The history of # 3900
The internet has been a great asset to people looking for Shelby history. This story was written by
Dave has first hand knowledge of the early history for original GT500 KR convertible.
The Continuing Odyssey of #03900
It was soon after the snows had departed in early 1978 when a wrecker operator stopped in my office at the
Ford dealership in Anderson, Indiana. He had noticed a Shelby poster I had on my wall, and we started talking cars.
After a few minutes, he mentioned that the lot where they would haul cars to, that were abandoned, stolen or wrecked,
had what he thought was a burned Shelby. My enthusiasm was at a high level when I drove over to where he directed me.
Because I knew the wrecker driver, I got in right away, walked over to where they pointed and found a real mess.
The Shelby was resting on its brake hubs, the interior was gutted only in the way a hot fire can destroy and the
engine and transmission were gone.
Not being expert in body repair and not knowing how to go about a rebuild such as the Shelby was going to require,
I still couldn’t bear the thought of this car going to the crusher. Its VIN plate was intact though having the
evidence of smoke and grit on it. (Some of that smoke and grit is still on the plate of the rebuilt car) The hood
was nothing more than a splotch of fiberglass and its roll bar was nothing more than a pipe. I don’t remember
what I paid for the hulk but it couldn’t have been too high because in 1978, Ford salesmen in a GM town did not
make very much money.
I put wheels and tires on it to ready it for the short trip to my house. As soon as I got the rear tires on it,
I took a picture of it. Why I didn’t put the front tires on before I photographed it, I don’t remember. I did
follow up with a picture of the VIN plate. That very day, I had the same wrecker operator haul it to my home and
I starting cleaning out some of the debris from the fire. I remember sitting on a chair next to it trying to figure
out what to do next. The dash was such a burned mess that I almost gave up then and there.
I soon got together with one of the parts people at the dealer and found out the fiberglass headlight bezels
and the front nose piece were still available from Ford; however, neither the hood nor the trunk deck could be
ordered. I ordered what I could and the pieces came in on the next truck.
At some point several months later, and I do not know how the word got around, a Shelby enthusiast called me
and asked if I in fact had the KR convertible. After I admitted having it, he asked if he could buy it, as
he knew someone in Michigan that would restore it.
In 1978, I was not very acknowledgeable about the significance of the id plate and the color code plate.
At the time, I was relieved to be able to get my money back and a little extra cash to boot, so I made the deal.
I have often wondered what became of #03900. Several weeks ago, after a long absence from Shelby events and friends
that I had made during the early days of SAAC, I posed a question about the old KR on SAAC’s forum. Imagine my
surprise when several replied as to where it is and its present immaculate condition.
Here’s what I know about 8T03R211027-03900, either from early-day heresay or by my own experience:
- Verbal accounts from 1978 stated that itt was regularly seen on the streets of Anderson, Indiana
in racing mode…
- It must have had a very hard life judgginng from its condition apart from the fire damage…
- There was very little left of its equiipmment, having either been burned or acetylene-torched…
- The KR striping was still intact…
- Engine, transmission, drive shaft, hoood,, rear deck, the total interior including its dash, console and
door panels, roll bar, glass, convertible top and wheels were either gone or destroyed…
- Parts like the metal convertible bars annd the metal forms for the seats were twisted beyond any possible
- The color on the car at the time I gott iit was more of a pale yellow so it probably had been repainted
sometime prior to the fire – it was not the Bright Yellow known as WT6066…
I’m in great hopes that the rebuilt KR will be purchased and put into someone’s collection who will appreciate
the car. As to the current sales claims about the Shelby, I do have certain reservations. Does it have a donor
interior? There is no doubt!! Does it have a donor body? I have no way of knowing at this time. However,
I’ll share more, as more information is uncovered.
As I certainly believe there is more to the story of this old convertible, I’m going to keep digging and
perhaps, as details come to light, Pete will let me update my saga. If anyone knows any further information
or details about this KR’s past 30 years, from the months following its junkyard life to its present finished
condition, or even its earlier history, help complete the picture of this very worthy 1968 Shelby GT-500KR
convertible by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Shelby # 3900 was for sale at the time of this writing. I do know it spent some time in Wisconsin after being
in the late 1980s or early 1990s. That restoration was done by Mark's Mustangs. That business has been closed.
Judging from the current condition, I believe the car may have been restored again. This story should be a reminder to always
do your research, you never know what you will find.