In 2013, a one-of-one built 1967 Shelby G.T. 500 Super Snake, powered by a 427-cu.in. V-8 liberated from Shelby’s Ford GT40 Mk II program, sold for $1.3 million to become the most expensive Mustang ever auctioned. On January 11, the ’67 Super Snake crossed the auction block at Mecum’s Kissimmee, Florida, sale, retaining its title with a fee-inclusive selling price of $2.2 million.
Had it not been for former Shelby American sales executive Don McCain, the ’67 Super Snake may never have existed. McCain, then working at Mel Burns Ford in Long Beach, California, thought there might be a market for a Shelby Mustang with more grunt than the existing G.T. 500, which produced 355 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, courtesy of Ford’s Police Interceptor 428-cu.in. V-8. McCain suggested that Shelby drop in the 427 V-8, which in Cobra tune produced 425 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, but Shelby himself went one better, asking chief engineer Fred Goodell to drop in a racing-spec 427 from the GT40 Mk II program instead.
There was further method to Shelby’s madness: As Goodyear’s West Coast distributor, Shelby American had been contracted to run a high-publicity tire test for the wingfoot brand’s latest economy tire, the Thunderbolt. Shelby saw the highest-performance Mustang ever built as an ideal vehicle to test Goodyear’s latest tire, even if it wasn’t produced in a size appropriate for the Super Snake.
With the Super Snake wearing nitrogen-inflated 7.75-15 Thunderbolts (the skinniest tires ever mounted to a G.T. 500), Shelby himself reportedly took gathered journalists for 150-mph thrill rides around Goodyear’s 5-mile test track in Texas. When he was done, he turned the car over to Goodell, who proceeded to rack up 500 miles at an average of 142 mph (and speeds as high as 170) with zero drama. At the test’s conclusion, the Thunderbolt tires were found to have 97 percent of their original tread, despite their on-track punishment.
Afterwards, the ’67 Super Snake was shipped to Mel Burns Ford, but even McCain couldn’t drum up the buyers needed to put the model into production. One obstacle was the car’s cost, which was said to be in the area of $8,000, or over $1,000 more than a 427 Cobra (and nearly twice as much as $4,195 Shelby G.T 500). Eventually, the Super Snake was shipped to Dallas, Texas, where it was purchased by a pair of Braniff International Airways pilots and modified with shorter 4.10:1 gears (instead of the original 2.73:1 gears) for drag racing.
The Super Snake passed through a string of owners over the years, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s – under then-owner Richard Ellis – that the car received a light restoration to its appearance at the 1967 Goodyear tire test, down to a set of Goodyear Thunderbolt tires, possibly the last four in existence. In May 2013, it was purchased by the consignor at Mecum’s Indianapolis sale, setting its earlier value record.
Not your typical restomod; this one-of-none 1955 Imperial convertible sold for $418,000.
Other lots in the Kissimmee sale’s top-10 included a 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari, which sold for $3.3 million; a pair of Tuxedo Black 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88s, one coupe and one convertible, which sold for $990,000; a 1930 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Phaeton, which sold for $935,000; a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, which sold for $495,000; the Chrisman Brothers 1954 Bonneville Coupe, which sold for $484,000; a 1966 Shelby G.T. 350 fastback “carryover car,” which sold for $440,000; a one-of-none 1955 Imperial convertible restomod, which sold for $418,000; a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, which sold for $396,000; and a 2005 Ford GT, which sold for $352,000.
More affordable lots of interest included a 1962 Ford Fairlane, which sold for $7,700; a 1983 Jeep CJ-7, which sold for $7,700; a 1964 Buick Skylark, which sold for $7,975; a 1965 Mercury Montclair, which sold for $7,150; a 1969 Chevrolet Bel Air, which sold for $7,975; a 1955 Studebaker Commander, which sold for $6,050; a 1972 Pontiac Ventura, which sold for $8,250; a 1966 Plymouth Barracuda, which sold for $5,500; a 1954 Pontiac Chieftain, which sold for $9,075; and a 1979 Triumph Spitfire convertible, which sold for $3,300.
For complete results from Kissimmee, visit Mecum.com.