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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Here's truly a "King of the Road"

KING is Here! Among the many American muscle cars, the Ford Mustang name, which was first released in 1964, is probably at the top. However, unlike many of its competitors in those early years, the Mustang name is still going strong and growing to this day. Meanwhile, the Mustang, also known as The Pony Car continues to help defining the next generation of American great cars. 
1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR Fastback. (Picture from: OldCarNutz)
were among the most popular cars on the road in the latter half of the 1960s. The cars that Shelby American had built from the base Mustangs were creating a performance image that has endured to this day. It's undeniable, all the Shelby Mustangs are special, but the one that sticks out to most gearheads is the 1968 Shelby Cobra GT500 KR.
1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR Convertible. (Picture from: NewportCarMuseum)
As quoted of HotCars, the emergence of the iconic model began when Ford and Shelby felt they could raise the bar even higher for flat-out speed when they adopted the brand-new version of the 428 Police Interceptor engine, which was fitted with improved-breathing heads and larger exhaust manifolds, was dubbed the 428 Cobra Jet.
1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR Fastback. (Picture from: HotCars)
After they had finished developing the 428 Cobra-Jet special engine, and would offer it as an option for select models. And at that time Carroll Shelby made sure it to be used as the driving force of his GT500 lineups. Thus it was certain that the Cobra-Jet powered GT500 would be the top-of-the-line Shelby for 1968.
1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR Fastback. (Picture from: CarAndDriver)
While related to the model name, which was obtained by Carroll Shelby during a meeting with Lee Iacocca, who informed him that Chevrolet soon be releasing a new version of the Corvette which would be called King of the Road. At the time Shelby wanted that name for one of his cars and thought the Cobra-Jet powered GT500 was the perfect platform. After the meeting he then contacted his patent attorney to see if anyone had acquired the rights to the name; apparently no one has. Then immediately he registered and secured the rights to the name, thus the GT500 KR or the King of the Road was born.
1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR Fastback. (Picture from: CarAndDriver)
Well, the original Shelby Cobra GT500 KR was introduced a mid-year of 1968, and built based on the Shelby GT500 was featured with a redesigned front-end, hood and rear-end were made of fiberglass as an effort to reduce the car’s weigh. As Ford added "Cobra" to the Shelby moniker to help "usher in a new era of performance" at the company, and it's reffered to the new 428 Cobra Jet V8 engine planted under the KR's custom fiberglass hood. While in its brochure, the KR's Cobra Jet 428 engine was rated at “just” 335 horsepower to fool the competitors and the insurance companies. In fact, the engine puts out at least 400 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque.😅
1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR Fastback. (Picture from: HotCars)
The engine was backed by a C6 automatic transmission which sent power to a 3.50:1 Traction-Lok rear axle. The King of the Road set impressive times for that era, making 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, a quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds, and boasting a trap speed of 103 mph and a top speed of 140 mph. Additionally, the KR had power disc brakes, under-hood suspension bracing and staggered rear shocks to prevent axle wind-up and wheel hop, and all of those is offered for both the Fastback and Convertible models, making the KR the best of the best. 
Furthermore, the King of the Road was also equipped with shoulder harnesses, GT equipment group, visibility group, Sport Deck rear seat, power steering, tilt-away steering wheel, AM radio, interior décor group, as well as a tachometer and trip odometer. During 1968, Ford dealers managed to sell around 1,570 GT500KRs, consisting of 1,053 fastbacks and 517 convertibles. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | OLDCARNUTZ | HOTCARS | AUTOEVOLUTION | CARANDDRIVER | JKGALERIA | SCHMITT | NEWPORTCARMUSEUM ]
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