Two Special Paint Cars
Two special cases

Shelby built 159 special paint cars during 1968. I would like to share with you two cars that have been a mystery for a long time. These two special paint cars take the word "special" to a new level. Both of these cars were painted the wrong color at the factory . Let me also say, if you are going to use the words "factory error" you should probably have some good paperwork to back you up and both of these owners do.

The case of # 3324

3324 is now in Texas

#3324 was originally scheduled to be painted Ford color WT 4017. That color is a special red. When I began researching the special paint cars, I came across #3324. It was on the other side of the country. I was happy to receive a copy of the build sheet from the owner. The build sheet lists the color code "WT 4017" on the bottom. I recorded the car as special red.

Sometime later, I was contacted by a gentleman named Tom. Tom had recalled seeing an orange Shelby near his home in Texas many years earlier. He described the color as "UT Orange". A reference to the University of Texas school colors. He asked me if I could assist him in locating the car. There are only 15 non yellow special paint cars and only a few orange cars, so locating the car would not be hard.

From Tom's recollections, I determined the car was most likely #3324. It had been in Texas for a long time. I told Tom the car was most likely special red and not orange. Tom was able to follow up and eventually bought the special paint car.

As new information became available, I began to do some follow up research. I checked my names and numbers. I wrote to Tom to confirm that the car he had purchased was "WT 4017". Tom acknowledged those were the codes found on the car and the build sheet. He further added the car appeared orange and had no signs of ever being repainted. Tom suggested I send him some color samples. I sent him three samples and he matched a color chip to the car. The chip Tom selected was WT 5107. That color is a pale orange. I guess if I had to describe the color, I would call it UT orange.

This was more than a little odd. How could the build sheet be wrong ? That was until Tom contacted Kevin Marti. When Tom received the original sales invoices for his car, he also received a Ford memo. The memo was sent to the original dealer. It clearly shows the car's serial number and states "car was to be special red, painted orange by mistake". Mystery solved.

The case of # 3431

The original owner with 3431

There is a pattern to the way special paint cars were built. It appears the fifteen non yellow cars were all built in the first group of 53 special paint cars ordered. Most likely they were all fastbacks.

When convertible # 3431 came up for sale in Colorado several people noticed the lack of a paint code on the door tag. The most logical deduction is that the GT 350 was special paint code "WT 6066".

I found the car to be in possession of the original owner. One potential buyer of the car questioned the owner about the color. The owner stated, "the car is white and it was always white." The car did show some signs of being touched-up in the eBay photos. There was little doubt the car was a special paint car. The serial number appears several documents indicating this car was designated to be a special paint car. To the best of my knowledge, there is no "special white". The special paint memos clearly refer to six special colors.

Vinny Liska, from the Shelby Club, was able to shed some light on the car. He found an original inventory sheet from AO Smith. The sheet listed the cars on hand in the Shelby lot. The sheet listed serial numbers, transmission types and colors. # 3431 is listed as "white".

So, it appears this car originally intended to be special yellow was painted white. A build sheet found inside the car confirmed the car was supposed to be yellow. The current owner also tells me the car has no build tag. It does not appear to have ever had one. It shows no signs of repair. That might begin to describe the error. When the car was disassembled for restoration, no yellow paint was found.

In both cases, factory paperwork (Ford memo/ AO Smith inventory) indicates these two cars were painted the wrong colors. Now, we just have to decide how to describe them....