This Is How You Can Tell A 1967 Shelby GT500 Is The Real Deal

The young new owner believed he inherited a 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, but Jerry Heasley told him the hard truth following a quick inspection.

Many Classic car collectors don’t mind searching all over to find just the right vehicle they are looking for. They won’t hesitate to crawl over junkyards or even enter creepy, dusty barns. Of course, auctions are a good way to find the classic cars to collect. Nevertheless, it can be a challenge to determine whether a classic car is the real deal or not. After all, a clone or a replica is almost always not as good or valuable as the original car.

Take the case of this supposed Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 built for the 1967 model year. It looks like the real deal, and its owners firmly believe they have the genuine object. Avery Mendoza recently inherited this car, but since he isn’t too knowledgeable about the car, he called automotive journalist Jerry Heasley for help. Together, they tried to determine whether Avery’s Ford inheritance was a real Shelby GT500.

New Owner Wanted To Know If His 1967 Ford Mustang Is A Shelby GT500

Avery Mendoza Puzzled Whether His Mustang Is A Shelby

  • Avery inherited a 1967 Ford Mustang from his parent
  • The Mustang has the elements found in a Shelby GT500
  • Avery was still unsure of the pony car’s real identity
  • VIN stamped on the fender is a definite identifier

Jerry Heasley chronicled the saga of this supposedly 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 on his YouTube channel. Avery Mendoza inherited the Mustang from his parents after his father passed away. His mother Elizabeth is still alive, but it seems he already has full control over the fate of this pony car. The car is surely a Mustang, but Avery wanted to know if it was indeed a Shelby GT500.

As far as the 21-year-old Avery and his mother know, the brownish Ford Mustang sitting in their garage is a rare and highly valuable 1967 Shelby GT500. They may have some plans to sell the car in the market, but the actual value of the Mustang lies on whether it is a Shelby GT500 or not. It has the 428 cubic-inch V8 engine, the corresponding exterior appearance, and the deluxe interior of a Shelby GT500. But Avery seems unsure of the car’s real identity.

While all the elements above provided clues on the true identity of this 1967 Ford Mustang, these aren’t definite. After all, clever customization work in a garage can easily transform an ordinary Mustang fastback into a Shelby. But there’s a definite identifier to help solve the mystery – the original VIN (vehicle identification number) stamped on the fender panel.

Mustang Expert To Help Determine Mustang’s True Identity

Jerry Taps Bob Perkins On A Shelby Identity Mission

  • Jerry Heasley had suspicions that Avery’s Shelby GT500 is a clone
  • Jerry Heasley taps the services of his friend Bob Perkins
  • Bob is head judge for both MCA Authenticity and Shelby American Automobile Club
  • Bob brings unassailable expertise in determining the Mustang’s identity

After getting the call from Avery, Jerry was a bit hesitant to heed the young man’s request. This is because Jerry lives in Texas while Avery is located in Michigan – a great distance separates the classic car enthusiast and the supposed 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby. He also had an inkling that Avery’s Shelby was a replica or clone, but the inboard headlights on the images he received got his motors running.

However, Jerry eventually agreed to visit Avery. One of the reasons why he agreed was that he had to visit a friend living in Wisconsin, which is pretty close to Michigan. That friend is Bob Perkins, who runs a car restoration shop – specializing in Ford classics – just outside of Juneau, Wisconsin.

Interestingly, Bob isn’t just any ordinary classic car restoration shop owner, as he is also a Ford Mustang fan and enthusiast. More than that, for the past 40 years, Bob has been the head judge of the Mustang Club of America (MCA) Authenticity.

He has also been the head judge of the Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC). Thus, Bob is an extremely reliable expert and authority when it comes to Mustangs and Shelbys. Jerry decided to bring Bob to Michigan to help solve the Shelby GT500 puzzle.

Tracing The Origin Of Avery’s 1967 Ford Mustang “Shelby GT500”

As they arrived at their intended location, Jerry and Bob received a warm welcome from both Avery and Elizabeth. To help their newly arrived visitors solve the puzzle, Elizabeth even brought a collage of images serving as a storyboard for the family’s 1967 Shelby GT500. According to her, her husband was originally from Mexico. Her father-in-law bought the car as a gift for his older son Edwin in Wisconsin. For a while, the silver-colored Mustang was in Laredo, Texas, and then crossed over to Mexico.

Then, Elizabeth’s husband brought the Mustang back to Wisconsin, Texas, and finally to Michigan. She then told Jerry and Bob that the Mustang has been in this Shelby-like condition – looks, engine, and even accessories – since they acquired it. She added that they have never removed any of those elements from the car.

Unfortunately, though, the family never found the title for the car. This – as well as some small details – only strengthened Jerry’s suspicions that the Mustang was never an original Shelby GT500. He and Bob think that the car is, at its best, a Mustang that its owners tried to transform into a Shelby replica through the years.

Expert Determines This Car Is A Ford Mustang But Not A Shelby

Careful Examination Led Bob Perkins To A Sad Truth

  • Bob looked for the VIN on the fender panel
  • The VIN’s code says it had a 289-ci engine
  • Since it had a 289 engine, the car isn’t a Shelby GT500
  • A sad truth for Avery, but he could still sell the Mustang

As an expert at authenticating Mustangs and Shelbys, Bob knew precisely what to scrutinize. After swiftly examining Avery’s Shelby GT500, he zeroed in on its VIN tag. Although there was a VIN tag on the fender panel under the hood, the duo doubted its authenticity. They suspected that a fake VIN concealed the original one to give the impression that the Mustang was a genuine Shelby GT500.

The moment of truth arrived when they removed the fake VIN tag from the fender panel. Bob observed that Ford typically stamps the VIN on the fender panel for titling and registration purposes. He noticed that the panel had been altered or replaced, as there were no spot welds. Fortunately, the fender panel still bore the stamped VIN, which contained the letter “C.”

According to Bob, this indicated that the Mustang originally housed a two-barrel 289-ci engine, affirming that the car was not a Shelby GT500. They cross-referenced the original VIN with the one stamped on the door, finding matching numbers that confirmed it as a 289 Mustang, not the legendary Shelby GT500.

This news was disheartening for Avery and Elizabeth, who had hoped for substantial value if the car turned out to be a Shelby GT500. However, Jerry offered consolation, reminding them that it remained a 1967 Mustang fastback, certain to attract buyers.

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