In Photos: Super-Rare 1968 Mustang Shelby EXP500 "Green Hornet" Prototype
It's one of just two notchback prototype Ford Mustangs worked on by Shelby.
The legend of this 1968 coupe begins at the Ford Dearborn plant in late 1967 when it was pulled aside for prototyping. After Ford engineers modified the body with Thunderbird taillights, grille-mounted Marchal fog lamps, and other test pieces while developing the California Special, it was sent to Shelby American where the car was repainted from its original Lime Gold to a one-of-a-kind, darker metallic green. There it was designated EXP500 and fitted with a 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet engine; a C6 three-speed automatic transmission; an independent rear suspension; Conelec electronic fuel injection; and a wide assortment of body panel, lighting, and badging specific to the Shelby GT programs.
Along the way, someone—allegedly Carroll Shelby's pal Bill Cosby—nicknamed the car the "Green Hornet," and the moniker stuck. The car has been in the public eye for almost its entire life, and was originally restored in the early 1990s, albeit to something less than original spec. In 2003, Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson bought the car and it's remained in his personal collection since. In 2018, the car was sent to be re-restored using as many of the original parts as possible, including an era-correct four-wheel disc-brake setup.
The Green Hornet is one of very few prototypes not crushed by the factory at the end of the project—another Shelby prototype, the "Little Red" Mustang notchback, was only recently discovered in a field in North Texas (it's now also owned by Jackson). The Green Hornet prototype was parked at the Shell display outside of the main entrance of the 2019 SEMA show, providing a great opportunity to see one of the cars that started the Shelby American legend.