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Missing 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 Prototype Found Rotting in North Texas Field

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One out of a pair of the rarest Shelby GT500s in the world – an experimental prototype created through Ford in the 1960s – was recently found rotting in a Texas field. How did it wind up there? There’s a bit of a back-story to that. As it turns out, the pair of prototypes (a red and a green one), were based on the Mustang notchback coupe. During the development of the GT500, they were used as testers and were originally earmarked for a crusher. That was in the late ‘60s.

The green model, known as The Green Hornet, is presently in the possession of Craig Jackson, Chairman and CEO of Barret-Jackson Collector Car Company. Now 50 years in age, the Shelby EXP 500 Green Hornet went up for auction five years ago and was close to becoming the most expensive Mustang model ever to be sold. It went for $1.8 million. Thought to be lost or destroyed, the red model, known as Little Red, was discovered in north Texas, where its owner had been storing it for two decades. Barret Jackson found the model, and with the help of Kevin Marti, a renowned Ford Mustang expert, used serial numbers, cross-references, date codes, and a number of confidential documents to confirm the car was, in fact, the missing Shelby prototype.

Missing 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 Prototype Found Rotting in North Texas Field

Photo: Max Pixel

Originally built in 1967, Jackson had this to say of the unique Ford Mustang discovery: “Finding Little Red is the discovery of a lifetime. This Shelby prototype has been one of the most sought-after and elusive vehicles in postwar history. Countless enthusiasts and experts have searched for Little Red since it went missing in the 1960s. Many believed it was destroyed when the car was no longer needed. I’m excited to announce that was not the case. We’ve found Little Red and we intend to meticulously restore this legendary car back to its original glory.” Little Red had made quite the impact at a Ford preview event in Los Angeles, California, featuring a Paxton supercharger on its big-block and a restyled body. It’s said to have inspired the 1968 Ford Mustang California Special. Then it was sent to storage and presumed lost. In the process of locating the car, it was determined that the transmission and the supercharged 428 V8 are missing. Likewise, the hood and front fenders are gone. Restoring the car will be a time-consuming project as many details aren’t familiar since Shelby issued it for scrap. Subsequently, Jackson has established a website at the link provided here, which details the Shelby prototype’s restoration, in conjunction with Shell and Pennzoil, and requests anyone to come forward with information on or old photos of the car.