I’m not a suntan guy but I figured I had to have at least one drop-top Shelby Mustang in my personal collection- and why not make it a KR? After all, 1968 was the first year for production Shelby Mustang convertibles and the KR was the baddest one you could get…so there you have it. But I had to find the right KR. That’s why I was thrilled to find this one in 2015: Two owners from new, low miles, all original drivetrain and even the original factory window sticker and original purchase contract are still with the car. Plus, it is a factory Candyapple Red car with factory air conditioning. Since it wasn’t perfect, after 30+ years of being a fun weekend car for the 2nd owner, I decided to do an all-out concours restoration on it and kind of got carried away. Some 3,500 labor hours later, and with the advice, review and assistance along the way of 1968 Shelby Guru Pete Disher, Bob Perkins and Jim Cowles the result was, in my opinion, one of the finest KR restorations ever done. But in the big picture every parent thinks their kids are the best and every restorer thinks his or her work is the best, too. So I decided old #4123 needed to be judged by the top experts in the field to see what they thought.
The first outing of this now-fully restored KR was its unveiling at what has been called “the Pebble Beach of muscle car shows”- the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in November 2016. And as long as it was there I figured what the heck, let’s have it concours judged. When I registered Bob Perkins, Chief Ford Judge as well as the head judge for both the MCA and SAAC, knowing the quality of the work suggested that I enter it into their elevated judging class for the new MCACN “Pinnacle” award. Only 4 cars were selected to be judged for this, and I was honored to have the KR just be among them.
But I’m even more honored to report that KR #4123 became the first Ford to win this elite MCACN “Pinnacle” award!
This is the most difficult award to win with incredibly stringent judging that inspects every part and finish of the entire car during an hour-plus long process. 950 of 970 points are required to win. The KR scored 962 points, just over a 99% perfect score. 4 of the points deducted were for paint and panel fit that were “too nice,” a deduction happily accepted. I also willingly accepted deductions for the upgraded gas shocks I installed and the “stock looking” AM/FM radio with a USB input so my family could have tunes. I think it says a lot about the quality of our restoration that even with these deductions she still totaled out in the win column. Of course as soon as I returned home I took the MCA/ MCACN Judge’s notes and corrected all they deducted points for, except, of course the paint that was “too nice- no orange peel.” 😉
4123’s next show outing was the Judged Concours at SAAC-42 . After 2.5 hours of close scrutiny by a team of the worlds foremost authorities on 1968 Shelbys #4123 emerged with a coveted SAAC Concours Gold award. According to authority Pete Disher 4123 is one of just ten KR convertibles to obtain Concours Gold status since 1997.
Today 4123 remains in perfect condition and is now offered for sale.
To recap- it is fully numbers matching front to back with its original factory installed engine, transmission, rear end, wheels, carburetor, radiator, hubcaps, etc. It’s paperwork is second to none with its original window sticker and build sheet, plus an airtight history of just two long-term owners, the second of which I purchased it from in 2015.
Pete Disher, Bob Perkins and Jim Cowles all assisted in getting the details just right during the restoration. It is loaded with original and NOS parts throughout and was an incredibly complete, solid, and unmodified car when I started the restoration and I have photos to show just how nice it was.
But 4123 isn’t just a pretty face. Like all of my cars I wanted it to run and drive like new as well so the original engine was balanced, blueprinted, and tuned to perfection on a dyno by the best in the business. The car was painstakingly sorted by me after the restoration to get everything working just right and make sure the car was just as comfortable smoking its rear tires off and ripping down the road as it was being poked and prodded by concours judges. To that end brand new W speed rated Pirelli P600 tires have been installed for safe (and fast) enjoyment of this King of the Road, and the correct concours E70/15 show tires are also included.
Bottom line I believe 4123 to be one of the finest GT500 KR convertibles out there. Its color, options, paperwork, history, restoration and resulting show awards are all indisputably at the top of the Shelby food chain.
- Price: $ 250000
- Year: 1968.5
- Mileage: 53,000 mi
- VIN: 4123
- Condition: Concours Restored
- Exterior Color: Candyapple Red
- Interior Color: Black
- Transmission: C6 Automatic
- Final Drive: 3.00:1
- Engine: 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air
- Drivetrain: RWD