It’s unique, it’s frankly awesome and now it’s officially the most expensive Ford Mustang ever sold at auction.
A 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake, it smashed through its $1-1.2m guide price to reach an astonishing $2.2m (£1.7m) at Mecum’s last Kissimmee sale on Friday (11 January).
Indeed, it achieved more than any other classic car across the auction house’s 10-day extravaganza and was one of just two cars to break the million-dollar mark.
So what is a ‘Super Snake’? It's a one-off that never reached series production because its projected retail price would have been more than double that of a standard GT500.
If you’re thinking that means it’s pretty special, you’d be right – it’s a prototype.
The first big-block Shelby GT was the GT500, the Mustang redesigned in ’67 by Ford to accommodate its 428cu in engine.
As well as working in partnership with Ford, Carroll Shelby was a distributor for Goodyear, who asked if he’d join a promotional event in Texas for the firm’s then-new economy line of tyres, called Thunderbolt.
GT500 number 544 was selected and prepared for this task by Fred Goodell, Shelby American’s chief engineer on loan from Ford.
Shelby American Sales Manager Don McCain later described the engine installed for this run as “the mother of all 427s at that time”, and that sounds justified, given that it was essentially the same unit that had taken victory at the previous year’s Le Mans 24 Hours in a GT40.
We’re talking a lightweight V8 with aluminium heads, an aluminium water pump, a trick rear axle and transmission, and a version of the GT40 Mk II’s so-called ‘bundle of snakes’ exhaust system. Oh, and 600hp.
Some of the other many modifications made ahead of the tyre test included a remote oil filler, an external oil cooler, stiffer passenger-side shocks and springs, and braided lines.
And there are a pair of unique identifiers that make this Mustang stand out: the chrome headlight surrounds and a one-off Le Mans striping design.
Of course, the Shelby Super Snake also wore whitewall Thunderbolt tyres on 10-spoke aluminium wheels, overinflated with nitrogen to prevent overheating and to keep the sidewalls rigid.
On the skinniest tyres ever mounted to a Shelby GT, the Super Snake was driven at an average speed of 142mph for 500 miles, and at the end of the test the tyres still had 97% of their tread left.
A rather epic car, then, and deserving of its newest accolade.
Mecum’s mammoth Kissimmee 2019 sale ran from 3-13 January and featured more than 3500 cars and ’bikes, of which more than 2000 sold. You can view a full list in our classic car auction results database.