Factory 427-powered '67 Shelby G.T. 500 cars

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Brian Styles

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Mar 28, 2020, 7:48:15 PM3/28/20
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Factory 427-powered Shelby G.T. 500 Cars


Depending on who you talk to, you might have heard that only a single G.T. 500 left Shelby American with a 427 lightweight Le Mans engine and that it was called the "Super Snake." That’s not true -- there were a total of three (3). All three are documented on the Shelby American Production Orders and/or Invoices. Combing through paperwork and photos, here is what we know.


The three G.T. 500 factory 427-equipped cars include:


Detail

#0289

#0544

#1947

Paint

5 - Dark Green

4 - White

4 - White

Trim

5A - Black Knitted

5A - Black Knitted

5A - Black Knitted





Wheels

Mag Star (Deluxe)

Mag Star (Deluxe)

Shelby 10-Spoke

Full Top Stripes

?

Yes (Unique) **

?

Radio

?

?

AM (added by SAI)

Front End

67 (inboards)

67-½ (outboards)

67-½ (outboards)

Hood

?

Air/Con (louvered)

Air/Con (louvered)





DSO Number

84-2528

84-2530

84-2581

DSO Package

400F (4spd)

402F (4spd+EECS)

410F (automatic)

DSO Total Unit Qty

145

100

127

DSO Typed

1966-10-23

1966-10-17

1967-01-27

DSO Accepted

1966-10-24

1966-10-24

1967-01-31

DSO ‘Received’

1966-10-26

1966-10-26

1967-02-02





Ford Order Rec’d

1966-11-08

1966-11-08

1967-02-02

Ford Scheduled




Ford Built

1966-12-19

1967-01-11

1967-04-13

Ford Released








SAI Completed

1967-02-14

1967-02-09

1967-05-06

SAI Shipped

1967-02-14

1967-02-09






Sold through/to

Frontier Ford
Niagara Falls, NY

Mel Burns Ford
Long Beach, CA

N.C. Luhmann

San Francisco, CA


** Unknown if unique triple top stipes on #0544 were applied by Shelby American or by Mel Burns Ford.


General Notes:


Shelby American did not special-order these cars from Ford. All three were regular G.T. 500 units on regular orders (DSOs containing multiple units).


All three cars were originally fitted with the 428-8V ’Special Interceptor’ at Ford’s San Jose assembly plant -- just like all other ‘67 Shelby G.T. 500 units. Shelby American swapped the 428 engines out for the 427 'lightweight Le Mans engines.


The upcharge for the 427 lightweight engine was approximately $1,824.76, according to SAI Production Orders and Invoices.


#0289 and #0544 were most likely two of the first six cars to receive the updated “Air/Con” (louvered) hoods. They were completed in the month that followed the confidential memo making it priority #1 to solve the overheating problems affecting the GT500 Air/Con cars (#0100, #0131, #0139 and #0463). #0544 and #0463 both captured on photographs with 67-½ front ends (a/k/a/ ‘outboard’ high-beams) and the Air/Con (louvered) hoods while at the Texas test track March 21-27, 1967.



Engine & Drive Train Details

Built by: Ford Motor Co 
8-cylinder 1967 Ford. LeMans racing version
Iron block / aluminum intake, heads  & pistons (a/k/a/ "lightweight")
 
Bore x stroke: 4.2346" x 3.784"
Displacement: 477 cu.in.
Crankshaft: Ford 7000 rpm type 
Main bearing support: none (cross-bolted block) 
Connecting rods: Ford 7000 rpm type 
Pistons: Ford forged aluminum 
Piston rings: Ford chrome plated 
Compression ratio: 11.5:1
Crankcase capacity: 8 qts. 
Oil pump pressure: 70 psi 
Oil make and no.: Valvoline Racing SAE 30 
Valve operation- solid lifters and push rods 
Camshaft: Ford SK series (.500" lift) 
Valve mechanism: single rocker shafts w/inclined parallel valves 
Valve size. in/ex: 2.195/1.733 
Cylinder head type: aluminum medium riser 
Cylinder head modifications: none 
Carburetion: Single Holley 4-bbl. w/center pivot floats (780 cfm): fuel pump 6-1/2 lb. Ford; throttle linkage, Ford
Ignition system: Ford high performance 
Spark plugs: Autolite 
Distributor modifications: Mel Burns Ford 
Total spark advance: 36 degrees at 4000 rpm 
Horsepower: 520 (dyno) 360+ (wheels)

Transmission type: Ford 4-speed (132 low
Clutch: Ford 
Scatter shield: Wedge 
Rear axle ratio: 4.1 l:l 
Differential make: Detroit Locker No-Spin
Axles, make and type: Ford 31 spilne


Car Specific Notes:


#0289 

This car wasn’t completed by SAI until about two months after it was built by Ford. In April 1967, SAI attempted to bill Ford (Invoice # P 13289) for a variety of engine and/or transmission repairs for twelve (12) different cars. #00289 was on that invoice: Engine $422.79 and Labor to R&R $140.00. SAI received a call from a buyer by the name of Paul Nichter in Buffalo, NY that wanted a 427-powered G.T. 500. Nichter had previously owned a 427 Cobra. It is likely that this car was selected because it was sidelined with a failed 428 engine. According to the registry, “Nichter flew to California himself and picked up the car at the Shelby American factory 2/14/67 and drove it back to New York. Shelby American original factory invoice for this car lists Special 427 Light Weight Engine... $2,000." This car was special ordered by Nichter and, because of the VIN and completion date, is believed to be the first G.T. 500 to receive a Shelby-installed 427 engine. SAI Production Order form is marked “Special 427 engine.” Additional pictures are available on Kevin Suydam's website


00289.jpg



#0544 (company car number 066)

It is unknown at what date the 427 lightweight engine was swapped for the Ford-installed 428, though we know it must have taken place before the car was used for high-speed testing the new Goodyear Thunderbolt tires at Goodyear’s Texas test track, March 21-27, 1967. After the high-speed tire testing, #0544 was used as an example and pitched by Don McCain as a special order limited production car available exclusively from Mel Burns Ford. As the article cautioned, the approximate $7,500 retail price was expensive and as history teaches us, there just wasn’t the market. An August 1967 article in Drag Strip magazine referred to the 427-powered G.T. 500 as the “Super Snake package”. We are not aware of the term “Super Snake” or “Super Snake package” being officially coined by Shelby American. No documents have been uncovered that refer to this car specifically as “The Super Snake” or that a “Super Snake package” was officially being developed. #0544 is the only '67 Shelby G.T. known to have been sold to the public with Top Stripes and this isn't because of documentation, but rather because photographs were published in the Drag Strip magazine.


00544.jpg



 #1947 

Documented as a Ford H.O.R. (Home Office Reserve) car. #1947 was first allocated for the Los Angeles district, on loan to Ford. After it was returned, it was fitted with the 427 lightweight engine and repurposed as a factory drag car. It has a Z stamped VIN. SAI Production Order form is marked “427 Modification. Sold to above party after modifications.” Shelby American invoice shows base price: $3,975.24; modifications $1,824.76; Invoice total $6,110.00. (Notation on the invoice: “subtract rear fenders $108.29; add power steering $64.75; total $43.54).”


01947.jpg




Special thanks to Anthony (Road Reptile) for procuring the Drag Strip magazine and to Kieth (SFM66H) for the hi-res scanning. 
Our research, and the knowledge that results, is only possible with a team effort!


See also:

DRAG STRIP (Aug 1967) Super Snake 0544 - Optimized.pdf

michaelpflatley

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Mar 29, 2020, 11:14:47 AM3/29/20
to 1967 Shelby Research Group
What do you believe the credit for subtracting the rear fenders means?

Is there any documentation on how the exhaust was handled? I know the high speed test car had custom fabricated headers and would assume the other two have custom headers as well.

Last, it seems #289 has been way under the radar for years. Hopefully it resurfaces someday and can be seen by enthusiasts.

Brian Styles

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Mar 29, 2020, 1:05:03 PM3/29/20
to shelbyr...@googlegroups.com

#1947 - Deduction for the rear fenders: Maybe there was damage and the credit was to get them repaired? Maybe they were supposed to have been rolled but weren't before the car was picked up? More surprising is that there was an offsetting charge for Power Steering. P/S was a 'mandatory option' and all '67 G.T. cars left San Jose with power steering. SAI itemizing it as "add power steering" raises additional questions.

#0289 - We have pictures of the headers on #0544 from the Drag Strip magazine article. Given that both cars have SAI completion dates within 5 days of one another (actually 3 business days), I'd suspect they cars would be identically configured with, as the magazine article put it, a "bundle of snakes" headers. This car is in the Suydam collection and pictures are available on Kevin's website

Two pictures from the Drag Strip magazine article were of the headers on #0544.

Car-00289-Bundal-of-Snakes_Headers-427Untitled.png


The photo captions read:

Left: The 'bundle of snakes" type headers proved to be the most difficult part of this special engine package. Each header pipe is the same length and empties into a Gran Prix type collector.

Right: Large 8 qt. oil pan supplies plenty of oil to the engine's lubrication system. Special 4-into-1 headers were fashioned by the wizards form the Cobra works.



Car-00289-Bundal-of-Snakes_Headers-427Untitled.png

michaelpflatley

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Apr 2, 2020, 12:11:10 PM4/2/20
to 1967 Shelby Research Group
Ah, I had seen pictures of the Suydam collection before and did not realize that was #289, the first 427 GT500.

Looks like a first rate restoration. Surprised with the LeMans stripes, Carb/air cleaner and valve covers but maybe that is how the car lived it's life and they wanted to preserve that.
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