The pinnacle of the pony car wars came in 1968, and Carroll Shelby wanted bragging rights. A public relations expert in his own right, Shelby caught wind that the big wigs at GM were planning on coming out with a special car, to be called the King of the Road. Always wanting to one-up the competition, Shelby had his attorney copyright the name and had a couple hundred “KR” decals made to show he was “using” the name, adding another notch in his belt at the same time.
For any Shelby collector, the 1968 Shelby GT500KR Convertible is near the top of the must-have list, and this KR checks off all the right boxes, including on its Marti Report. One of only 57 factory 4-speed GT500KR convertibles produced with factory air conditioning, No. 02354 is finshed in Acapulco Blue with Black interior. The car was originally shipped to Fletcher Ford Inc. in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, where it was sold new to the DuPont family, and it recently received a comprehensive rotisserie restoration.
Dropping the white convertible top reveals the classic black interior with dual bucket seats, a rear bench and roll hoop. The drop-down center console features an oil pressure gauge and ammeter, just below the Philco AM radio. The air conditioning vents are set in the wood-applique-trimmed dash, and the wood-trimmed steering wheel is fitted to the optional Tilt-Away column.
The KR’s original, matching- numbers 428 CI Cobra Jet V-8 with Holley 735 CFM 4-barrel carb rests under the hood, which was factory rated at 335 HP and 440 lb-ft of torque at 3,400 RPM, thanks in part to the functional ram-air induction. To say the engine’s power was underrated would be a gross understatement, as independent dyno tests of the day revealed horsepower to be well above 400, even with factory smog equipment in place. Power front disc and rear drum brakes shed speed, while the Shelby fortified suspension, power steering and factory steel wheels shod in Goodyear Polyglas E7.0-15 tires topped with Shelby mag-style hubcaps take care of the handling duties, ensuring this Shelby is indeed the King of the Road.