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						68 Gt500 Kr 5
Rare Drop Top: 1968 Shelby GT500 KR

1968 Shelby GT500 KR convertible

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

On the topic of Shelby mustangs, it’s said that the cars became less Shelby, and more Mustang as the years went on. And when comparing the hard-edged 1965 GT350 track car to the 16-foot long 1970 GT350, one can see their point. But that’s not to say there weren’t some fantastic Shelby-branded Mustangs built in the late 1960s. Recognized as a sweet spot between comfort and performance, the 1968 Shelby GT500 KR convertible is a rare and desirable model with blue-chip collector status. Fresh from long-term ownership and boasting all its original sheet metal, this 1968 GT500 KR is definitely worthy of being called “king of the road.”

While introduced as hardcore, factory-built road racers in 1965, Shelby-branded Mustangs eventually transformed into enhanced street cars, and it’s not hard to see why. With the pony car wars in full effect, you cant hardly blame Ford for cashing in on its most iconic brand ambassador to build a successful street machine. And where Ford sold 562 Shelby Mustangs in 1965, they sold over 4,400 in 1968.

While the early competition-bred Shelbys will always be the most desirable, several later Mustangs are worth investing in, especially the 1968 GT500 KR. While it’s not as chiseled as its predecessors, this GT500 hit a critical balance of comfort and performance that made it an unrivaled thrill on public roadways.

The successful formula started with a high-performance image, which boasted fiberglass front fenders, a fiberglass hood with a massive pronounced scoop, a unique wide-mouth grille, tail spoiler, deluxe interior treatments and an integral roll bar. Cap it off with the iconic Shelby name and alloy wheels, and you’ve got yourself a true knockout. But of course the idea of a Shelby-branded Mustang carries its own notions of speed, and these cars needed fitting power plants to assure they could hold their own on the street.

For 1968, Ford improved on the previous 428 FE Police Interceptor engine for the GT500 by replacing it with the new 428 Cobra Jet. The 428 FE block was loaded with a stronger nodular iron crankshaft and beefier connecting rods. They then topped the whole combination off with cylinder heads and an intake borrowed from the Le Mans-winning 427 side-oiler engine. Ford rated the package at 335 hp and 440 lb-ft, likely underreported by as much as 100 hp.

The GT500 KR was fast enough on the street to earn its namesake, as it could click off 0-60 times under 7 seconds, but that’s not the whole picture. The ’68 KR had a softer ride than previous Shelbys, meaning it was a bit easier to live with day to day. In fact, period magazine ads described the KR as “for the man who wants everything in one car,” highlighting the fact that the Shelby was balanced enough for daily use. Add in a convertible top, and you’ve got a machine that would surely drive everyone wild, from the neighbors, to your average Mustang driver.

Even today, the market reflects just how good the average Shelby GT500 KR was. In the rare convertible configuration, nice examples get between $136,000-$200,000, with concours cars reaching as high as $270,000 and above. With all that in mind, it’s worth taking a look at this GT500 KR convertible on Denver Craigslist to see how it stacks up.

To start it’s an automatic, which generally would cut a healthy premium off the value, but in the case of the ’68 KR, they didn’t make many. Potentially as few 318 convertibles were made, and of those, only 51 were built with C6 automatic transmissions. Beyond that, this car is described as having all its original sheet metal, with only one repaint in its desirable Wimbledon white and guardsman blue combination. The ten-spoke alloys and long-term ownership bump the value up even further.

The seller is asking $157,000 for the car here on Denver Craigslist, which is probably pretty close to the mark. It surely looks to be better than average, and spotless inside and out.

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Muscle Cars Mustang Shelby