Barn Find

Rare Shelby GT500 Experimental Prototype Found Rotting In Texas Field

It’s one of only two Shelby GT500 notchback coupes in the world.

What you’re looking at here is one of the rarest Shelby GT500s in the world. It’s one of two experimental prototypes Shelby created back in the 1960s based on the Mustang notchback coupe. They were used as test mules during the development of the GT500 and, like most experimental prototypes, were originally supposed to be sent to the crusher.

However, the green example, known as The Green Hornet, survived and is currently owned by Craig Jackson from Barret Jackson. The 1968 Shelby EXP 500 Green Hornet went up for auction back in 2013 and nearly became the most expensive Mustang ever sold, but despite an astronomical closing bid of $1.8 million, it failed to meet the reserve.

It turns out the Green Hornet had a sibling that was also originally thought to be lost and destroyed. Affectionally known as Little Red, Barret Jackson recently rediscovered the second GT500 EXP prototype rotting away in a Texas field, where it has been stored by the same owner for the last two decades. With the help of renowned Ford Mustang expert Kevin Marti and using cross-references, serial numbers, date codes and other confidential documents, the team verified that this is the missing Shelby prototype originally built in 1967.

“Finding Little Red is the discovery of a lifetime,” said Jackson. “This Shelby prototype has been one of the most sought-after and elusive vehicles in postwar history. Countless enthusiasts and experts have searched for Little Red since it went missing in the 1960s. Many believed it was destroyed when the car was no longer needed. I’m excited to announce that was not the case. We’ve found Little Red and we intend to meticulously restore this legendary car back to its original glory.”

Featuring a restyled body and a Paxton supercharger added to the big-block engine, Little Red made an appearance at a Ford preview event in Los Angles, where it inspired Ford’s popular 1968 Mustang California Special before it was moved to storage and presumably lost. It’s certainly seen better days, however. The supercharged 428 V8 and three-speed automatic transmission are missing, as are the front fenders and hood.


Restoring this rare Shelby prototype won’t be easy since not many details are known about the car since Shelby sent it for scrap. As a result, Jackson has launched a website documenting the car’s restoration and requesting any information from anyone who may have old pictures or know any details about the prototype.

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