In 1965 and 1966, Carroll Shelby produced only one model based on the Ford Mustang – the G.T. 350, albeit with a few options. Hot on the heels of their summer victory at Le Mans, and after two years of selling their Mustang-based G.T. 350 Fastback, Shelby American and the Ford Motor Company set into motion their aggressive plan for their 1967 Shelby G.T. models. Instead of just two models, Shelby envisioned six. Highlights of this plan included dramatic styling changes utilizing lightweight fiberglass, a new G.T. 500 model powered by a “dual quad” 428-cu.in. engine, a mid-year introduction of a convertible body style, and consideration of adding a coupe (hardtop) variant. All three body styles would be offered in both the G.T. 350 and G.T. 500 models.
On August 8th, 1966, Shelby American placed their initial orders, including G.T. 350 “show” cars for the dealer launch event, a small inventory, and an assortment of vehicles for engineering use. There were also three (3) fully-optioned G.T. 500 units (a fastback, a coupe, and a convertible), sequentially-ordered, each painted Candy-apple Red and equipped with air-conditioning, California emissions, AM radio, and Deluxe wheels—to serve advertising and public relations roles. Ford delivered the first G.T. 350 cars in early October, but Shelby fiberglass fitment and quality control issues prevented the California operation from hitting its stride. In addition, Ford wouldn’t have the G.T. 500’s unique 428-8V Special Interceptor engine ready for more than another month. The first G.T. 500 Fastback was expedited, and once at Shelby American, #0100 proceeded to fulfill its original PR role as a magazine test car. Unfortunately, production delays would ultimately prevent the two additional body styles from being offered to the public as mid-year models.
In January 1967, as the operation was slowly recovering, Shelby American began conceptualizing the incremental changes they envisioned for next year’s ‘68 Shelby G.T. models. Several cars, including the ’67 Coupe (#0131) and the ’67 Convertible (#0139), were repurposed as ’68 G.T. engineering and styling concept vehicles. Some documents even referred to these cars as “prototypes” when serving as styling concepts for Shelby’s vision of what the ’68 G.T. would be. Brian Styles calls Shelby’s interpretation of the ’68 G.T. model the “Lost Chapter” in Shelby American History. Before discovering the important January 1967 document outlining Shelby’s own vision for the ’68 G.T., only Ford’s final design of the ’68 was known.
With delayed deliveries and reduced demand, Shelby American placed their last Fastback orders with Ford in March 1967, sealing the fate that additional convertible and coupe variants would never get built. This resulted in the first ’67 G.T. 500 Coupe (#0131) and first ’67 G.T. 500 Convertible (#0139) becoming the ONLY multi-carbureted Mustangs of each body style ever to be built by Ford and therefore the only examples ever completed by Shelby American. All three cars (#0100, #0131, #0139) continued to be used for marketing and engineering purposes for nearly another 18 months, well after the California operation was spun down, reconfigured as Shelby Automotive, and then relocated to Ionia, MI.