The only Shelby GT500 Notchback restored after almost 50 years lost

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Little Red Restored front side Little Red Restored front side
Little Red Restored rear side Little Red Restored rear side
Little Red Restored engine Little Red Restored engine
Little Red Shelby GT500 Little Red Shelby GT500
Little Red Shelby GT500 old Little Red Shelby GT500 old

After being discovered in August last year, “Little Red” makes its public debut

Midway through last year, Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson announced "the discovery of a life time": as he and his team had just found the long-lost 1967 Shelby GT500 EXP Prototype "Little Red".

Little Red was described as the "holy grail" of historic Mustangs, and "one of the most sought-after and elusive vehicles in postwar history".

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Many had searched, and many more believed the car has been destroyed after it went missing after being moved to storage in the late-60s; but made its public debut at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction after a lengthy restoration.

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Little red remains the only GT500 hardtop coupe ever built by Shelby American, and was the second GT500 to be "serialized and completed" – and the only GT Coupe ever ordered from factory with dual-quad carburettors.

The 1967 Shelby Prototype underwent various guises over its working life, being the test mule for various models – eventually gaining a Paxton-supercharged big-block. It became the test bed for Ford’s popular 1968 California Special before it was retired from duties and sent to storage.

Jackson and his team of specialists tracked the car to a Texas field where it had been left outside for the past 20 years, but now sits perfectly restored with a twin-Paxton supercharged configuration attached to the V8.

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Craig Jackson said to Hemmings: "we took it back to that version because that was its biggest, baddest version".

Given the car’s patchy history and decades lost, Jackson and his team were faced with the incredible task of verifying whatever documentation and history they could get their hands on.

Upon the car’s initial reveal (in unrestored and dilapidated form), they crowsourced parts of its history, asking for fans to submit any historical photos or stories they had on this specific car.

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They also had to track the expansive paper trail of everything "between inventory sheets, between engineering sheets between hand-written notes at Shelby American"; much of the history lost and misplaced between Shelby American’s closure in July 1967, with all paperwork moved to Dearborn or Ionia.

The mammoth research efforts are reportedly the centre of an upcoming documentary focused on Little Red, and will show paperwork nobody has ever seen, according to Jackson.

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For now, Jackson can close the book on this incredible untold chapter in Shelby history. Though, we have no doubt that he’s already looking for his next find. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

 

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