The 1968 model year started
in August of 1967. This was to allow enough time for the cars to be built for a
fall unveiling. In September of 1967, Meutchen assembly plant in New Jersey
supplied AO Smith with a handful of "new" 1968 Mustangs. These Mustangs would
become the first 1968 Shelbys produced. All of these cars were Sunlit Gold in
The United Auto Workers went on strike in September of 1967.
Unfinished Mustangs sat idle for weeks in all three Mustang assembly plants.
Full scale Shelby production would not start for another two full months (November 1967).
While it's true we don't know exactly which one of these cars was
"first", we do know all have an interesting history. It appears they were all
used as engineering test vehicles. Upon completion of the testing, they were returned to stock specifications and sold as used cars.
Factory paperwork sometimes refers to these cars
as "pre-production" or "pilot cars".
I am aware of a sixth car, but there is not enough information to post at this time.
I have been able to track down the histories of four of these cars. As more information becomes available
about pilot cars, it will be added to this page.