An experimental Ford Shelby Prototype nicknamed “Little Red” was discovered in a North Texas field this past spring after spending at least two decades outdoors.
The owner obviously didn’t know he had a 1967 Shelby GT500 Experimental Coupe rusting away next to a bunch of mesquite trees on his property. What’s left of the neglected prototype was located and verified on March 3, 2018. It could be worth serious bucks.
It was unveiled at a private event last weekend at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan where Aaron Shelby and Henry Ford III were on hand to witness the historic find.
“Finding Little Red is the discovery of a lifetime,” said Craig Jackson, Barrett-Jackson chairman and CEO in a statement. “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.”
Jackson and classic car restoration specialist Jason Billups led the team who discovered Little Red. The quest began during the restoration of the other legendary Shelby prototype coupe, named the Green Hornet. The pair were the only notchback coupes ever made to wear the Shelby nameplate we are told.
The big-block Shelby notchback coupe was one of a pair of “experimental” cars created by Ford and Shelby. It featured a restyled body and had a Paxton supercharger added to the big-block engine. The prototype eventually became the model for the 1968 Ford Mustang California Special before it disappeared for decades.
“Locating Little Red was tantamount to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack,” said Jason Billups in a release. “After our initial research we realized that, like others before us, we were using the wrong search criteria. Everyone looked for Little Red using the Shelby serial number, which would eventually lead to a dead end. We took a different approach and located the car’s original Ford VIN number, which wasn’t easily discoverable. That VIN led us to its original registration and eventually to its last owner.”
The team also verified its authenticity using cross-references, serial numbers, date codes and other confidential documents. Shell and Pennzoil are also helping support the restoration that will be fully documented at www.ShelbyPrototypeCoupes.com and will include photos, personal accounts, and videos of the rebuild. Stay tuned for more details to come in the months ahead.