Rumored crushed, “Little Red” found in a Texas field
The 1968 “Green Hornet” Mustang prototype is freshly restored to Shelby-spec
EXP-500, the 1968 “Green Hornet” is one of two prototype Mustang notchbacks Ford and Shelby American built for R&D purposes. (The other is the 1967 known as “Little Red.”) Since last year, both machines are owned by Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson, and while Green Hornet was first restored by Mustang expert Martin Euler, that 1993 job didn’t leave the green EXP-500 exactly where Carroll Shelby had it before the car got sold to Ford employee Robert Zdanowski in May 1971. So, Jackson brought the car back to its full glory.
Back in the late ‘60s, what started out as a Lime Gold ‘68 Mustang powered by a 390-cubic-inch V-8 became the most important GT/SC prototype. Shelby began the conversion by fitting Thunderbird tail lights and its own body panels, but the 390 was soon replaced by a fuel-injected 428 engine dubbed CJ-X. Called EXP-500 by this point, Green Hornet also got a gearbox based on a truck transmission, as well as independent rear suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. All cutting-edge hardware by late-’60s muscle car standards.
Having spent two decades at the Zdanowski family with a standard engine and rear end, Green Hornet was sold to classic-car dealer Steve Davis, who later became the president of Barrett-Jackson. Davis also has sold his majority interest in the car to Craig Jackson. The company CEO was a close friend of Carroll Shelby, which may explain why back in 2013, Green Hornet wouldn’t meet reserve at $1.9 million.
Last year, Jackson sent his beloved prototype to Jason Billups, so that the car could be restored once more to match Shelby American experimental specifications. And with ample time for a photoshoot before SEMA, the work on this golden-metallic green beast has been completed.
“Little Red” almost certainly awaits an equally happy fate, having been found in the Texan bushes last year. We can’t wait to see it reborn.