The Iconic 1968 Shelby GT500KR: King of Muscle Cars

The 1968 Shelby GT500KR 428 Cobra Jet is a legendary muscle car that holds a special place in automotive history. In this episode of V8TV’s Muscle Car Of The Week, we get an in-depth review of this iconic vehicle. The GT500KR, which stands for “King of the Road,” boasted impressive performance upgrades and features that set it apart from its predecessors. Let’s dive into the details of this powerful machine that continues to captivate car enthusiasts to this day.

The Shift to Michigan and Shelby American’s Influence

The 1968 Shelby Mustangs marked a significant transition, as production shifted from Southern California to Michigan. Shelby American had played a vital role in previous models, but the 1968 Shelby GT500KR showcased Ford’s increased involvement in the manufacturing process.

Mid-year 1968 saw the introduction of the new 428 Cobra Jet V8 engine, replacing the previous 428 Police Interceptor engine. This powerful engine upgrade transformed the GT500 into the GT500KR, emphasizing its title as the “King of the Road.” The Cobra Jet engine featured over 30 performance and power enhancements, elevating the car’s overall performance to impressive new heights.

Performance Enhancements and Power Upgrades

The Shelby GT500KR received numerous performance enhancements, making it a force to be reckoned with on the road. The car boasted a stronger block and crank, a medium riser intake manifold, oversized valve heads, a high-lift hydraulic camshaft, and 1.7 to 1 rocker arms. These upgrades contributed to the GT500KR’s exceptional power and torque, resulting in thrilling driving experiences.

At the core of the stunning white 1968 Shelby GT500KR sits the new Ford 428 EFI Series Cobra Jet V8 engine. The engine’s long-stroke design generates substantial torque at low RPM, while the medium riser intake manifold and oversized valve heads maximize airflow and power. With 335 horsepower and 445 pound-feet of torque, the GT500KR delivers exhilarating performance both on the drag strip and the open road.

Feature-Rich Design and Driver Amenities

Unlike its earlier counterparts, the 1968 Shelby GT500KR was not solely focused on performance. Ford recognized the demand for driver amenities, and the GT500KR did not disappoint. The car incorporated features such as power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, and a comfortable cabin, making it a well-rounded vehicle that offered both power and comfort.

The GT500KR represented a shift in the approach to muscle cars, acknowledging that drivers desired not only raw power but also a comfortable and enjoyable driving experience. The inclusion of power steering and brakes provided enhanced control and ease of handling, while the air conditioning ensured a pleasant interior climate. Additionally, the comfortable cabin design allowed drivers and passengers to embark on long journeys with utmost comfort and convenience.

This transformation from a stripped-down race car to a well-appointed machine demonstrated Ford’s commitment to meeting the evolving needs of car enthusiasts. The GT500KR became a symbol of power, luxury, and driving pleasure, appealing to those seeking a harmonious blend of performance and comfort in their muscle cars.

Comfortable and Luxurious Interior

The GT500KR’s interior is a testament to its evolution from a stripped-down race car to a comfortable and luxurious vehicle. Every aspect of the cabin has been meticulously designed to provide an enjoyable driving experience. From the moment you step inside, you’re greeted by a well-appointed space that reflects the car’s prestige. The inclusion of amenities such as air conditioning and power accessories adds an extra level of convenience and comfort.

In the episode, a low-mileage GT500KR is showcased, allowing viewers to witness the remarkable preservation of this iconic vehicle. Stepping inside this car feels like stepping into a time machine, where every detail has been faithfully maintained. From the upholstery to the dashboard, it’s as if you’re transported back to the day the car rolled off the production line. The allure of experiencing a classic car in such pristine condition is truly captivating.

This well-preserved GT500KR serves as a reminder of the rich history and craftsmanship of muscle cars. It allows us to appreciate the attention to detail and the dedication of collectors who strive to keep these automotive legends alive. Experiencing the interior of the GT500KR is like taking a journey back in time, offering a unique perspective on the evolution of automotive design and the enduring appeal of classic muscle cars.

Performance on the Road

The GT500KR’s capabilities extend beyond straight-line speed. The car features a C6 automatic transmission that offers ease of driving, while the 3.50:1 rear gear ratio strikes a balance between quick acceleration and efficient highway cruising. Its firm suspension enhances handling, providing superior control and agility. Additionally, the upgraded brakes ensure quick and confident stops, further enhancing the car’s overall performance.

Shelby Mustangs have always stood out with their distinctive appearance, and the 1968 GT500KR is no exception. The car features special fiberglass parts that elevate its style, including swooping deck and quarter panels, a silver rear tail panel housing Thunderbird sequential taillights, and quad exhaust tips. The front end showcases revised headlight buckets, an expanded grille opening, and cougar fog lights. The iconic blue Shelby stripes and fiberglass hood with scoops and vents complete the car’s eye-catching aesthetic.

The episode emphasizes the rarity and exceptional condition of the showcased GT500KR. With only two oil changes’ worth of miles on the odometer, this car represents a remarkable time capsule. The preservation of such iconic vehicles allows car enthusiasts to appreciate and understand their original beauty and performance.


The 1968 Shelby GT500KR 428 Cobra Jet remains a true muscle car legend. Its powerful 428 Cobra Jet V8 engine, performance enhancements, luxurious interior, and striking design continue to captivate automotive enthusiasts. The GT500KR’s presence on the road is a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship that went into creating this iconic vehicle.

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