1968 Shelby Price and Value Guide


...and you thought it was all pictures


You have probably seen many price guides that include values for 1968 Shelbys. Shelby values can change quickly and often out pace magazine publishing lead times.

On this page, I intend to share with you several of my own experiences and give you some guidelines in determining the value of how much a car is worth. Personally, I have seen two identical Shelbys sell for a difference of $75,000. I will discuss what makes a "good car" and why two similar cars are not always valued equally. I have studied the 1968 Shelby prices for more than fifteen years. I will also discuss how to conduct a search for a car and where to look. Finally, as a buyer, you have certain responsibilities.

Determining the Value of a car
I will work on the assumption that the most original, unmolested cars are the most valuable to the collectors. A car taken from the assembly line and preserved in a time capsule is the ideal. The farther you get from stock, the more the value decreases. Things like missing parts and replaced sheetmetal will detract from the "perfect" automobile. Original, unrestored cars with matching numbers will always bring the greatest prices.

So, What is Matching Numbers?
Matching numbers means the car is original in every respect. If you are looking for an investment grade, quality car, this should be your goal. If you simply want a car to drive around, this may not be as important to you. To determine if a car is matching numbers you will need to study the car you intend to buy. A basic understanding of FORD part numbers, unique parts and codes are all important. If you don't know these things, you will need to find someone who does. I will not go into detail about decoding cars. In the case of the 1968 Shelby, make sure windshield tag, the build tag, the warranty plate and the Shelby VIN plate all match. Additionally, these should match the title of the car. Some of these tags have codes on them and you will need to make sure the codes match the current configuration of the car. If possible, you will want to make sure the front, inner fender apron stampings also match. IMPORTANT: No one can guarantee you a car has matching numbers. Determining if the original tags came on a specific unibody is difficult. Once a vehicle has been restored or repaired this may be virtually impossible. For this reason, you should have a basic understanding of sheet metal repair techniques. Buying an expensive collector car is not easy.

Variations from Stock
After 40 some years, fewer and fewer cars are strict numbers matching. Will a color change effect value? How about a non-matching motor? Generally speaking the answer to both questions is "yes". The car will be devalued whatever the cost to return the car to stock condition will be. You can only have one original motor and one original paint job. That is why the unrestored cars are more valuable. You can still have a valuable car if your car has been restored. A car missing documentation, history or unique parts (such as identification tags or original fiberglass) may be cars to stay away from. If a car is missing one identification tag and everything else is correct, it may still be a car you wish to consider.

The Color Change
A true collector will want the car to be the original colors. An example of this is a GT500KR I sold for a friend years ago. The car was a national show winner. The color change was the only deviation from stock and the car was painted a stock Shelby color. The car would not be considered "matching numbers". The color change excluded many potential buyers. My value guide takes into account a car that has been repainted. Because color is a matter of personal preference, there are likely to be an equal number of people who like the color change. The value of a car will usually not decrease by more than 10% for a color change, unless the car is a non-production color. Unique colors, such as those documented on the website, may actually add value to the car. If car has a color change, look for evidence of the original paint.

The Non-matching Drivetrain
In 1968, Shelbys were driven on the streets. Many cars were raced. Today it is not unusual for a car to be missing its original motor. The value guide shows a price range. Cars with non-matching motors are reflected on the lower end of the scale. Cars with matching number drivetrains are valued higher on the scale.

Missing or Damaged Parts
Missing parts are almost always an issue. It is unusual for a car to have all of its parts. Many cars left the factory missing parts. Items such as wheels, pollution controls and original carburetors were often discarded or changed in favor of aftermarket parts. It is common to see GT500KRs missing several thousands of dollars of parts under the hood. In my opinion, you should not be willing to pay top dollar for a car missing these items. If parts are missing from the car, you must determine the replacement cost of these items and subtract them from the price guide. I have also seen cars with big price tags that require extensive repairs. The cost of the repairs should be reflected in the value. Reproduction parts may detract, depending on the availablity of the original parts.

The History and Quality
History and documentation are often overlooked. People see the big price tags, but can not see an unbroken chain of ownership. Please refer to the DOCUMENTATION page on the website for a list of the types of documents that are available for 1968 Shelbys. Be skeptical of cars without documents. The more supporting documentation a car has the better. If the car is restored, the quality of the workmanship is important. Many body shops do good work on late model cars. But, using the same techniques on a classic musclecar may be costly. Additionally, many shops are not specialized, but rather cater to many makes and models. This makes it very easy to loose the details of a quality restoration. Parts added to vehicle can, in some cases, add value to the car. A Paxton supercharger on a small block car is a good example. The installation of the supercharger is a bolt-on job. Be carefull, because some items such as adding air conditioning, may actually hurt the value of the car, installing this item requires cutting the original body panels. Changes, that can be documented by original paperwork, are always interesting. The best example of this is the infamous 427 engine. A few years back, many people claimed their 1968 Shelbys had "factory installed" 427s. When the FORD records were released, all of these engines became "dealer installed". {note: the records reflect no 427 cars were built} However, without the proper documents, the car is just another 68 missing its original motor.

Shelby Parts Cars?
Have you ever seen one? Unlike the Mustang, there is no such thing as a Shelby parts car. They are simply to valuable. During the last fifteen years, I have seen less than 10 cars under $15,000. Most of these cars were burned beyond recognition. No doubt, some of these cars are back on the streets today. The bottom line is...you are not going to find a "cheap" Shelby. You can find a good deal and you can still find a project car. You need to ready to buy and be realistic about prices.

Common Scams
Recently, there have been many internet scams. Typically, the car has an attractive price and the seller lives in foreign country. The story usually has a sick or dying relative in it or an offer to ship you the car. The seller steals advertisements from other internet sites and does not own the car. Once again, an example of why you need to do your research first. The only thing these people are after is your deposit money or personal information.

Car Show Awards
National awards such as those from the Shelby American Automobile Club {SAAC} or Mustang Club of America {MCA} add value to the car. Local or regional cars show awards do not change the values. You still need to check all of these cars.

Appraisals
Certainly, there are many reputable and knowledge appraisal services. However, it is very hard to be knowledgable on all cars. Will someone who appraises Rolls Royce automobiles, know if a starter delay is missing from a GT500KR? The unfortunate part of an appraisal is, that if you know the right people, you can get one for just about any value. Do not take an appraisal at face value. You have the responsibilty to be the knowledgable person. Just because a car has a high appraisal value, doesn't mean someone will pay that much.

Buyer's Responsibilties
As a buyer you have several responsibilites. First, research your prospective car. You need to know the difference betwen a good car and a scam. Secondly, be ready to pull the trigger. It is best if you have the money in hand when the right car becomes available. Many cars are sold before the advertisements ever appear. Meet as many car people as you can. I suggest reading some of the Mustang forums online also.

eBay
Is eBay a good way to find a Shelby ? I tracked eBay auctions for six months and you may be surprised at the results. Are eBay prices higher or lower than market prices ? Read my report and find out!

THE EBAY REPORT

I have read many comments about recent eBay and collector car auctions. eBay can be a good way to find a car. You should treat the auction as a means of contacting the seller. DO NOT buy a car sight unseen. If you have not seen the car personally or do not have specific knowledge of the owner, I recommend you do not buy a Shelby from an online auction.



Structure of the Guide

Generally speaking, convertibles are worth more than fastbacks and big block cars are worth more than small block cars. The value guide is based on this structure. All prices are for street driven cars. Most cars currently on the market will fall in the value guide. Exceptional cars may be as much as 30-40% higher than the value shown in the chart. These would be near perfect cars and cars with a pedigree. The values shown are based on known sales. The chart will be adjusted as the market changes.
Collector car auctions tend to skew prices upward. I have found that collector car auction prices are usually 30-40% higher than full retail values. There are many reasons for this and I will not go into the details here. I recommend not using collector car auction prices to determine the value of a car. Certainly, you will find many people who do. If you are buying a car from a "dealer", please understand that the car has previously changed hands at a lower price. Ideally, you would like to find the same car before the dealer buys it. There are also good reasons to buy a car from a dealer. This is why networking is important. The prices on the value guide are based on primary sales, not dealer sales.

The 1968 Shelby Value Guide


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