The 1968 model year was an interesting one for the Shelby lineup. Ford took increasing control in all aspects of the cars’ design, production, and marketing. Notably, production shifted from Shelby’s Los Angeles facility to a specialty factory run by A.O. Smith, in Ionia, Michigan — the same company tasked with producing the cars’ unique fiberglass body components. Additionally, Shelby opened an office in one of Motown’s industrial suburbs.
It was also the second year for the big-block-powered G.T. 500, with its Police Interceptor-based 428 engine. And while the original Shelby models were stripped-down, track-focused performers, the later Sixties saw an evolution of them into more luxurious muscle cars, like this 1968 G.T. 500 four-speed convertible, in Candy Apple Red, that’s offered on Hemmings Auctions. Along with its lid-lowering option, a Marti Report indicates it’s one of only four such convertibles ordered with factory air conditioning.
That makes it one rare Shelby, but according to the seller, the original owner was also a former Olympian and Hollywood action star: Buster Crabbe. After winning a gold medal in swimming at the 1932 Olympics, he went on to portray Tarzan, Buck Rogers, and Flash Gordon in popular film serials of the 1930s and 1940s. When his acting career began to slow, he became the public face of a New Jersey swimming pool manufacturer and it’s the Garden State where he apparently purchased this G.T. 500.