Twenty-four months. That’s essentially the duration my father shopped for, negotiated the purchase of, and owned his brand-new 1968 Shelby G.T. 500. On paper, the last 12 months of that timeframe doesn’t seem like one could accumulate enough enjoyment out of a dream car he financed for close to $5,000, yet he did. As discussed previously, once in his possession, the Shelby was enhanced with an aftermarket carburetor, was used as a daily commuter, burned through untold tanks of Sunoco 260 with alarming regularity, and, as I recently learned, was street raced to a perfect 3-0 record.
Dad drove his year-old Shelby G.T. 500 to Simon Ford, where it was traded in for a special-ordered 1969 Ford LTD loaded with every option, save for a 429-cu.in. engine. The G.T. 500 then appeared in this ad listing it for sale. In today’s money, that $4,195 asking price equates to $30,780.
It also was a hot ride—we’re talking engine heat—on top of already looking more and more like an impractical car for a young couple who were about to marry and buy their first house. It was enough to prompt Dad to trade the car in for something completely different: a 1969 Ford LTD Brougham. It was a car he and my mom owned for four years, which then started an endless buy/sell phase of car ownership that has been a part of the family legacy. Despite the variety of steeds, though, the one consistent question has always been, “Whatever happened to the Shelby?”
Almost immediately after the Shelby appeared in a local newspaper ad, Lilyan McGary—a resident of nearby Fitchville, Connecticut—arrived at Simon Ford to purchase the high-performance car for her son; according to lore, it was to be his first car. Over the course of the next several months, my dad remembered seeing the new owner(s) scooting along the area roads in the Shelby on several occasions before it slipped into the realm of former-car obscurity. How often it was driven, or the nature of its use when in the hands of the McGary family, is anyone’s guess to this day. Records make it clear, however, that on April 5, 1973, the G.T. 500 was purchased by nearby Canterbury resident Cliff Williams.