From my private Shelby collection is this incredible 1969 GT500 Factory EFI Prototype Serial no. 0006! Here are some details on this very special Shelby:
A great place to start to explain the significance of Serial No. 0006 is with the story of the Conelec Electronic Fuel Injected Shelby Mustangs, courtesy of Shelby and Conelec EFI Historian Peter Disher:
“Between 1967 and 1970, Shelby Automobiles experimented with a variety of fuel injection systems. The tests were supervised by Shelby’s chief engineer, Fred Goodell. Goodell anticipated the coming emission standards and desired increase performance. Goodell tested both mechanical and electronic systems. These included throttle body designs and down draft style systems. These cars would be designated as ‘engineering’ vehicles.
Once the tests were concluded, the fuel injection systems were removed, and the cars were sold as ‘used’ cars. Existing engineering records only describe a few specific systems. These include the Conelec, the Bosch/Bendix and the Lucas Fuel Injection. Although Goodell tested the systems, many were installed by subcontractors. In the case of Conelec, this work was done at their factory in New York.
The first car to receive fuel injection is believed to be a 1967 engineering test vehicle. The vehicle is described in notes, but very few details are known at this time. When the new Shelby/AO Smith contract was being finalized in May of 1967, plans called for fuel injection vehicles on the production lines. The original proposal called for 8,000 Shelbys to be built (4,450 cars were actually delivered). The expectation was that at least 20%, or 1,600 cars, would be equipped with either fuel injection or superchargers. Unfortunately, none of these cars ever materialized on the production lines of AO Smith.
In 1968, Goodell managed at least four vehicles with fuel injection. Most likely these cars had their fuel systems custom installed. Three of the first four cars built were designated as fuel injection test vehicles. The fourth car was a GT350 convertible sent to Hertz. It was designated as an advanced show car. Goodell personally oversaw the installation of fuel injection on a California Special prototype. The car later known as the ‘Green Hornet’ was shipped to Conelec in New York for installation of the EFI system. Goodell clearly favored the Conelec EFI systems, and Goodell’s fuel injection project had grown exponentially. Earlier cars remained in testing, and more than a dozen new cars were also added to the fleet. By 1969, it was clear to Goodell that emissions would be a major factor in the coming years. Conelec was already making changes to their system. They planned to add oxygen sensors and increase inputs to the computer for better fuel efficiency. However, whether it was a result of the development and eventual option costs associated with any kind of EFI system, or the cancellation of the Shelby Mustang itself, Goodell’s cutting edge EFI solution to looming emissions and performance issues met its untimely demise and exited along with the Shelby Mustang program.”
So today, while any Prototype or Engineering example of a Shelby American vehicle is clearly rare and desirable, it is these few surviving Conolec EFI “mules” that stand out as being unique even in this elite Prototype club. And while some are well known, such as the Green Hornet, others have simply disappeared. For years, one of them that fell off the radar was this car, 1969 GT500 Serial No. 0006, which was Goodell’s personal company car as well as a Conolec EFI development prototype.
Serial No. 0006 was the only convertible used in the EFI program, and it was also very desirably equipped with factory options such as air conditioning, automatic transmission, tilt and swing-a-way steering wheel, not to mention being finished in stunning Silver Jade paint with a white top and white interior. Whether a convertible loaded up and finished like this was intentionally ordered by Goodell for his own use or merely a coincidence, we may never know, but either way it seems an appropriate Shelby for use by such a high-ranking member of the company for sure.
Factory records indicate that Goodell and his engineering team drove 0006 approximately 8,800 miles when it was in his control between March and May of 1969 when the EFI system was removed and the car was sold to the Hertz Corporation. Why it was sold to Hertz remains a mystery, but SAAC’s 1969 Registrar Vincent Liska believes that “0006 was likely used to give a ‘sales pitch’” to Hertz for a possible fleet agreement for rental units from Shelby. So if you’re going to send a Shelby to impress Hertz execs, the “top” model available makes sense—a GT500 convertible, in a “good” color with a white top and interior to make it look better, automatic transmission, air conditioning, tinted windows, tilt wheel, all the bells and whistles is the one to send. And it looks like it worked!”
While 0006’s length of time at Hertz is unknown, its history shortly thereafter picks up in California with owners in Palos Verdes and Manhattan Beach. Then, other than one “for sale” ad in 2001, it had not been seen since the early 1990s until I stumbled upon it in a warehouse in Pomona, California in February 2016. Covered in dust yet still unmistakable as, a friend of Conolec guru Pete Disher I saw the VIN and instantly knew what I was looking at. I sent a few snapshots to Disher who verified that it was indeed one of the missing Conelec Prototype cars. More surprising was the condition of 0006— other than being dusty and having a hood damaged from a drive where its owner forgot to latch the hood pins, 0006 was in remarkable condition. After some difficult negotiations, I was able to finally secure 0006 and bring it home. The hood was repaired, and the car was mechanically refreshed and detailed just in time to be a part of the Muscle Car and Corvette National’s (MCACN) “Shelby EFI Invitational” featured class in November 2017 where 0006 was the only 1969 Conolec car of the four EFI cars found for the show.
But beyond its incredible history of being a factory Prototype and Development car, and Fred Goodell’s company car no less, or its desirable options list and color combo, what really impresses about 0006 is its condition. With just 35,000 miles from new and its many years in California, it possesses an immaculate body sporting its original sheet metal throughout, a rarity in any Shelby let alone a convertible. It also has its original interior, fiberglass, and Shelby components throughout. The original matching-numbers 428 Cobra Jet engine remains under the hood, fully rebuilt and fitted with what is presumed to be the exact same factory Cobra Jet intake and carburetor it had when it was sold out of Shelby’s engineering fleet in 1969 to Hertz.
There is no question that this 1969 GT500 known as “0006” ranks as a very significant and special Shelby when judged by any metric. It is a factory Prototype/Engineering car. It is the 6th 1969 Shelby built, and the 3rd Convertible. It was assigned to Fred Goodell, one of the most famous people in Shelby history, and designated as his company car. It was then believed by SAAC to have helped successfully close the deal for another round of Hertz Shelbys for 1969. Also, it is one of very few original Shelby EFI Development cars and one of even fewer that survive today.
No matter how you look at it, 0006 is indeed Shelby royalty and would be a worthy centerpiece for any Shelby collection, just as it has been in the my collection.
- Year: 1969
- Mileage: 35,000 mi
- VIN: 0006
- Condition: Unrestored
- Exterior Color: Silver Jade
- Interior Color: White
- Transmission: C6 Automatic
- Final Drive:
- Engine: 428 Cobra Jet Ram Air
- Drivetrain: RWD