The Ford Mustang was among the most in demand cars in the United States back in 1968. With a bevy of inline-6 and the V-8 engines, available in three body styles and affordable, Ford’s creation was on sitting on the peak of success. When the improved Shelby Mustang was launched and its many versions, things became even better. However, Carroll Shelby and Ford felt that there was still some room for improvement. Finally, in April 1968, their dream turned to reality as they launched the Shelby GT600 which later on became known as the GT500 KR or the King of the Road. And today, after several decades, the first generation of GT500 KR never lost its formidability as it became a favorite among muscle car collectors and aficionados alike.
Similar with the other 1968 Shelby Mustangs, King of the Road took benefit from its front end made from restyled fiberglass with twin louvers and hood scoops. There were also details which made this stand out from the rest of its kind, including the emblems of the Cobra Jet 428 found on its fenders, gas cap lid and gash and the GT500 KR graphics added to the front fenders.
Every KR comes fitted with either Marchal or Lucas fog lamps in its front grille openings, chrome bumpers, Ford Thunderbolt sourced taillights, contrasting Shelby stripes on top of the side skirts and a twin exhaust configuration.
Shelby created the GT500 KR in convertible and fastback body styles. They only assembled 318 drop tops unlike the almost 900 coupes, which make these vehicles awfully expensive and rare in this modern era.
Similar with other Mustangs, the 1968 Shelby GT500KR was made available in different options. Some of the extra features on the exterior included different special paints, tinted glass and stripe packages.
Despite receiving numerous updates for the 1968 model, the interior of the Mustang kept its familiarity, with the dashboard configuration hardly changed at all. It is natural for the Shelby version to pack one of a kind features unique to it alone, such as the Cobra-badged steering wheel, the Cobra-embossed leather and striped gear shift knob.
The options also included the power steering, Sport Deck rear seat, air conditioner, tilt-away steering column and AM radio, most of which can be found on any standard Mustang.
More features were also added to the interior of the GT500 KR, which include the molded door panels complete with wood inserts, Comfortweave upholstery, high back bucket seats and 3-spoke Rim-Blow steering wheel.
The name King of the Road was not given to this model for nothing. Beneath the long hood you will find the most powerful engine from Ford for the model year of 1968, the 428 Cobra Jet. Its 7.0-liter V-8 can pack around 440 pound feet of torque and 400 horsepower the moment this rolled of its assembly line, revving up as much as 5,000 rpm. However, this was underrated at the output of just 335 ponies. Combined with the Toploader 4-speed manual transmission, it has a powerful enough mill that sends it to fly from 0 to 60 mph in a matter of 6.3 seconds, with 140 mph top speed. These figures were amazing for 1968.
Indeed, the 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500KR is a true handsome icon that will remain a favorite among many classic buffs out there.