SUSPENSION BASICS

This page will give you a starting point for detailing your car. Keep in mind there were variations on the production line and not all cars were the same. I encourage everyone to do their own research and compare it to what you find here.

If you are going to show the car in MCA Thoroughbred or SAAC Division 1, painting natural parts may not be appropriate.

I encourage you to drive your car and enjoy it the way Carroll Shelby intended it to be... Keep in mind, when the cars were new, many of the suspension components would have been rusty, by the time they hit the show room floors.

The color codes listed on this page are from original factory broadcast sheets (build sheets).


FRONT SUSPENSION

Coil Springs

Coil Springs were painted semi-gloss black. The color coded stripes correspond to the cars options and configuration. In the case of the KR fastbacks, two identical cars could have different color codes, based on their build dates. KR fastbacks started out using the Gold/Gray spring and then switched to the more common Gold/Pink. See the chart at the bottom of the page for the correct color codes for your application. If you are working on a Mustang, the Master Parts Catalog may be of assistance.

Spring Seats

The Spring Seats are natural in color. You can use a bare steel paint. Original seats have a Ford trademark and a manufacture stamp on the side.


Upper Control Arms

These were also bare steel. I have not found any originals that had black paint on them yet. One way to spot an original upper control arm is look for the four rivets holding the upper ball joint. If you have three rivets or bolts, the ball joints have probably been replaced. The upper control arm pivot, also natural, usually has a yellow paint daub on it.

Spindle

The spindle is natural. Many people mistakenly believe these are cast iron. They are actually forged steel. Spindles have a very dark finish. This is a result of the forging process. Look for color codes at the top and on the legs. The spindle should also have the cork gasket. The gasket will keep the disc brake, dust shield from rattling. Contrary to popular belief, I think it is unlikely that the left and right suspension components are always coded green and yellow.

Lower Control Arms

Lower Control Arms are also natural. However, most of the arm is dipped in semi-gloss black. This gives the part a very unique appearance. Original arms also have two small brackets on the bottom. Ball joints should be riveted to the arms.

Front Shocks

Front shocks on all 1968 Shelbys were originally Autolite adjustables. The shock was a dark blue color. These were made by Gabriel. The originals carry a "Z7ZD-18045-A" identification number. Koni shocks were not used at the factory in 1968.

Strut Rods

The struts are natural. Actually they were probably originally phosphated. One thing I have found on many unrestored cars is the rear washer is inverted. Some strut rod washers have the words "This side toward rubber" imprinted on them. You may want to look at your washers. If you feel they were this way, then you should duplicate that during reassembly. Even though the strut rod is steel, I like to use the cast iron paint on these to give them a darker tint.


REAR SUSPENSION

Leaf Springs

Leaf Springs were unpainted. Again, I prefer to use the cast iron paint to represent the factory phosphate coating, which is a dark gray. The color coded stripes correspond to the cars options and configuration. The springs also have an engineering identification stamping. See the chart at the bottom of the page for the correct color codes for your application. I have seen rear springs color coded in different areas. The spring hangers are natural in color.

Rear Shocks

On GT350s, GT500s and KR automatic transmission cars, the rear shocks are Autolite. These were painted blue and carried the ID number "Z7ZD-18080-A". The actual part number is C7ZZ-18080-A.


They were made by Gabriel. Build sheets for KR 4spd cars list the code "ORG" for rear shocks. However, these shocks were painted black in color. They carried an orange paint daub. The ID number is C8ZF-18080-J1.

Shock Mounting Plates

The shock mounting plates are natural in appearance. All GT350s and GT500s used these shock mounting plates. The GT500 KR, automatic transmission cars also used these plates.


These plates are from a 4spd, GT500 KR. The shock mounting plates on a GT500 KR with a 4speed are different because of the staggered shock arrangement. 1968 GT500 KR, 4spds were the only 1968 Shelbys to use the staggered shocks. The 4spd plates are stamped "428L" and "428R".


Rear Axle

The rear axle has many details. Basically, the carrier (pumpkin) is a red oxide primer. The housing is semi-gloss black. Very commonly the axle codes are written on the axle housing. Especially the last four digits of the build sheet code (refer to the chart)

Driveshaft

Lastly, a correctly striped driveshaft. The driveshaft is bare steel, the yokes may have orange paint daubs on them. This one is striped; light blue, dark blue, red and is correct for GT500 convertible with an automatic transmission. Stripes are about 1/2 inch wide; separated by two inch spaces. The first stripe is approximately 14 inches back on the shaft.


The Best 1968 Shelby Axle Chart
Model Trans Axle Type Door
Code
Axle Tag Codes Ratio Build Sheet
Code
GT 350 Auto Conventional 8 "WES-U" / 935 3.50:1 8935A
GT 350 4spd Conventional 1 "C8ZX-A" / 960 3.89:1 4001A
GT 350 Auto w/AC Conventional 8 "WES-U" / 935 3.50:1 8935A
GT 350 4spd w/AC Conventional 1 "C8ZX-A" / 960 3.89:1 4001A
GT 500 Auto Conventional 8 "WES-U" / 935 3.50:1 8935A
GT 500 4spd Conventional 8 "WES-U" / 935 3.50:1 8935A
GT 500 Auto w/AC Conventional 6 "C8ZX-G" / 968 3.00:1 4001G
GT 500 4spd w/AC Conventional 6 "C8ZX-G" / 968 3.00:1 4001G
GT 500 KR Auto Traction-lok H "WFD-A" / 945 3.50:1 8945A
GT 500 KR 4spd Traction-lok H "WFD-F" / 981 3.50:1 8981A
GT 500 KR Auto w/AC Conventional 6 "C8ZX-G" / 968 3.00:1 4001G
GT 500 KR 4spd w/AC Traction-lok 7 "C8ZX-M" / 967 3.00:1 4001M



the "concours color coding chart"

Model Transmission Front Spring Front Spring w/AC Rear Spring Shocks Driveshaft
350 FB Automatic YEL ORG YEL ORG BROWN Z7ZD-A LBLU DBLU PK
350 FB 4 Speed YEL ORG YEL TAN BROWN Z7ZD-A LBLU DBLU PK
350 CNV Automatic YEL ORG YEL TAN ORANGE Z7ZD-A LBLU DBLU PK
350 CNV 4 Speed YEL TAN YEL TAN ORANGE Z7ZD-A LBLU DBLU PK
500 FB Automatic GLD PNK GLD PNK BROWN Z7ZD-A LBLU DBLU RD
500 FB 4 Speed GLD PNK GLD GRY BROWN Z7ZD-A WHT ORG YEL
500 CNV Automatic GLD PNK GLD GRY ORANGE Z7ZD-A LBLU DBLU RD
500 CNV 4 Speed GLD GRY GLD GRY ORANGE Z7ZD-A WHT ORG YEL
KR FB Automatic GLD PNK GLD PNK ORANGE Z7ZD-A LBLU DBLU RD
KR FB 4 Speed GLD PNK GLD PNK ORANGE Z7ZD-A/ORG AZUR ORG YEL
KR CNV Automatic GLD GRY GLD GRY ORANGE Z7ZD-A LBLU DBLU RD
KR CNV 4 Speed GLD GRY GLD GRY ORANGE Z7ZD-A/ORG AZUR ORG YEL


The color codes on this chart are taken directly from factory build sheets for 1968 Shelbys. Other combinations and color codes may exist. GT500 4speed cars do NOT have a color listed on their build sheets. Those colors listed were supplied by an owner. Now you will know where to look and what to look for...

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