Image courtesy of Barrett Jackson
Back in 1967 a pair of experimental Ford Mustangs were created by Ford and Carroll Shelby. One was called ‘Green Hornet’ and the other named ‘Little Red’. Both Mustangs were used for testing and developing high-performance parts. You could easily spot either of them because they were the only two Shelby GT 500 notchback coupes around during that period of time.
Little Red and Green Hornet were fitted with many body parts, engines and transmissions. Initially Little Red was fitted with a supercharged 428 V8 and 3-speed automatic transmission. It was also known to be the inspiration for the California Special Mustang.
Ford’s protocol and practices called for all experimental and prototype vehicles to be crushed after they have served their purpose. Ford did not want these types of vehicles to accidentally or purposely make it to market, but that is exactly what happened.
It wasn’t long before the Green Hornet managed to find itself on the block of an employee auction in 1971. Throughout the years it changed owners until Craig Jackson, CEO of Barrett Jackson, purchased it in the early 2000s.
Little Red on the other hand was nowhere to be found. It’s as though the car simply disappeared. Fast forward fifty years and the search continued. By this time the vehicle would be worth millions if it still existed. All leads about the car led back to the Mustang ultimately meeting the crusher.
Determined to know the truth, Craig Jackson along with classic car specialist Jason Billups continued the search. In a press release Jason disclosed how they ultimately found the car. “Locating Little Red was tantamount to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack,” said Jason Billups. “After our initial research we realized that, like others before us, we were using the wrong search criteria. Everyone looked for Little Red using the Shelby serial number, which would eventually lead to a dead end. We took a different approach and located the car’s original Ford VIN number, which wasn’t easily discoverable. That VIN led us to its original registration and eventually to its last owner.”
And BINGO, there ya have it. One 1967 Shelby GT 500 had been found. A gentleman in Texas had it sitting in a field on his property. The car technically belonged to the gentleman’s cousin. The detailed history of what happened from the time it went missing until it was purchased and taken to Texas is still a little fuzzy.
Apparently, the Mustang made its way to a dealership in Littleton, CO. A veteran returning from Vietnam purchased the little Pony. Unbeknownst to him, he was now the proud owner of Little Red. Certainly, he had no idea what he was taking home with him. This was just like any other Mustang on the lot that day.
The veteran owner drove the car for a few years before selling it to a man from Wyoming. The man from Wyoming is the cousin of the gentleman in Texas. Little Red was no longer running after some years and was put into storage. A break-in occurred while in storage and some parts of Little Red were taken. It was then that the GT500 prototype was taken to its resting grounds in Weatherford, TX.
Earlier this year The Mustang was finally tracked down authenticated as the real thing. Craig Jackson and the owner arrived at a fair selling price and Little Red is now on her way to being fully restored. No one is positive what the exact build specifications are since it was an experimental vehicle, but I am sure Mr. Jackson and the rest of the team will figure it out.
In an attempt to get the car’s full history intact, they have also built a website dedicated to learning more of the history of Green Hornet & Little Red. The website encourages anyone that knows anything about the history of the car to come forward and share their story. Images of the vehicle are very welcomed indeed! Hopefully crowdsourcing will help fill in the missing pieces of its history.
You will be able to follow the progress of the meticulous restoration process on shelbyprototypecoupes.com as well. It will include photos, videos and a robust content storyboard that will detail each step of the rebuild.
Check out this video from Classic Cars TV that shows how this treasure was found deep in the heart of Texas.
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