‘Holy Grail’ 1967 Shelby GT500 EXP Coupe Unearthed For Restoration

There are barn finds, and then there are barn finds! At this point so many rare cars have been uncovered, you might assume we have seen them all. Not so fast, however. The crew at Barrett-Jackson, Shell, and Pennzoil used the Woodward Dream Cruise as the setting to reveal the discovery of a one-of-a-kind piece of Shelby American history — the 1967 Shelby GT500 EXP prototype.

Finding Little Red is the discovery of a lifetime. — Craig Jackson, Barrett-Jackson

Known as Little Red, which ranked number three on our list of highly sought after Mustang rarities, it is the only Shelby GT500 coupe ever built, and the only 1967 Mustang fitted with a 428ci engine. Yeah, it really is a rare one.

A team assembled by Barrett-Jackson unearthed this ultra-rare 1967 Shelby GT500 EXP prototype. It is the only Shelby GT500 coupe ever built, and it could garner millions after it is restored. (Photo Credit: Marty Schorr)

“Finding Little Red is the discovery of a lifetime,” Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction Company, enthused. “This Shelby prototype has been one of the most sought-after and elusive vehicles in postwar history. Countless enthusiasts and experts have searched for Little Red since it went missing in the 1960s. Many believed it was destroyed when the car was no longer needed. I’m excited to announce that was not the case. We’ve found Little Red and we intend to meticulously restore this legendary car back to its original glory.”

After the discovery of its sister prototype coupe, dubbed The Green Hornet, Craig and restoration guru Jason Billups set out to unearth Little Red. After some serious sleuthing, the car was tracked to North Texas.

“Locating Little Red was tantamount to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack,” Jason said. “After our initial research we realized that, like others before us, we were using the wrong search criteria. Everyone looked for Little Red using the Shelby serial number, which would eventually lead to a dead end. We took a different approach and located the car’s original Ford VIN number, which wasn’t easily discoverable. That VIN led us to its original registration and eventually to its last owner.”

It had been tucked the same owner had it tucked away for over 20 years, so automotive writer Al Rogers and Ford Mustang and Shelby specialist Todd Hollar traveled to the property where Little Red hid. On March 3, 2018 the duo verified its authenticity, but the car’s existence was kept under wraps until the 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise.

Barrett-Jackson, Shell, and Pennzoil have teamed up to restore this unique piece of automotive history, and the company’s plan to document the whole process online. You can help if you have any information about or photos of Little Red.

“March 3rd will be forever etched in the history books,” Al reflected. “Walking up to Little Red was like being on hallowed ground. This car was long thought by the experts to be forever lost to history. Even the owner was not aware that his vehicle was Shelby American’s iconic 1967 Shelby Experimental Coupe. We can’t be more excited to have been a part of Craig Jackson’s team and have the chance to bring this important car back to its original glory. We’re especially honored to be a part of Little Red’s restoration over the next several months, which will be carefully documented and shared with Shelby, Mustang and Ford enthusiasts around the world.”

That restoration promises to be one of the most thorough on record, and its process will be documented throughout in photos and videos. Furthermore, the team doing the work hopes to lean out enthusiasts for any information or photos that might provide insight into the nuances of Little Red.

1967 Shelby GT500 EXP Significance

• The only GT500 coupe (hardtop) built by Shelby American

• All other coupes were specifically ordered with small blocks for SCCA racing

• The only GT coupe ordered with and factory-equipped with dual-quad carburetors

• The second GT500 to be serialized and completed; the first was a fastback (0100) and third was the convertible (0139)

• One of two known 1967 GT cars to be outfitted with a black Connolly leather interior; the other car is the GT500 convertible (0139)

• On July 31, 1967, Shelby American valued the coupe at $3,318.84

• Regularly driven by Fred Goodell, Chief Engineer of Shelby American

• The only multi-carbureted Mustang coupe ever built

• The only 1967 Mustang coupe factory-equipped with a 428ci engine

• The only 428-equipped coupe to be built at Ford’s San Jose assembly plant

• The first Mustang coupe to receive a 428ci engine

• The third 428-equipped Mustang (all body styles) to be serialized by Ford

• The second Mustang (all body styles) completed with a 428ci engine

(Source: Barrett-Jackson)

“As brands that have been part of American and worldwide automotive history for more than 100 years, we understand the importance of heritage. So, with that in mind, we’re thrilled to join Craig Jackson and his team on this historic journey to return Little Red to its original glory,” Mark Henry, brand and communications manager, Shell Lubricants, added. “This will be one of the greatest stories of automotive history ever told, and we look forward to having a role in making it come alive for generations to come.”

To learn more about this rare Mustang or to contribute to its rebirth with your own photos and information, visit the site that will document its restoration right here.

About the author

Steve Turner

As Executive Editor of FordNXT and Ford Muscle, Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge to Power Automedia. He has covered the world of Ford performance for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
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