Stunning 1967 Shelby GT500 Mustang

Forget about replicas and movie stars; this Shelby GT500 is the genuine article

Photographers: Thomas Wielecki

When it comes to factory performance muscle, few cars invoke a response like a 1967 Shelby GT500. Sure, we love Monaros and GT Falcons but the Yanks have elevated the ’67 GT500 to god-like status.

First published in the February 2007 issue of Street Machine

When Ford built the Fastback ’67 Mustang, no-one could have predicted the affection the public would still have for the model 40 years later. Movies have been built around it and the current Mustang uses more than a few styling cues lifted from that classic Pony car.

Ed Singleton, owner of this gorgeous red Muzzy, will tell you that there’s still a lot of love out there for the classics: “People stop me to photograph and video it all the time.”

But don’t go thinking this is a replica; it’s the real deal, which gives you an idea of what it’s worth. Even so, Ed says: “I believe cars should be driven.”

He’s got a few cars to choose from too: a super-rare E49 ‘big tank’ and an E55 Charger, an HQ GTS coupe and an XT GT, an Aston Martin DB6 and a ’73 Porsche 911 RS. And that’s not the full list!

“Apparently I’ve been obsessed with cars since I was two years old,” says Ed, “but I’ve never been a one-make man.”

The Shelby was one of those ‘have to have’ cars, which is how Ed usually explains his purchases to long-suffering wife Emily. Buying the Shelby cost a quid but when we first saw the car at Summernats 18, it was worth every penny.

The Shelby was Dark Moss Green when it landed here around ’68–’70, and was converted to right-hook soon after. These days you’d look at a guy like he had two heads if he wanted to cut up an original but that’s what happened back then. The early history of this car is a little vague but its life has been well documented since the early 80s.

Ed doesn’t mind that it’s been repainted red; he cares more about what the car embodies than whether the correct stickers are on the shock towers. Even though it was sprayed back in the early 80s, the paint is so nice that you wouldn’t want to mess with it again.

For the trainspotters out there, the original 428 is in storage and a raunchier 427 sits in its place — apparently it’s a common conversion for GT500s. A few early examples left the factory with the potent 427 side-oiler (as opposed to the early 60s top-oiler) fitted, and there is even talk that back in the day some dealers fitted them on request.

So why change? Well, the GT500 in 428 configuration, with 10.5:1 comp and twin four-barrels (1967 was the only year for twin fours on the GT500) was no slouch with 355hp and 420ft-lb of the twisty stuff. But the short-stroke 427 — which powered the Le Mans-winning Shelby Cobra — pumped a massive 425hp and 480ft-lb of torque. That’s a hell of a difference.

When he bought it, the Shelby was more of a show car than a vehicle capable of facing regular driving duties. Mechanically tired, Ed reckons the Fastback was lucky to make the trip to Summernats and back without a problem. Since then it’s been enjoying a gradual overhaul; “I drive it when it’s not being worked on,” he says.

So far it’s had new brakes, new suspension, new bushes, and a freshened gearbox and diff — basically there’s just the engine to go, and we reckon that’ll happen soon enough.

To improve the driving experience, Ed had the aftermarket extractors removed and the factory cast headers installed so the interior doesn’t become a sauna on long cruises, while a hydraulic cam tames the 427’s noise. An RRS power-assisted rack and pinion conversion lightens the steering.

Apart from the paint, the Fastback now looks just the way Shelby intended, inside and out.

Climb inside and you’ll find the 8000rpm tacho, wood-grain wheel, original AM radio and factory rollbar. Of course, the steering wheel is on the right side now (or the wrong side for purists) and Ed doesn’t see the need to change that.

The gleaming paint draws a crowd wherever he parks. Those scoops, spoilers and stripes seem to evoke passionate responses from all around. Raucous and harsh, it sounds just like a muscle car should, with plenty of pops and crackles when Ed backs off the throttle. There’s a deep-throated throb from the tailpipes on the open road, which opens into a deafening roar under full throttle. Even though Ed admits to calming the beast a little it still turns heads on sound alone.

“I never arrive discreetly,” Ed says. “I drive it across the Harbour Bridge in peak-hour traffic from time to time and people almost have accidents because they’re checking it out.”

Ed has no plans to sell the Shelby and unless there are two people carrying your wallet, you probably couldn’t afford it anyway. For Ed, the Shelby GT500 is a dream realised but he hasn’t finished dreaming. He’s always had a hankering for an HK GTS 327 Monaro or maybe a ’64 ’Vette with a small-block to keep the weight off the front wheels. Or maybe he’ll finish the FC wagon that he’s got undergoing a full rotisserie resto.

With so many cars, occasionally Ed divvies the keys up among mates and they go out for a cruise. It’s a neat idea; the cars get a leg-stretch and Ed gets to see how they sit on the road, a view few car owners get to enjoy.

They say you can’t own them all but it sounds like Ed’s going to give it a good try.


Inroduced in 1963, the 427 was designed as a NASCAR engine, built using specially cast high-nickel blocks and forged pistons. Early versions supplied oil to the rockers first (top-oiler), earning a reputation for tearing up cranks. Ford rectified this problem with the side-oiler in 1965, which pumped oil to the crankshaft first.

There were several configurations but generally the 427 claimed around 390–425hp and 480ft-lb. However, factory figures were frequently rather conservative so they didn’t upset the insurance companies. Some reckon a 427 with twin-fours on a high-rise factory manifold was good for around 500hp.

Then there was the drool-worthy 427 Cammer (SM, April ’06, shown above), using the redesigned SOHC heads that helped the 427 pump out 615hp using a single four-barrel.

What about the 428? That was the street engine. It was cheaper and easier to produce because it didn’t have a special block or piston, and had provisions for things like air con and power steering. The 427 was maintenance-heavy with its mechanical camshaft, and wouldn’t run on low octane fuel, but it was the real deal for those who couldn’t accept second place. The 428, by contrast, was a nice reliable street engine


Colour:Candy Apple Red
Engine:Ford 427 big-block (original 428 in storage)
Manifold:Medium hi-rise factory
Carbs:Twin 650 Holleys
Heads:Stock 427
Cam:Mild hydraulic
Exhaust:Stock cast-iron headers
Gearbox:Top loader
Diff:Nine-inch, 3.5:1
Brakes:Four-spot calipers (f), drums (r)
Springs & shocks:Factory
Rims:Shelby Kelsey Hayes, 15×7 (f&r)
Rubber:Goodyear Eagle GT, 215/65/15 (f&r)
Wheel:Shelby wood-grain
Seats:Deluxe interior, black
Gauges:8000rpm tacho, under-dash cluster, oil & amps
Stereo:Original AM radio
Cage:Factory Shelby

Charles Lark, Craig Alderson; Dennis Wilson, D&S Automotive (02 9545 1912); wife Emily, and Ed jr for sharing the passion.