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Rare 1970 Shelby GT500 428 Convertible at Auction

Businesses across the globe have been adjusting their business model in recent months due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. The truth of the matter is that people still need to sell things. Auction houses are places that sell a lot of those things. To keep business flowing during the health crisis, a lot of the notable automotive auction houses have gone to an online bidding process solely. That brings us to this week’s RM Sotheby’s online-only “Driving Into Summer” auction. 

A yellow Shelby GT500 sits in the sun with its top down
This 1970 Shelby GT500 convertible with a 428- cubic inch, Cobra Jet V8, is at auction | RM Sotheby’s

Ferraris, Porsches, and Lamborghinis, oh my!

There are 224 lots on the RM Sotheby’s auction. Among them are automotive automobilia and collectibles, as well as many fine automobiles are listed. In a sea of exotic cars with Italian or German names, there are also Sunbeams, Austin Healeys, Cadillacs, a Delahaye replica, an old Packard, a Dodge SRT-10 Ram truck, and plenty more. 

There is one vehicle in particular that is listed that is very interesting. It is a rare American muscle car. That is a 1970 Shelby GT500. When you dig a little closer into this unit, you find a lot of interesting information. 

The rear of a 1970 Shelby that is at auction
This 1970 Shelby GT500 convertible with a 428- cubic inch, Cobra Jet V8, is at auction | RM Sotheby’s

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Not your average Mustang

This car is not your average everyday Shelby. Carroll Shelby, a race car driver and automotive legend, had a close association with Ford for many years. So close, in fact, that he made his own Shelby branded cars based on the Ford Mustang. He would take the Mustangs, rework them a bit to make them more powerful and better-handling machines. Then, he would slap his name on the back of them and put some racing stripes on the horizontal surfaces. That is how the ever-popular Shelby cars came into being. 

The unit that is at auction this week, Lot number 245, is not just any Shelby. This one is the creme-de-la-creme. The Shelby GT500 has a 428 cubic inch, 7-liter, Cobra Jet, V8 engine, which is rare. The car is finished in the rare Grabber Yellow. Did we mention it is also a convertible?

The black interior of a 1970 Shelby GT500 convertible
This 1970 Shelby GT500 convertible with a 428- cubic inch, Cobra Jet V8, is at auction | RM Sotheby’s

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Ford ended his relationship with Ford in 1969. So, the 1970 models of the Shelby GT500s were leftover 1969 Mustangs that had not been converted into Shelbys yet. For these, the VIN numbers were changed, a chin spoiler was added, a heavy-duty suspension was added, and hood stripes were made to be different than previous years.

This Shelby, in particular, has an automatic transmission. One of only 54 made with this powertrain. But this car also has “black Clarion knit/Corinthian vinyl hi-back bucket seats” and is one of only six in the aforementioned Grabber Yellow. The lucky winner will also get the original build sheet, dealer invoice, and the owner’s manual.  

The auction

As of right now, the bidding is at $80,000 for the rare Shelby. Sotheby’s has placed the estimate for the vehicle at $130,000 to $160,000. The auction is running through May 29th. 

Shelby’s have done well in recent auctions. As with anything, buyer beware. Do the due diligence if you are considering moving on this car. But, historically, the rarer the Shelby, the more interest there is in it. Consequently, the bidding could rise quickly.