As Mustangs Daily tells us, a very significant 1967 Shelby GT500 Mustang is about to cross the auction block, at Mecum’s 26th Original Spring Classic auction on May 17. Originally intended as a demonstration vehicle for Goodyear’s “Thunderbolt” tires, a conversation between Carroll Shelby and Don McCain turned the car into much, much more.
McCain had been the sales manager for Shelby American, and he saw a potential market for cars even higher in performance than the Shelby GT500. Since Carroll Shelby had been in charge of Ford’s GT40 racing efforts, McCain convinced Shelby to stuff the 427-cubic-inch race engine from the GT40 into the GT500 reserved for tire testing.
Shelby engineer Fred Goodell was happy to comply, equipping the car with the same engine used to win Le Mans in the GT40 Mk II. The end result was a Mustang with some 600 horsepower and a top speed of 170 miles per hour. Its name, coined by McCain, was to be the Shelby Super Snake.
The Goodyear tire test was a success, despite the fact that the whitewall Thunderbolt tires were the narrowest ever fitted to a Shelby GT500. After Shelby himself ran the car to 170 mph, Goodell averaged a speed of 142 mph for some 500 miles, proving the durability of the tires.
The public was less than thrilled with the cost of the Shelby Super Snake, which, at $8,000, cost more than a 427 Cobra. In the end, only the test car was built, which makes it among the most desirable for any serious Shelby collector.
Its current owner, Richard Ellis, purchased the car with just 26,000 miles on the odometer. Though well preserved, Ellis went to great lengths to return the car to the condition it was in the day of the Goodyear tire test, making it a true time capsule collector car.
It’s virtually impossible to predict what the car will sell for, as there is no frame of reference to compare it to. A low-mileage, all-original 1967 Shelby GT500 Fastback sold at Barrett-Jackson’s January 2013 Scottsdale auction for $192,500 (including buyer’s commission), so it’s safe to assume the original Shelby Super Snake will far exceed this value.
For details on the Original Spring Classic auction, head on over to the Mecum Auctions website.