1967 Ford Mustang Shelby Cobra GT500

The Ford Mustang grew a size for the 1967 model year. Also the car became more powerful with a 390 cid (6.4 litre) big-block option, which boasted some 320 hp, considerably more than the racy Shelby GT-350 had to offer. The power-output of the 1967 GT-350 even was reduced from 306 to 290 hp to comply to noise restriction regulations.

But Shelby overclassed the 390 cid Mustang with a new model: the GT-500. In the GT-500 Ford’s new 428 cid V8 was fitted, a massive 7-litre unit producing a staggering 400 hp @ 5600 rpm. For insurance reasons however a moderate 355 hp was advertised.
The introduction of the more powerful engine options in the Shelby Mustangs meant that Ford’s 289 cid unit became available for the British built, Shelby derived Sunbeam Tiger Mk II, since it could be of no threat anymore on or off the track. Unfortunately the 289 powered Tiger was short lived due to the Chrysler take-over of the Rootes Group, the parent company of Sunbeam.

1967_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-500The 1967 Shelby Mustangs distinguished themselves from their more plain Ford cousins with elaborate use of fiberglass. A larger fiberglass nose was fitted, together with fiberglass hood, fenders and trunk lid. The hood featured an intimidating dual air intake scoop and the cut-off rear end showed an angular spoiler which blended into the rear fenders. The plastic rear roof windows gave way to impressive air-extraction scoops. A protruding lower front spoiler was a popular extra.

Early 1967 Shelby Mustangs showed driving lights placed close together in the center of the grill (as shown in the picture above); later models had these lights on the opposite sides of the grill. In all the 1967 Shelby Mustang looked aggressive and potent and left no doubts about the abilities of the car.

1967_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-500The interior also looked the part. It was racy with shiny metal panels, a large variety of dials and clocks and of course bucket seats. To top it off a large black-finish roll bar with built-in inertia-reel seatbelts was fitted.

Remarkably the 1967 Shelby Mustangs were down-priced from the 1966 models. Where the 1966 GT-350 needed US$ 4,600 to change owner, the 1967 GT-350 only took US$ 3,995 to buy (still 35% more than a standard Mustang). The new GT-500 was priced at US$ 4,195. For high-performance cars they were unusually affordable.

1967_Ford_Shelby_Mustang_GT-500Here you see the 428 cid V8 engine with the “Le Mans” cylinder heads and the (1968) “Cobra Jet” air intake of the GT-500 shown on this page. Really a piece of no-nonsense engineering: there’s no substitute for cubic inches (and oversized fittings) as they say in America. It’s all accessible and relatively easy to maintain for a thoroughbred car.

Like stated the GT-500 engine cranked out close to 400 hp and with the car weighing some 1360 kg, it had a ratio of 3.4 kg per horsepower. Compare that to the 5.7 kg per horsepower for the contemporary and more nimble Porsche 911 S and you’ll understand this car was a thrill to drive.

The 1967 Shelby Mustangs can be regarded as the last true Shelbys and are the most interesting of all in my opinion. I love these cars, even without starting the engine you’ll feel great in it. Still, production was relatively limited with 1,175 GT-350s and 2,050 GT-500s. Apparently there were a few (less than 50) GT500s produced with the 427 cid Medium Riser engine, which had starred before in the AC Shelby Cobra 427 Mk III.

Scribbled on November 7th 2008 in Ford, Ford Mustang, Ford Mustang GT, Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
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