‘Little Red’ 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 – It Still EXISTS!
If you want to hear an amazing story, get ready to be dazzled. The legendary Shelby ‘Little Red’ 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 has a story that will knock your socks off!
Aptly nicknamed “Little Red”, this Mustang was an experimental 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 that was loaned to Carroll Shelby to play with as a test subject for his new line of Shelby Mustangs. Shelby had been tinkering with new ideas, and needed a subject for his experiments. He chose two cars – one he called “The Green Hornet” and one called “Little Red”. These were the ONLY two Shelby GT 500 notchback coupes with a vinyl roof of that year. This makes these two cars among the rarest cars in the World, and pieces of automotive history.
Shelby was given these two cars to do with as he wished. The purpose of having these two cars was that Shelby and his team could come up with the next groundbreaking, earth shattering ideas to make the Shelby GT 500 for 1968. The team at Ford needed a car that could compete with some of the other cars the competition was offering in stock car racing, and the Shelby GT 500 was their best bet. Of course, as you would imagine, Shelby decided to try out different body panels, engines, transmissions, and configurations to ensure the best performance. His experiments resulted in an entirely new breed of Pony cars that lives on today.
“Little Red” was given a major upgrade, and configured with…. a supercharged 428 V8, mated with a 3 speed automatic transmission. We would expect nothing less of Shelby. The car was also given aesthetic upgrades, a new paint scheme, and some interior changes. “Little Red” appeared in Los Angeles, California at a Ford preview event after it had been modified. The people at Ford loved the appearance and stance of this car. The styling of this car inspired an entirely new option for Ford – the “California Special”. Although the production run did not receive the supercharged 428 V8, it was still an inspirational piece of automotive history that lives on today.
The standard practice for prototype cars at this point in time was to tinker with them, show them on the circuit, then send them to the crusher. The Green Hornet was discovered in 1971 and was saved at that time. The Green Hornet still exists today, and is restored to its former glory. However, Little Red was believed to have been crushed around the same time. Researchers would from time to time try to find the original Little Red, but none had been successful. The assumption was that after 50 years of searching and not finding it, this car must have been destroyed ages ago. An amateur sleuth in Texas realized in 2018 that the researchers had made a mistake. They were all searching for the Shelby VIN to find out where the car had gone. No one had thought to look for the original Ford VIN number in their research. Since this was an experimental car, it had both VIN numbers…one issued by Ford, and another by Shelby when he made it into a GT 500. This was the clue that tipped off the search, and resulted in finding the original Little Red. By searching for the Ford VIN, the researcher found it was registered in Texas. Little Red STILL EXISTED!!
The Plot Thickens
The story gets even more interesting. The car was traced back to the early 1970s, where it had been returned to its naturally aspirated form and sold to a Ford dealership. It was then sold to a wounded Vietnam veteran in Littleton, Colorado, who decided to live large and buy this Boss Hoss from Courtesy Ford. He had no idea it was anything other than a regular GT500, just like the others on the lot. He drove it for a couple of years, but did not find it to be very street-friendly, and sold it a couple of years later to a guy in Wyoming. This guy from Wyoming moved to Texas, and stored it in a storage container. Someone broke into the container, and stole a few key parts from the car. This left Little Red inoperable, and in disrepair.
After it was robbed of parts, the owner moved it to his cousins house to store on his property in Weatherford, Texas. This is how the researcher found the original Little Red. It had no engine or transmission, no front fenders or hood, and was basically just a shell of its former self. The car was purchased from the owner, and restoration began. The new owner even created a website to find information about it, as the Shelby corporation had only limited data.
As of today, this piece of history has been restored to its former glory, and is estimated to be worth millions of dollars. The original ‘Little Red’ 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 was saved and lives on. It is amazing that this piece of history survived and is once again restored to its former glory, ready to show off its Little Red paint scheme with vinyl roof.