Following the many brilliant successes earned by Shelby American on the national and international stage for Ford, changes in late 1967 saw Shelby GT production moved to Ionia, Michigan near Ford Motor Company headquarters. A mild, yet aggressive restyling was applied to the Mustang-based GT350 and GT500 models, while newly available convertible body styles brought heightened excitement. The 289ci V8 formerly used by the GT350 was replaced with Ford’s new 302ci V8 engine rated at 250hp, with a maintenance-free hydraulic cam and Holley 4-barrel carburetor. Though milder than the 1965-1966 cars, the ‘68 GT350 was more a GT-style automobile than its predecessors, with a winning combination of performance flavor and upscale amenities that buyers really wanted, although according to records supplied by SAAC (Shelby American Automobile Club), just 829 GT350 Fastbacks were produced for 1968. While showing more of a Ford influence than before, these cars were nonetheless very good performers – even more so with simple tuning tricks and performance bolt-ons from Shelby’s aftermarket parts operation. They also offered more balanced handling than their more front heavy, big-block GT500 stablemates.
Even in a virtual sea of “barn find” classic cars today, this 1968 Shelby GT350 Fastback is a truly amazing Texas-based specimen that was placed into long-term storage in 1985 and just recently removed. According to the seller, the prior owner drove and enjoyed the car during his college years, and he even used it to see David Bowie in Austin during his landmark “Serious Moonlight” tour. The car remains incredibly original and unadulterated, although it was reportedly lightly damaged while entering a car wash too fast and then parked in 1985 at around 82k miles, but it looks extremely minor, and we wouldn’t change a thing cosmetically aside from a good scrub. While not in use, the prior owner did maintain up-to-date annual registrations until 1989, just in case they wanted to put it back onto the road, but today it remains highly original with factory stickers and decals, and it even includes that Bowie concert ticket from the Austin show in the glove box! The car is currently titled in Texas, and while it could use a good detailing, as well as a mechanical inspection and recommission, it’s likely as close as you will ever get to an unrestored Shelby Mustang.
We’d have it carefully dusted and cleaned, the upholstery massaged, and the mechanicals carefully brought back to proper running and driving order - and then we would enjoy, show, and drive the heck out of it! It’s priced by the seller a bit above Hagerty’s suggested valuation for a #1 Concours example, but where will you find something like this again? Some collectors may focus on the “purer” full-Shelby ‘65-‘67 cars, or the ‘67-‘68 big-block 428ci GT500, but there’s something so strong about an unrestored, barn find Shelby of any type. Is it worth more than a #1 car or as much as the earlier cars? That’s something only a well-heeled buyer can possibly answer. Yes, it’s not the race-winning, fire-breather of the earlier versions, but on the other hand, it’s a unique Shelby model in its own right. You either dig it or you don’t, but regardless, it’s a cool and very rare muscle car with interesting history. We think it’s well worth the premium and we compel you to find another one! Hopefully the next owner will gently recommission it, sympathetically detail it, and enjoy it.