Carroll Shelby’s personal 1969 GT500 could be yours


Mecum’s 2023 sale in Kissimmee, Florida, will feature plenty of rare muscle cars, but there’s at least one Shelby in particular that we’ll be watching closely come January. An automatic-equipped, 1969 Shelby GT500 that was owned by actor and director Jackie Cooper as well as Carroll Shelby himself is crossing the auction block, and the Candy Apple Red machine has almost every option the Shelby collector could want.

Aside from its automatic transmission, which may cause some purists to look elsewhere, this fastback stunner is equipped with power steering, power front disc brakes, deluxe belts, a tachometer, and the folding Sports Deck rear seat. That automatic transmission shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, as Shelby’s own Cobra Super Snake that was in his collection used a three-speed auto—and that wasn’t his only auto, either. The 428 Cobra Jet in this GT500 certainly is no high-strung small-block that needs to rev to make its power. It should be perfectly happy with three tire-shredding speeds.


Unlike earlier Shelby creations that relied on spoilers, air dams, and other aesthetic and aerodynamic additions to visually set themselves apart from their Mustang counterparts, the 1969 GT500 had an entirely unique front end. The hood, fender, and bumper stampings were no where to be found on the run-of-the-mill pony cars. Shelby’s unique fascia abandoned Mustang’s wraparound front bumper in favor of a more integrated piece that was coming into fashion in the late ’60s.

Take a look at a contemporary Camaro and you’ll see a similar change for ’69. Challenger followed suit when it debuted for 1970 and regular production Mustangs did as well for 1971. Indeed, plenty of 1971 Mustang styling was on display in the ’69 GT500, including a wide grille and NACA ducts in the hood. The 1969 GT500’s styling was quite literally ahead of its time.


We’ve seen some of Shelby’s other personal cars sell at normal prices, while others have seen bids rise to more than double the pre-auction estimates. Both situations occurred within the same 2018 sale. With a current #3 (Good, or daily driver) condition value of $75,000 (down 20 percent because of this car’s automatic), we certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see a beautiful car with such an impressive pedigree bring far more.

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    I’m sorry, but provenance be darned, why in the world would I want to spend possibly as much as six-figures to own a car that it would be expected that putting miles on would be a no-no, and that given current trends is going to lose value even if I let it sit in a controlled environment? What good is a car that you can (should) not run the tires off of, NOR keep it pristine in hopes of a big ROI?

    That’s why I only referred to me. I personally see little point in it. But. I fully realize that there are many different desires for many different people. If you wanna do that, knock your socks off, Richard! And I’ll oogle your purchase at the next Cars ‘n’ Coffee, I assure you. But I won’t offer to buy it. 😊

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