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Shelby Mustang GT500 garage-find up for auction

The meticulously maintained car has not been driven since 1973 and includes almost all original parts.

By Douglas Newcomb Mar 26, 2014 11:56AM

1969 Shelby Mustang GT500. Photo by Ron Gilligan Auctioneers 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.

But by analyzing pictures of the Mustang on the auction site, some have questioned the car's originality and pointed out discrepancies that dispel its original condition status.

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.

[Source: Yahoo]

Mar 26, 2014 12:32PM
Pretty darn cool. There certainly are some weird people out there....who would just sit on this, never use it, not will it to anyone, and if he was THAT worried about harming it, why is there crap all around it? Something could fall on it, scratch it while trying to get around it etc......Why couldn't he be my grandfather???
Mar 26, 2014 1:18PM
As the owner of a tow yard, we do title work for people who buy cars without paper. One thing this article misses is that this car may also be a prototype that was not meant for the public and he got his hands on one by mistake. This happened to us while doing the paper work on a 1971 Dodge Charger prototype a lady ended up with from her divorce, when her husband worked for Dodge in their design department. Also just recently, MSN posted a story of Dodge recalling those 7 missing Vipers that were loaned to those tech schools and were never returned. The only reason they were discovered again was because some idiot kid crashed one and was killed, then the family was dumb enough to try and sue Dodge. You can find the story on the internet still. Regardless.....Just because one person THINKS something isn't original for a model year, doesn't mean it isn't an original car from the factory. Ever heard of a custom ordered car??
Mar 26, 2014 12:59PM
Wow! They finally found my car. Just kidding. What a great find. Something I'd love to trip on. It's amazing how many great cars as this are hidden away.
Mar 26, 2014 1:14PM

Eleanor's brother from a different mother.

Mar 26, 2014 1:11PM
Heaven..... I'm in heaven.... Wow, what a find.......
Mar 26, 2014 1:53PM
MSN needs more articles like this.  Fun.
Mar 26, 2014 3:23PM
Most of the muscle cars which hailed from the late 60's & early 70's, are coveted and command stratospheric prices esp. if original and numbers match as illustrated in this article on the Shelby. Having owned a series of Firebird Trans Ams & Formulas for some 35 years, the single biggest automotive mistake I ever made was NOT ordering a 701/2 2nd gen Formula or perhaps a Trans Am with the optional Ram Air 1V engine which was a $389 option in 1970. Surviving examples today sell for some $225K if restored (numbers matching) in the collectors' market. Remains to be seen if today's computerized muscle cars will command the same ''shock and awe'' 40 years from now as exemplified by cars produced during the ''muscle car era'' of the late 60s-early 70s. Many of these cars WERE within the reach of anyone with a steady job quite unlike today's 75K Z-28 Camaros.
Mar 26, 2014 1:01PM

Barn find, highly advertised auction sale just priced me out of the market!

Mar 26, 2014 1:09PM
A garage called my friend's father and told him he had an old car in storage; apparently the absent minded doc forgot.  Original Porsche Spyder with less than one thousand miles.
Mar 26, 2014 1:35PM
The 'oil blow' on the front of the engine makes me suspicious of the reported mileage.  I'd love to see a close-up picture of the brake pedal.  If the actual mileage far exceeds the reported mileage, the brake pedal will be worn.  I had a guy try to sell me a car with 12000 miles on it but the brake pedal was worn.  When I pointed that out and told him I thought the actual mileage was 112,000, he got really pissed and told me to leave.  I would think someone with reasonable experience would be able to offer a good guess on whether the mileage is close or not.
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