Candy Apple Red 1968 Shelby GT350

1968 Shelby GT350: Ultimate Guide

History, Specs, Options, Performance & More

Throughout the latter half of the 1960s, Mustang sales continued to boom. Consumers from every walk of life clamored at any opportunity to climb behind the wheel of the Mustang. A special amount of fanfare had befallen Carrol Shelby’s GT series Mustangs, which had become an immense success within the performance car arena.

However, behind the scenes, times were changing. In 1968, Ford brought Bunkie Knudson, formerly of General Motors’ fame, on board as their new corporate president. Ironically, Carrol Shelby would go on to sever ties with Ford in the months to follow.

It has long been rumored that Knudson was not overly fond of the Shelby GT’s prior dominance over the Corvette, therefore was none too supportive of Carrol Shelby himself. Whether or not this was the determining factor in Shelby’s departure, few are likely to ever know. Nonetheless, 1968 would serve as the final year that Shelby would be heavily involved in the development of the cars which bore his name.

Underhood Alterations

Wimbledon White 1968 GT350

The Shelby GT350 line underwent several notable changes for the 1968 production year. The first of these changes was rooted in its name. The GT350 was now marketed under the Cobra name, which Ford quickly began using in the vast majority of its sales and promotional literature.

Now known as the Shelby Cobra GT350, the iconic Mustang derived racer was fitted with a factory 302 cubic-inch V8 powerplant. This was a significant departure from the 289 cubic-inch engine which had previously been a staple of GT350 production and led to a noticeable decrease in horsepower. The 302 V8 produced only 250 HP, as opposed to the 306 HP offered by the High Performance 289.

The GT350’s new 302 cubic-inch V8 came fitted with an all-aluminum Cobra intake manifold, topped by a Holley 600 cfm carburetor and a Cobra oval air cleaner. Cobra valve covers were also included to round out the 302’s appearance. Consumers could also order this engine in a high output format, with the addition of a Paxton Supercharger, or functional Ram Air.

A Look Of Authority

Blue 1968 GT 350

On the outside, the Shelby Cobra GT350 maintained much of its hulking figure from the year prior. However, a number of subsequent design revisions were of note. The GT350’s hood was once again composed of fiberglass. However, 1968 models now featured twin hood scoops, as well as a set of rear hood louvers. All 1968 GT350 hoods were manufactured by A.O. Smith, as the Livonia, Michigan, based company now handled all fiberglass production for the Shelby line.

The 1968 GT350’s front end also featured a much larger grille opening than had been standard on previous models, which held dual 7-inch headlights. The iconic car was also fitted with fog lights below its front bumper, which were either of Marchal or Lucas construction, depending upon production date. The GT350 also came adorned with new Cobra emblems along its front fenders.

To the rear of the vehicle, the GT350 featured a fiberglass deck lid, which included a spoiler. The GT350’s tail lights were borrowed from the 1965 Ford Galaxy. Also standard were functional rear fender air scoops, which provided additional air to the vehicle’s brakes.

The 1968 GT350 came standard with steel wheels, which included mag style covers. Alternatively, the GT350 was offered with ten-spoke Shelby wheels. However, these wheels were cast in a different fashion than those featured on the 1967 GT350, and are not interchangeable with those of prior year models.

Interior Amenities

For the 1968 model year, all Shelby GT350s continued to utilize the Mustang’s Deluxe interior package, which was available in black and saddle configurations. The GT350’s cockpit was once again fitted with a two-point roll bar, and the vehicle’s dash gauge layout was also nearly identical to that of the year prior.

While much was left unchanged regarding the GT350’s interior, a few notable revisions were put into practice. One of the most significant was the use of simulated walnut paneling throughout the GT350’s cockpit, most notably on the dash. The GT350 also featured a new floor-to-dash console, which housed the vehicle’s oil pressure gauge and ammeter.

White 1968 GT350

The New GT350 Convertible

Perhaps the most substantial of all changes for the 1968 production year, was the GT350’s subsequent offering as a convertible model. Many consumers had speculated as to when such an option would come available, and Ford catered to what they saw as potential demand.

Interestingly enough, only 404 convertible 1968 GT350s were ever purchased. This equated to approximately ⅓ or less of the year’s total sales.

The Last True Shelby

One could easily classify the 1968 Shelby Cobra GT350, along with the year’s GT500, as the last true Carrol Shelby designed Mustangs of the former era. Though the Shelby name would continue to be used as a designation for high output Mustangs through the 1970 model year, Carrol Shelby himself would have little to no involvement in this program.

In the years that followed, the “Boss” moniker would carry increasing weight within the Mustang line, largely overshadowing the Shelby GT lineup that would soon be discontinued.

1968 Shelby Mustang GT350 Specifications

Engine 302  V8 engine
Horsepower 250 horsepower
Torque 310 ft-lb of torque
0-60 MPH 6.9 seconds
Quarter Mile Time 15.5 seconds
Weight 3,146 lbs
Base Price $4117 Fastback

$4238 Convertible

1968 Shelby Mustang Production Numbers

Fastback 1253
Convertible 404
Total 1657

Available Exterior Colors

The 1968 GT350 was available in Raven Black, Lime Green Metallic, Wimbledon White, Medium Blue Metallic, Dark Green Metallic, Dark Green Metallic, Candy Apple Red, Meadowlark Yellow, Dark Blue Metallic, Gold Metallic, and Orange

Available Interior Colors

The 1968 GT350 interior was available in either black or saddle. The convertible top was offered in either black or white.

1968 Shelby Mustang Video

We found a great video about the ‘68 GT350 Shelby.

Test Drive – 1968 Shelby GT350 Mustang Fastback Tribute

 

  1. Growing up in the 80’s living in a small town in Ohio with my entire family, my uncle had a 68 Shelby Gt350 that he restored himself thru the early 80’s, a raven black 4spd car, when he did the resto he did it in candy apple red with the white side stripe, it was flawless although in retrospect he would have left it black. as the 2nd or 3rd owner he sold that car in 97 ish. If anyone knows of a CA red gt350 that was originally black, id give anything to find it.

  2. I have a 1968 Shelby GT500KR that I bought in temple Texas January 4th 2021 had been in a barn since 1986 . Number matching . Black on black with strips delete . The owner passed away and left to his daughter. It’s missing a few this like ram air & console rest is all there . Thanks . Thomas

  3. I own a 68 GT350 that I found in 1982. I was looking for some specific details on the shocks and stumbled on your page. Nice page. I noticed a couple things in your writing that should be corrected:
    1) The sequential taillights are borrowed from the 1965 Ford Thunderbird not the Galaxy. John Chun himself told me he picked those out from the Ford inventory.
    2) The front driving/fog lights are ABOVE the front bumper not below. Look at that picture.
    3) the lower side scoops were NOT functional. I don’t think the 67’s were either.
    thanks
    Dennis

  4. The last true Shelby? When I first got my 68 the talk was the 67’s were the last true Shelbys cause the production of the 68 cars was moved from LA to Detroit. From Shelby American to AO Smith. John Chun told me he was hired to finish the 67 cars and design the 68 cars at the LA location. The lease was up for the airport Shelby location, toss in the need for better and more fiberglass parts and expected higher production, the decision and deal was made to move production to AO Smith. John said he got laid off at Shelby Am and was told to apply to AO Smith. He was hired and moved to Livonia with some other SA employees. He had already designed the 68 cars then did the 69-70 Shelby Mustangs. When he got laid off from AO Smith he went to Ford thinking they would be excited to hire him. Nope, he was offered a job but not what he wanted. A buddy who also got laid off from AO Smith had gone to Chrysler. Told John to come there. Chrysler was excited to hire Shelby people. Offered him more than Ford and put him into designing cars. When I asked him what cars, he said “Have you ever seen that Plymouth with the huge wing? That was my idea.?”

    At this point in the game, all classic Shelby Mustangs are just that, Shelby Mustangs. Some are more desirable than others I suppose. Carroll Shelby was the right person at the right time. His cars changed the path of performance cars. Shelby had gone to GM first to use their small block but they told him to go away, GM had the Corvette and had no interest in sponsoring a competitor car to it. GM had the NEW 1963 split window Sting Ray Vette and expecting great things. To their surprise the 1963 Shelby Cobra overshadowed the ’63 Vette and beat them on the track.

  5. ok one more thing. If you want to borrow a pic of my GT 350 with the wheel covers for your page, I don’t have a problem with that. Perhaps put a link back to my 1968shelbycobra.com page. I also have a larger site, theshelbycars.com.
    I like what you have done for your webpage. Good idea.
    I own a 2017 Mustang GT premium with PP and some Steeda mods. if you want some pics of info on it.
    Dennis

  6. HOW CAN I GET THE CORRECT STRIPING WIDTHS (SPECS) FOR THE WIDE STRIPES ON A 1968 SHELBY 350 CONVERTIBLE?

    THANKS

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