The late Carroll Shelby knew a thing or two about the Ford Mustang. This is why it’s so noteworthy that one of his finest personal ‘Stangs is about to go up for grabs.
Next month, Barrett-Jackson will auction off the automotive legend’s 1968 Mustang Black Hornet as part of its annual Scottsdale sales event. This isn’t just a car that quickly passed through Shelby’s collection, either. It was actually part of it for 40 years.
The Black Hornet was Shelby’s tribute to the Mustang Green Hornet concept that he worked with on Ford in 1967. That muscle car, which would eventually come to be called the EXP-500, would never go into production, but it did serve as the inspiration for the GT/CS, or “California Special,” model that launched in 1968.
Shelby seems to have been really taken with the Green Hornet because his tribute was almost identical to it except for one significant difference—the paint job. This is a true triple black Mustang, meaning its body, top and interior are all finished in the color. The black theme is only broken up by chrome Shelby badging and white and gold “EXP-500 C.S.S” graphics along the bottom of the car between its wheels. The cabin also features some faux wood trim on the door panels and dash, the latter of which is also signed by Shelby. There are a lot of great-looking Mustangs from this era, but this one-of-a-kind coupé is one of the most attractive.
Someone like Shelby didn’t keep a car around for decades just because it looked good, though. The Black Hornet was also a beast. Underneath its hood lurks a 428 Cobra Jet V-8. The mill is mated to a four-speed manual that sends its 335 hp and 445 ft lbs of torque to the rear axle. Other performance upgrades include high-volume fuel pump, Holley carburetor, aluminum intake and heads, Mallory ignition and Griffin radiator, according to the auction listing. It also has an independent suspension, another detail that differentiates it from the Green Hornet.
Shelby may have owned the car for 40 years before signing it over to his foundation in 2008, but he didn’t drive it that much. The car has just 564 miles on the odometer today, only 213 of which came while it was in his possession. This means its basically in mint condition, which makes us think the Black Hornet will sell for a bundle when it hits the block at Scottsdale 2023, which runs from Saturday, Jan. 21 to Sunday, Jan. 29.
Click here to see more photos of Carroll Shelby’s Ford Mustang Black Hornet.