Shelby Mustang GT500 garage-find up for auction
The meticulously maintained car has not been driven since 1973 and includes almost all original parts.
The rare garage find is common enough in the automotive world that it’s not really very rare anymore — except maybe when it’s an entire garage or even a field full of old cars.
But when the find is a one-owner 1969 Shelby GT500 with only 8,500 miles and in original condition, it is a rare occurrence. That it was supposedly never washed because the owner was afraid of damaging the paint is even more uncommon — and gets collectors, enthusiasts and auctioneers really excited.
The car belonged to Larry Brown of Centre Hall, Pa., who died late last year. He left behind no heirs; only a house filled with personal items and a garage with several cars — including the Shelby Mustang— all of which will go up for auction next month. The listing at Ron Gilligan Auctioneers says that the GT500 has all original parts including tires, belts, hoses and even 1968-dated coded spark plug wires as well as the original paint.
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For example, some have noted that the barely-worn Goodyear tires shown on the auction site look too new to have spun 8,500 miles. The more astute have also pointed out that the tires have 8-digit codes that were available only during 1970 and 1971, so they could not be original equipment on a car made in 1969.
Dane Hooper, manager of the estate, said he found out from speaking with one of Brown's close friends and a mechanic that the tires were swapped because the originals wouldn’t stay balanced. He added that the front two tires were replaced under warranty, while the rear rubber was switched later.
Substantiating the strange claim that Brown never washed the car is more difficult. But according to Hooper, when Brown drove his Shelby between the years of 1969 and 1972, he never took it out in the rain or washed it because he was afraid water would cause the car to rust. “If this car has been hose washed, it probably occurred at the detail bay of the selling dealer before delivery,” the auction listing speculates.
The most recent warranty work on record — adjustment of the door glass — occurred in September 1969, shortly after Brown bought the car in May of that year. Hooper added that Brown maintained the rare Mustang even after he stopped driving it and cranked its 428 Cobra Jet engine as recently as three years ago.
Record show that Brown bought the car for $5,245.97. To give an idea of how much it could go for when it will be auctioned on April 25, similar Mustangs with higher mileage and in far less original condition have fetched more than $100,000.
Barn find, highly advertised auction sale just priced me out of the market!
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