Although this basic powerplant continued to power the GT500 with modifications through 1970, stylists ensured that the Shelby GTs retained their own unique identities.
For 1968, the GT500 was comprehensively updated with an aggressive new front-end treatment including a lengthened hood line, air scoops and louvered cooling vents, while a neatly integrated rear spoiler was added, as well as revised head and tail lamps, with the rear units being from the 1965 Thunderbird.
Inside, a neatly covered roll bar with inertia-reel shoulder belts was added, and for the first time, handsome convertible variants of both the GT350 and the top-line GT500 appeared.
The 1968 Shelby 428 ci engine was in still the Police Interceptor (rated at 360 hp) and was equipped with a single 715 cfm Holley R-4129 carburetor and an aluminum manifold. In the Shelby, it was very conservatively rated at 335 horsepower with 440 ft lbs of torque (in actuality, it had about 400 hp). The 427 low riser engine was installed in a very few GT500 cars. If this engine was factory installed, the VIN tag will have a “W” in the engine placeholder, and the car must have an automatic transmission. 428 and 427 engines received a Motorcraft C8AF-12127-J distributor.
The GT500 could run the quarter mile in 14.97 seconds at 99.6 MPH and sold for $4,317 for the fastback and $4,439 for the convertible.
Half way through the year, the availability of the Cobra Jet engine transformed the model in the ‘King of the Road’ Cobra GT500KR. Only 517 of these were produced before a major bodystyle change in 1969. Learn more about the GT500 King of the Road here.
1968 Shelby GT500 Convertible
In 1968 for the first time, handsome convertible variants of both the GT350 and the top-line GT500 appeared. 402 Shelby GT500 convertibles built in the 1968 model year.