For 1968, the Shelby cars were slightly modified from 1967. They used the Mustang chassis but were modified at the A.O. Smith company in Livona Michigan. In addition to the fastback a Convertible was produced this year.
Ford and the A.O. Smith Company facility in Livonia, Michigan now had control of the production of the Shelby Mustang as it rolled into 1968 with the introduction of a new body style-the convertible which was available in either a GT350 or GT500. To be official, the 1968 cars were renamed Shelby Mustang Cobra GT350/GT500/GT500KR, reflecting Ford’s recent use of the Cobra name in all of its performance vehicles and parts.
The nose for the ’68 Shelby was restyled, as it continued to resemeble the Ford Mustang with a more aggressive look. The front end treatment was again made of fiberglass and the grille opening carried either Lucas or Marchal foglamps. The hood now used twin front hood scoops along with a set of rear hood louvers.
New Cobra emblems were added onto the front fenders and on the passenger side of the dash panel. The Deluxe Mustang interior was once again used in the Shelby, available in either black or saddle, but the Shelby used a console which housed two Stewart Warner gauges-oil pressure and amps. The storage compartment of the console had a Cobra embossed top. All Shelbys came with the inertia-reel harnesses with the exception of the convertible which used a unique padded bar.
Standard wheels on the Shelby were steel with a mag style wheel cover. Optional wheels were the ten-spoke Shelby wheels which were cast differently than on the ’67 versions and have a ball joint interference if installed on a ’67.
The GT350 lost some of its edge when the high performance 289 was replaced with the factory 302 V-8 using an aluminum Cobra intake manifold and Holley 600 cfm carburetor. The 302 found in the GT350 is rated at 250hp. Also found on the 302 is a Cobra oval air cleaner and Cobra valve covers. Functional Ram Air was an option on the GT350’s, as was the Paxton Supercharger. Additional fuel pressure and boost gauges were mounted on the console.
The base price of the GT350 convertible was $4,238 dollars as opposed to $4,117 for the fastback.
The engine for the base 350 was a production 302 4 barrel V8 with a Shelby aluminum Cobra intake and a Holley 600 cfm carburetor, both necessary to attain 250 hp. The carburetor was topped off with an oval “Cobra” air cleaner and finned aluminum valve covers decorated the heads. All GT350 engines used a Motorcarft C8ZF-12127-A distributor if they had a manual transmission. If they had an automatic transmission, they used the C8ZF-12127-D distributor. One could order an optional Paxton Supercharger to boost the horse power and performance. However in reality very few were installed. People who wanted the added performance opted for the GT500 or GT500KR.
Modifications to the production mustang to create the Shelby were:
front fenders and hood were made of fiberglass
Rectangular grill opening to hold two 7 inch headlights
Lucas fog lamps below the front bumper
3 forward opening hood scoops
2 rear opening hood scoops.
The center forward hood opening provided air for the intake.
Front fender air scoops to provide cooled air for the brakes
Rear fender air scoops to provide cooled air for the brakes
Rear deck lid was fiberglass and had a spoiler
Exhaust pipes exited in the center of the car below the bumper
1965 Thunderbird lights were used for taillights.
It used an aluminum intake manifold
It had aluminum Cobra valve covers.
The interior console had 2 Stewart Warner gauges for oil pressure and amperes.
The instrument cluster had a 8000 RPM tachometer and a 140 mile per hour speedometer.
The Shelby used a competition suspension like the one on a Mach 1.
Interiors came in black or white and were the deluxe interiors found on the Mach 1’s.
Standard features were power steering, power front disc brakes and a 4 speed transmission.
GT350 Fastback: 1,253
GT350 Convertible: 404
Colors & Trim
Available Exterior Colors Code:
Raven Black A
Lime Green Metallic I
Wimbeldon White M
Medium Blue Metallic Q
Dark Green Metallic R
Candyapple Red T
Meadowlark Yellow W
Dark Blue Metallic X
Gold Metallic Y
Available Interior Trim Code:
Convertible Top Colors:
Vehicle Identification Numbers – Shelby
8 – Last digit of model year
T – Assembly plant (T-Metuchen)
02 – Body code (02-fastback, 03-convertible)
J – Engine code (J-302, S-428, R-428CJ-R)
000001 – Consecutive unit number
0001 – Consecutive Shelby production number, 00001 to 04450
To decipher the serial numbers, The first digit is the year, if it is an “8” the Shelby was sold in 1968.
The second letter on the identification plate will be an “F” indicating the vehicle was manufactured in Dearborn MI.
The third and fourth numbers indicate the body style. 02 for a SportsRoof and 03 for a Convertible.
The fifth number on the tag will be either an “M” indicating a 351 engine or an “R” indicating a 428 Cobra Jet ram air.
The Sixth and Seventh numbers must be a 48 to indicate it was a Shelby car.
The last 4 numbers 0000 will be the consecutive unit number produced. It will be a number between 0000 and 3153.
A valid Shelby tag number would resemble: 9F02R480231
Stamped on plate which is pop-riveted on driver’s side inner front fender panel over Ford VIN.