Want to buy a Shelby Mustang?

Looking for a Shelby Mustang

Looking for a Shelby Mustang?

I get a number of emails each week from people wanting to know where to buy a Shelby Mustang that needs restoration. Most of the writers are wanting a 1967 GT 500, no doubt due to the movie "Gone in 60 Seconds".. Since I get so many emails on this topic I want to share my response on this page.

Shelby Mustangs have been sought after since the 60's. Enthusiasts have been trying to find a good deal on a Shelby Mustang for over 30 years. Many of the owners I know have owned their cars for many years. I've had mine for 20 years. The days of finding one stuck in a barn are all but over. Almost all the Shelby Mustangs in owners hands have been restored at one time or another. It is real rare to find an all original Shelby Mustang. And even if you could, the car will not be inexpensive.

How many cars could still be out there "undiscovered"? SAAC, the Shelby American Automobile Club, estimates that 75% of these cars survived. SAAC runs a registry for these cars. Most of the 75% are found listed in SAAC's Registry available from www.SAAC.com. So if 75% of the cars are said to have survived that leaves up to 25% out there undiscovered or non-existent. Let's look at those numbers:

Year Production
1965 562 140
1966 2,380 595
1967 3,225 806
GT 350 1,175 294
GT 500 2,048 512


4,451 1,113
GT 350 Fastback 1,253 313
GT 350 Convertible 404 101
GT 500 Fastback 1,140 285
GT 500 Convertible 402 100
GT 500 KR Fastback 933 233
GT 500 KR Convertible 318 80


3,294 824
GT 350 Sportsroof 935 234
GT 350 Convertible 194 49
GT 500 Sportsroof 1,536 384
GT 500 Convertible 335 84


13,912 3,478

So if we use SAAC's figure of 25% that leaves a maximum of 3,478 Shelby Mustangs unaccounted. That is a national (world) figure. If you are wanting a 1967 GT 500 there might be 512 out there. Yes, I still hear about someone finding a Shelby Mustang behind a garage or in a barn. But that is very rare. And the finder is asking me about buying it for himself and wanting to know about the car, not looking for a buyer. So the point being, it is going to be a matter of luck to find one that needs restoration for a cheap price.

While we are talking about a good deal on a Shelby Mustang, what is a good deal? Even if you were to find one that you could restore, that process is getting pretty expensive. Take a look at my '68 GT 350. I paid $3,500 for it in 1982. A pretty good deal even then, except the owner was wanting a lot more for it. I just happen to be in the right place at the right time to get it for that price. And the car needed a lot of help. The floors were gone, the quarters and fenders were rusted in the typical Mustang areas. The top was pushed in. The interior was fair at best. The clutch and headers were shot. It needed paint. And later I found out the Top Loader needed new gears and synchros. Over the last 20 years I have restored the car. New steel, paint, engine rebuild, new interior, transmission rebuild, etc. not much left to do. Not counting the maintenance, I have just over $25,000 in the car. Not bad so far unless you consider I only paid $1,000 for the body work, got a real good deal on the engine rebuild and the quarters & fenders 19 years ago, did most of the work myself or with a friend's help. Today that body work & paint could cost over $10,000. The point of going through this is to say, finding a car that needs a lot of help is not the cheapest way. If you hired most of the work done add another $10,000 to the cost. Add all that up and you have more in the car than it is worth.

I propose that if you really want a good deal on a Shelby Mustang, find one that someone else has already done a lot or work to. The best buy would be a car like mine from someone that has owned it for many years and knows the car, just wants the cash for something else. Heck, my Shelby was barely drivable when I got it. At least find one you can drive as you do whatever it needs done to it. In the long run, it will be cheaper to pay more for a car in average or better shape then to start with one that needs a lot of work. Another example is a friend of mine who loves to restore Mustangs, even had an important hand with my '68. He recently sold a '65 Fastback, a second owner car that had set in the back of a garage for 20 years. This car was a nice fastback with a special T-Bird paint. He asked $15,000 for it. New we're talking a better than new, too nice to drive, show car. $15,000 covered his parts only, he couldn't sell it for anymore due to the market value for this car. So set you sights a little higher and assume it is going to cost you more for a nice car. It's a better deal in the long run.

One last note: It is buyer beware when finding a Shelby Mustang. Sadly, with the high prices for these cars, unethical owners are selling reproductions as the real thing. Be knowledgeable about Shelby Mustangs and where the numbers are and what they should be. Be careful about buying a car on the internet including E-Bay. SAAC sent a notice out not long ago warning about several scams going on for Shelby Mustangs on E-Bay.

Another thing to be cautious of is a Shelby Mustang that looks great but is not what it appears. A friend in California bought what he thought was a pristine '67 GT500. It had been owned by a number of people that spent money to restore and maintain it. When he got it home, yes it had been maintained but not by mechanics that knew Shelby Mustangs. He has spent a lot of time and money replacing the wrong parts and fixing things that were incorrect. Know the car you want to buy, make a check list of items to review on a car for sale.

I hope you find your Shelby Mustang. And I wish you the enjoyment I have had in owning mine. There is nothing like walking into your garage and seeing the car of your dreams setting there.

When you get your Shelby Mustang, be sure to let me know at dbegley@carmemories.com. The site needs pics of your car and a story about how you found it. You are still welcome to email me with your request because I do hear about Shelby Mustangs for sale regularly.

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