The hunt for “barn finds” will stop enticing gear heads the day the idea of buried pirate treasure stops being cool. This is the term for vintage vehicles found in barns or any other such rural storage edifice that have been lost to the public. Of course, the dream is to stumble across an extremely rare vehicle that has been stored well and without modification. As you may imagine, finding a vehicle that ticks all those boxes is tough. A 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 certainly ticks one of those boxes.
Not all Shelby GT500s found in junkyards are equal
On the Hagerty program, Barn Find Hunter, the Host Tom Cotter hears a tale about an unrestored 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 in someone’s garage. Those are the kinds of things every car nerd wants to hear. Cotter shows up and explores a garage with the owner. There are piles of automotive racing history in every corner of the garage; vintage racing wheels, classic Formula F Crosley chassis, and I can only imagine what else.
All the rare vintage parts are cool, and all, but Cotter and the Barn Find Hunter Team came to see an unrestored Shelby GT500. After looking through a few more piles of parts and unfinished projects, Cotter finds the ultra-rare muscle-car icon, the GT500.
The Shelby GT500 might not be in the shape you or I would normally expect to find any car, much less one of this caliber. The Shelby had been crushed into a neat and tidy little cube. Before we shed any unnecessary vintage-car-nerd tears, we should let the owner explain.
Is there any reasonable excuse to cube a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500?
The cubed car’s owner says that he found the Shelby in a junkyard in the ‘70s, and to his dismay, a tree had grown through it. Rather than leave the Mustang to rot, he stripped it of any usable part, including the serial number, and sold them. After the bones had been picked clean, he wanted to use the car for something still. Being an artist, he decided he wanted to have it cubed to turn into something useful like a base for a table. Although the metal cube is barely recognizable as a car, it does proudly wear the GT500 decal on one side.
OK. So, what’s so special about a Shelby GT500?
If vintage cars aren’t your thing, you may be wondering, “why would anyone go through the trouble to take a ruined car from the junkyard, strip of everything including serial numbers, and plan to build a table out of it?” Fair question.
Carrol Shelby was a racing driver/chicken farmer turned car designer. He is responsible for a laundry list of iconic racing cars and road cars built by Ford like the Shelby Cobra, GT350, and the GT500. We will leave it there for brevity’s sake, but the list could go on for quite some time.
According to Hagerty, when Ford starting putting the big-block 390 into the Mustang, Shelby slammed a big-block dual-quad 428-cubic-inch motor into his Mustang, giving birth to the GT500. This was a wildly powerful and beautiful car that was very fast and very expensive. The 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 was the first big-block Shelby. This was also the last year that Shelbys were built at Shelby America in California. According to the shipping records, only 2,048 Shelby GT500s were made in 1967. These low production numbers, along with some odd 50 or more years, make these cars very rare and very valuable.
Some cars live on as cars while some live on as tables
Admittedly, this cubed Shelby Mustang GT500 isn’t what most people mean when it comes to a “barn find,” but it counts; and, it’s still pretty cool. For the serious car nerds, we should be thankful that this rare and rad car gets to live on – no matter what shape it has been squished into.