The 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 will without question be the highest-performance Mustang ever. Its 5.4-liter supercharged V-8 makes 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, all wrapped up in an aerodynamically optimized body. It’s a seriously impressive machine, made more so by seeing how far the GT500 nameplate has come—just look at this 1968 example on auction at Barrett-Jackson’s Northeast sale.
The year 1968 was the second year of GT500 production, at which point it was still something of an aftermarket conversion, unlike today’s factory-built car. After initial assembly by Ford at its New Jersey plant as big-block-equipped Mustang fastbacks, the cars were transferred to a partner facility in Michigan and transformed with new fiberglass body panels, a distinct front fascia, ducktail spoiler, ’65 Thunderbird taillights, and plenty of additional vents and scoops.
A massively upgraded engine is a core component of any GT500, and the 1968 delivered. Under the hood was a 428-cubic-inch, 7.0-liter V-8 rated at 360 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. Despite that high output, compared to 1967’s car, the 1968 GT500 was set up as more of a sporty grand tourer than pure performance machine. That’s evidenced by the car’s three-speed automatic, wood trim, and plush leather interior. The heavy-duty suspension could cope with the power while providing a smoother ride.
That’s all showcased terrifically in this GT500 for sale at Barrett-Jackson. The car is highly original, wearing Sunlit Gold paint accented by a white badge stripe above the rocker panels. Aluminum Shelby-branded 10-spoke wheels are wrapped by BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires at all four corners. Inside, saddle brown leather upholstery covers the seats and trademark Cobra-embossed armrest, and wood trim lines the steering wheel, doors, and dashboard. The glovebox has been autographed by none other than Carroll Shelby.
The car comes with extensive documentation that proves its pedigree. That paperwork includes the original build sheet, original factory invoice, and Shelby warranty information. Thorough owner history—from the very first—is also present.
Comparing this golden GT500 to today’s car shows how far Ford has come. The computer-aided design of the 2020 model contrasts starkly to the 1968’s handcrafted aesthetic. The similarities in performance technology ends at the number of cylinders. Regardless, both are excellent examples of the Shelby’s sport-oriented ethos and focus on thrilling the driver.
Barrett-Jackson’s 4th Annual Northeast Auction is being held June 26-29, 2019, at the Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in Connecticut. The collector-car sale will showcase hundreds of coveted vehicles, and the experts from MotorTrend will be there to bring you all the action LIVE from the auction block. You can catch Barrett-Jackson Northeast on MotorTrend Network every day of the auction and download the app for exclusive, live coverage. Need more viewing options? You can also tune in to our live stream from your web browser on June 27, June 28, and June 29.