Registered: November 1998
Location: Farmington Hills, MI, USA
|Ford and Shelby Automobiles are at it again, this time in celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500KR. To be unveiled at the 2007 New York International Auto Show, the 2008 Shelby GT500KR—the most powerful Mustang to date—will once again mark Mustang as ‘King of the Road.’
“I’m proud to once again be a part of an historical moment, bringing back the ‘King of the Road’ Mustang, and collaborating with Ford SVT and Ford Racing” said Carroll Shelby. “I’m committed to continuously upping the ante when it comes to performance, and it’s great to be doing it with Ford.” “The return of the Shelby GT500KR further establishes Mustang as the true king of the pony car segment,” said Robert Parker, manager of Ford Car Brand. “With the unveiling of the new KR we are staying true to the promise we made our loyal Mustang fans to continue Mustang’s prowess by bringing new, exciting and more powerful Mustangs to market.”
Forty years ago, at the 1967 New York Auto Show, Ford introduced the most powerful Shelby Mustang ever. Like every Mustang that bore the name ‘Shelby,’ the GT500KR carries with it its own unique story.
The 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500KR was a mid-year introduction, based on the 1968 Shelby GT500. Ford added ‘Cobra’ to the Shelby’s moniker to help usher in the beginning of a new performance era at the company. The Cobra name referred to the new 428 Cobra Jet V-8 that was planted under the KR’s custom fiberglass hood. It was the engine that would once again vault the Mustang to the head of the pack.
Ford conservatively rated the 428 CJ at 335-horsepower, but in reality it made more than 400-horsepower and 440 pounds-feet of torque. The KR model was also equipped with a modified suspension and was offered both in fastback and convertible models. Ford dealers sold 1,570 GT500KR models in 1968, 1053 fastbacks and 517 convertibles.
While the name ‘King of the Road’ may have been the perfect fit for the world’s most powerful Mustang, it also provided Shelby the chance to steal the thunder from cross-town rival General Motors. As the legend goes, Shelby learned that GM was planning to introduce a high-performance model and call it ‘King of the Road.’
Since he had always wanted to use the name, and as one to never miss an opportunity, Shelby set his organization in gear, registering the name and designing new badging for the Cobra Jet-powered Mustang, christening it the GT500KR, and bringing Ford’s ‘King of the Road’ to market before GM ever got a chance to apply the name to their product. [MORE]