The most expensive Mustang in the world just sold at auction for $2.2 million.
Ford has just unveiled the 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500 to great acclaim at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, but there’s another GT500 that’s stealing hearts and minds down in Florida at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction, and it’s a 1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 Super Snake.
What’s so special about this GT500? It’s the only one ever made. GT500s were a dime a dozen back in 1967 (well, not really, but there were more than one of them), but this particular GT500 was a special one-off prototype built with a new engine and a new set of tires designed to be incredibly economical.
The story of the GT500 Super Snake is somewhat bizarre. Goodyear wanted to hold a promotional event for their new line of Thunderbolt economy tires and asked Carroll Shelby to bring his top of the line Mustang to test them. Instead of bringing a Cobra Jet or a GT500, Shelby built the GT500 Super Snake to create a supercar that could outperform all other cars on the road.
Because why stop at demonstrating some boring old tires when you can also demonstrate a prototype super ‘Stang?
Under the hood is the same 427 cubic inch (7.0) V8 engine that powered the GT40 MkII Le Mans racer that Ford loves to remind people crushed Ferrari three years in a row. Output was measured at 520 hp, which was routed through a 4-speed manual transmission.
Since the test was to run the car for 500 miles flat out, it was given several modifications to ensure that it would only ever need to stop for gas. A new external oil cooler, braided lines, and a remote oil filter were installed, and since the car was going to be driven around an oval track, a set of stiffer springs and shocks were installed on the passenger side for the sustained left turn.
Finally, some 10-spoke aluminum wheels were slapped on with a set of Goodyear Thunderbolt economy tires.
Carroll Shelby himself started the run at 170 mph but then handed it over to chief engineer Fred Goodell to complete the run. The car managed a sustained 142 mph for the 500 miles, with the tires retaining 97% of their tread.
Afterward, Shelby tried to put the car into production, but the car was twice as expensive as a regular GT500 and even more expensive than a Cobra Jet. So instead, they sold it or $5,000 in August of 1967.
It bounced around several owners before winding up with Richard Ellis, who nabbed it with 26,000 miles on the odometer. He restored the Super Snake to the condition it was during the day of its Goodyear test run, even finding a set of Thunderbolt tires in a warehouse in Ohio.
And it just sold at Mecum’s for $2.2 million. Shelby would be proud.