One-of-a-kind 1967 GT500 Super Snake will cross the block at Mecum's Indianapolis auction in May.
While working on the GT350 and GT500 with Ford back in 1967, Carroll Shelby was asked by Goodyear, who he was West Coast distributor for at the time, to partake in a promotional event for its new line of Thunderbolt economy tires. Shelby agreed, and used a GT500 (#544) but replaced the stock 428 ci engine with a special lightweight all-aluminum 427 block prepared by chief engineer Fred Goodell. This was essentially the same engine that powered the GT40 MkII to victory in Le Mans the previous year, and was good for around 600 horsepower.
The GT500 also received a special rear axle and transmission, unique chrome inboard headlight surrounds, Le Mans blue hood striping, and a set of Goodyear Thunderbolt whitewall tires. With upgrades complete, the GT500 headed to Goodyear's high-speed test track near San Angelo, Texas, where Goodell drove the 500-mile test run of the new tires averaging 142 mph and a top speed of 172 mph. The test was a spectacular success with the Thunderbolts retaining 97 percent of original tread. After the test-run, a limited run of 50 Super Snakes identical to the test car was considered but ultimately scrapped as it was deemed too costly.
At twice the price of a baseline GT500, the Super Snake would have been priced well beyond the competition, including Shelby's own 427 Cobra. The model subsequently passed through the hands of several different owners before being purchased by its current owner who, in an attempt to return the car to the state it was in for the test run, fitted correct wires and hoses for the engine, a period-correct fire extinguisher, NOS Shelby 10-spoke alloys, and four brand-new Thunderbolt whitewall tires. The one-off 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake test vehicle is now destined for auction, and will cross the block at Mecum's Indianapolis auction between 14-19 May.