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In the Garage: 1968 Shelby GT500KR

The 1968 Shelby GT500KR is owned by Bob

The 1968 Shelby GT500KR is owned by Bob Ravener. (Credit: Handout)

THE CAR AND ITS OWNER
1968 Shelby GT500KR owned by Bob Ravener

WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING
With its initials standing for “King of the Road” and the name “Shelby” on the rear, the Ford Mustang-based KR was a serious muscle machine. The only thing laughable about this car was the 335-horsepower rating, a figure that was likely understated by more than 20% for insurance purposes. “The ‘King of the Road’ was only in production from May through July 1968,” Ravener says of his fastback coupe, “as there were start-up problems with the 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet engine, which was supposed to debut in the 1968 model year.

That makes the GT500KR the rarest model Shelby of an already rare make. There were a total of 4,450 Shelbys built that year, of which only one-third were KRs. This particular car is painted ‘Highland Green’ with the hard-to-find ‘Saddle’ interior. A factory roll bar was standard equipment and it also was the first American car to have halogen driving lamps.”

HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT
“I bought the car from the original owner in July of 1972,” he says. “He planned on giving it to his son, but had second thoughts about giving such a powerful car to such an inexperienced driver. But I was only 19 myself.”

WHERE HE FOUND IT
He saw it in a Newsday ad and bought it from the Plainview owner for $1,400.

CONDITION
“This was my ‘daily driver’ for eight years,” Ravener says. “I finally parked it in 1980 when I bought my first house with a garage. It was cosmetically restored 10 years later. What’s satisfying is the fact that I can maintain the car myself and fix most problems without having to look up computer codes, like the newer cars. I’ve got the original owner’s manual and was very fortunate to meet (race driver and designer) Carroll Shelby and have him sign the dashboard while visiting Lime Rock (race track) in 1991.”

TIPS FOR OWNERS
“If you’re looking for a classic Shelby,” he advises, “make sure you take someone with extensive knowledge of the make, as the price of these cars makes it critical you’re not taken for a ride. Then get plenty of (insurance) coverage on the car and drive it.”

VALUE
“Values have fluctuated over the recent years from $80,000 to around $125,000,” Ravener says. “I would say it’s on the lower side right now.”

THE BOTTOM LINE 
“That fact that it’s been with me for 41 years means it’s not going anywhere anytime soon,” he says. “I never get tired of admiring at its classic lines.” 

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