Read This: The Restoration of Shelby’s “Little Red”

Last week, we reported that Craig Jackson–of Barrett-Jackson fame–bought the very first 2020 GT500 and painted it to match 1968 GT500 prototype. We also mentioned that Jackson would be buying another 2020 and painting it to match “Little Red.” That 1967 prototype’s restoration is now done and the full story is available at shelbyprototypecoupes.com.

The site is rad and you should really check it out, but briefly, the stories of Little Red and the Green Hornet are intimately tied and go a little something like this.

Built in 1967, Little Red is the only GT500 coupe made by Shelby American and it had dual-quad carbs, to boot. It eventually served as the inspiration for the California Special—which we covered previously—and preceded the Green Hornet by a model year.

The car was long thought lost before Jackson sent out a call for help finding it. And help he got, as the car was unearthed in a field in Texas. It was literally pulled out of the field, though, meaning it needed more than a little bit of work.

The car was so impressive that Ford wanted to get in on the action and built two prototypes of the California Special, or the GT/CS. After Ford decided not to go for the GT/CS, one of the prototypes was given to Shelby. It was painted green, given a Conolec fuel injection system, an independent rear suspensions, and a unique rear disc brake design, among other things. 

It was a testbed for some of Shelby and Chief Engineer Fred Goodell’s best ideas.

Fortunately, someone was wise enough to keep the cars from going to the crusher when they weren’t useful anymore and now they’re reunited in Craig Jackson’s collection, along with a pair of 2020 GT500s painted to match them.

Some people have all the luck.

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