These are some of the rarest Mustangs out in the wild.
Despite the Steve McQueen movie Bullit being over 50 years old and not standing up to its age as a piece of cinema, the Highland Green 1968 Ford Mustang he drove is still an icon. It has been one of the most sought-after muscle cars in history and finally showed up to auction in working condition after a light restoration that left its 50+ years of patina on the paint. It narrowly missed becoming the most expensive muscle car to go to auction, losing out to 1971 Plymouth Barracuda convertible that sold in 2014 for $3.78 million.
That got us wondering: what are the most expensive Mustangs ever sold at auction? It turns out that a lot of them are from Ford via Shelby, and there's a race car model that consistently sells for serious money no matter what racing livery it sports. These are the most expensive Mustangs of all time, starting with the original Bullitt Mustang.
Having starred in the 1968 movie Bullitt with Steve McQueen alongside a black Dodge Charger, it's the most famous Mustang in the world. Following the movie, the car was sold through Road & Track magazine for $3,500 and used by Sean Kiernan's mother as a daily driver. Steve McQueen even tried to buy it back, but to no avail, and it has been sought after by collectors ever since. The Highland Green 1968 Mustang finally came to auction and sold for $3.4 million at the beginning of this year and took the top slot for the most expensive Mustang to cross the auction block.
The 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake was the most potent Mustang built by Shelby in the 1960s. It was also a one-off model, which helps explain its incredible $1.3 million price tag fetched at auction in 2019. It was built for a promotional event to test a new line of Goodyear tires and featured a specially-modified 600-hp all-aluminum 427 cu. ft. V8 block under the hood. A limited run of the model was planned, but the idea was scrapped due to cost.
The remake of the 1974 chase movie Gone In 60 Seconds starred Nicholas Cage and this 1967 Mustang GT500 lovingly named Eleanor. The GT500 was built by the designer Chip Foose using a 1967 Mustang Fastback. It has been replicated many times, but this is one of the three working vehicles used for the movie sold at the 2013 Mecum auction in Indianapolis for a cool one million bucks. It held the record for the most expensive Mustang sold for just a couple of days before being beaten by the 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake.
Shelby built the GT350 R as a full race car version of the GT350, complete with a (rumored) 350-horsepower V8 hooked to a four-speed manual transmission to power the 2,550-lbs car. While it was built for handling, a 1965 Shelby GT350 R was clocked sprinting down the quarter-mile in 13.6 seconds at 104.4 mph, managing 0-60 mph in just 5.5 seconds. Only 34 models were built, and this one-owner car went across the block with just 4,900 miles on the clock. It was sold in 2012 at the RM Sotheby's auctions in Monterey for $900,000.
Yep, this is another 1965 Shelby GT350 R, but this one had a lot more miles on it as chassis number SFM-5R538 became a race track legend. Amongst this model's achievements are 17 straight wins from 1968-1969 at the hands of Charlie Kemp with the legendary Pete Hood as his mechanic. He was clocked in the GT350 R at 184 mph at Daytona in 1968, a number which even impressed Caroll Shelby and led to the car being thoroughly inspected for cheating. Nothing was found, and Hood only ever said that the engine had a 0.030 overbore and 430-450 horsepower. The car is as legendary as Hood, and sold in Monterey in 2014 for $984,500.
Mexican driver Pedro Rodriguez raced the third 1965 Shelby GT350 R on the list after Bill Steele said it intimidated him and refused to compete with it. When asked to drive the GT350 R, Rodriguez replied: "Si, I win." He did, and won the Southern Polar Prix in 1966. The car was later bought by another Mexican driver, Freddy van Beuren who had it painted in Mexican racing livery. He won the SCCA Southwest Division title in 1966, amongst other strong finishes. It carried on racing and even featured in some Champion Spark Plugs and Amaline Oil adverts. It sold through RM Sotheby's at Monterey in 2016 for $742,500.
While it's a notable and valuable car, the Shelby GT500 Convertible from 1969 probably wouldn't appear on this list if it wasn't for one particular fact: It was Caroll Shelby's personal vehicle. It's powered by a Cobra Jet engine, and Shelby owned this one for over three decades. Only 247 1969 Shelby GT500 Convertibles were built, but being owned by Shelby drove the price all the way up to $742,500 in 2008 at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. It probably didn't hurt that is had also had a 5-year Concours level rotisserie restoration by the renowned Shelby restorer Jim Cowles.
The first model of a valued car off the production line is always sought after, and people will pay through the nose to get that 001 serial number. In this case, the very first 2007 Shelby GT Fastback model was auctioned off to benefit Carroll Shelby's Children's Foundation to the tune of $648,000 in 2007. It has a supercharged 4.6-liter V8 that's been breathed on by Shelby to make 500 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, along with tuned and lowered suspension, a Hurst short-throw shifter and an X-pipe exhaust. However, you'll probably never see it on the road.
Nothing will glaze the eyes of a Mustang enthusiast with lust like one of the 50 hand-built 1969 Mustang Boss 429 Fastbacks. The first 50 were the only ones built by hand and feature the rare 820-S NASCAR spec engine and a Kar Kraft 428 SCJ drag-pack drivetrain and suspension. This one has been on the receiving end of a Concours level restoration complete with all the correct date codes, color codes, chalk and grease pencil marks, decals, tags, and stickers. It went for $605,000 in 2007 at the Barett-Jackson Scottsdale auction.
A 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback is a rare beast, and this one is in absolutely mint condition, completely unrestored, with just 902 actual miles on the clock. It even has the plastic wrap on the seat belts, steering wheel, and passenger seat that protected the parts from the factory. Ford only built 1,358 units of the 1969 Boss 429 to homologate the 429 semi-hemispherical engine for Nascar racing. It sold in 2013 at the Mecum auctions in Monterey for $550,000 to a Mustang/Shelby collector named Richard Ellis.