Little Red Shelby GT 500 Ford Mustang prototype found
Long thought crushed and lost to time, a fascinating piece of Shelby and Ford history has recently been found. The car is known as “Little Red” and it’s a one-off GT500 notchback coupe used by Shelby American to develop performance parts.
Back in 1967, Ford sent Carroll Shelby and his team a Mustang GT notchback coupe with a vinyl roof. This was an extremely rare model fitted with the 428 cubic-inch V-8 engine. In fact, it’s the only GT coupe that came from the factory wearing a pair of four-barrel carburetors. When Ford stuffed the 428 between the front fenders of this coupe, it was just the second time the company had done so with a Mustang and the first time with a notchback coupe.
The Shelby GT500 was only offered to the public in convertible and fastback models. That makes Little Red a special one-off prototype as it’s the only coupe to get the GT500 goods. Shelby took it a bit further, though, by adding a supercharger to the mighty 428 V-8.
According to Fox News, Little Red served as a development car for Shelby and also did promotional duty around Los Angeles. After that, the Mustang was shipped back to Ford as it was slated to be crushed. Somehow the car avoided the crusher and wound up at a dealership in Colorado where it was sold to a wounded Vietnam veteran. He drove it for a few years before selling it to an owner in Wyoming. That second owner moved to Texas and brought the car with him. The special Shelby GT500 was placed in storage, but someone broke in and stole various parts from the car.
Eventually, the owner took the Mustang to a cousin’s house and left it in the yard, among several other cars. That’s where Craig Jackson from the Barrett-Jackson auction house found the car. Working with classic car specialist Jason Billups and Mustang expert Kevin Marti, they found and authenticated the car. The key to finding the car was searching for it using its original Ford Mustang VIN instead of a Shelby-created VIN like many had previously tried.
Jackson purchased the car and plans to restore it to its former glory. It will sit alongside another Shelby prototype that Jackson owns, which is known as the Green Hornet. Back in 2013, Jackson’s Green Hornet received a bid for $1.9 million when he tried to auction it off, but that number didn’t meet his reserve. Now Jackson has another Shelby prototype. We imagine the future value of the pair to be sky high.
Jackson faces an uphill battle restoring the car, though, as accurate records of Little Red are scarce. To aid in the restoration process, Craig Jackson is asking for anyone with insight and knowledge of this car to reach out. He’s created the ShelbyPrototypeCoupes.com website to document the build and to serve as the place for folks to share any information they have that might help the process.