America loves speed. The 1960s and 1970s might have produced the wildest and rarest muscle cars packing giant torque-rich V-8s, but the 1980s brought its share of powerful machines to the street, too—cars that were quick and met the more stringent emissions controls. And behind the horsepower there are some surprising stories.
1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
The first two years of Carroll Shelby’s Mustangs are the most desirable to many Mustang purists. Those 1965 and 1966 GT 350s were light, simply styled, and perfect for track work. But the later 1967 and 1968 cars offered more fun under the hood and were the machines of choice if you wanted to win drag races.
For the first time, ’67 to ’68 GT 500 Shelbys came with 355-hp 428-cubic-inch big-block power under the hood. Car testers of the day saw quarter-mile time slips in the mid-to-low 14-second bracket—quick for the day. The Shelby Mustangs received more scoops and flashier styling than the older cars to match the new-found power and torque. And the even quicker KR (King of the Road) high-performance model was available in 1968 too.
Little-Known Fact: The 1967 Shelby Mustangs used Mercury Cougar tail lamps, but the 1968 models used lamps from the ’66 Ford Thunderbird.
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