, birthing the GT500. Diverging from the stripped-down GT350 of 1965, the GT500 elevated the Shelby Mustang with enhanced luxury, refinement, and substantial power.

The 1968 GT500 underwent significant updates, sporting an aggressive front-end treatment with an extended hood, dual air scoops, cooling vents, and modified headlights. The rear end received tweaks such as new taillights with sequential indicators and an integrated rear spoiler. Reflecting Shelby’s upscale direction, the GT500 range embraced the convertible body style.

The GT500 KR (King of the Road) took the standard GT500’s prowess a step further by incorporating Ford’s NASCAR-derived 428 Cobra Jet V8. Equipped with 427 heads, a robust crank, rods, and pistons, the “CJ” was conservatively rated at 335bhp for insurance considerations. In reality, it unleashed over 400bhp and a formidable 440ft-lbs of torque. The chassis received upgrades, including larger brakes, body bracing, and staggered rear dampers to counter axle wind-up. A mere 1,251 GT500 KRs were produced in 1968, with only 318 convertibles, making authentic examples highly coveted among collectors and enthusiasts.

Source: Bonhams Cars