Seek and ye shall find. Eventually.
A legendary Ford Mustang that many thought was destroyed 50 years ago has been discovered rotting away in a Texas field. And it could be worth millions.
“Finding Little Red is the discovery of a lifetime,” said Jackson. “This Shelby prototype has been one of the most sought-after and elusive vehicles in postwar history. Countless enthusiasts and experts have searched for Little Red since it went missing in the 1960s. Many believed it was destroyed when the car was no longer needed. I’m excited to announce that was not the case. We’ve found Little Red and we intend to meticulously restore this legendary car back to its original glory.”
The big-block Shelby was one of a pair prototypes built by Ford and Shelby. This one got a slightly restyled body and Paxton supercharger. It’s also the only GT500 factory-equipped with dual-quad carburetors. Lee Iacocca soon decided it would be the model for the 1968 Mustang California Special, and after that it was presumed lost.
“Locating Little Red was tantamount to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack,” said classic car restoration specialist Jason Billups. “After our initial research, we realized that, like others before us, we were using the wrong search criteria. Everyone looked for Little Red using the Shelby serial number, which would eventually lead to a dead end. We took a different approach and located the car’s original Ford VIN number, which wasn’t easily discoverable. That VIN led us to its original registration and eventually to its last owner.”
Billups and a few others met the owner in March and were given access to the property, which had a small handful of cars sinking into the dust. Kevin Marti, Ford Mustang historian, was with the crew and verified the car’s authenticity using serial numbers, date codes and other documents.
Shell and Pennzoil are helping with the cost of the restoration, which promises to be a long and rusty road. All of it will be documented at ShelbyPrototypeCoupes.com.