Roland Ball of Plano, Texas, sure knows how to have a great Father’s Day. It was in June 2002 when he first saw and fell in love with this unique 1968 Shelby GT500 KR. Roland’s good friend, Jeff Goodlove, discovered this exceptional car in a storage garage. Jeff had taken his father out just to look around for some old cars when he happened to find this Raven Black Shelby. Jeff asked the owner of the garage if he could take a peek at what was under the cover. When he saw the Shelby, he immediately thought of his friend Roland who had expressed more than once his love for that year and model of Shelby.
A week later, Roland acquired his Father’s Day present and became the third owner of the timeless car. The Shelby originally rolled from the factory on June 28, 1968. The vehicle codes prove to be a truly unique classic in many ways. In 1968, there were 1,571 GT500 KRs built, of which 1,053 were fastbacks. There were 523 cars with automatic transmissions and 38 were painted Raven Black — 36 with hand-knitted bucket seats. Only 12 of them had air conditioning and two of those were sold in Louisiana. This “King of the Road” is one of those two.
For the first five years of ownership, Roland personally performed much of the work on the Shelby, but in 2007, the car was handed over to Grubbs Motorsports in Garland, Texas. Headed by owner Michael Grubbs, the total vehicle restoration is excellent and the paint immaculate.
Says Roland, “It seems in life that some things were meant to be. This car was supposed to be found. It was a second chance for the Shelby, to let people stop in their tracks just at the sight of Carroll Shelby’s beautiful creation. And man, when you turn the key, hear that sound and put the pedal down, you know what “King of the Road” means.”
King of the Road?
While the King of the Road name has been recently added to the new 2008 GT500s, the original ’68 KR name added a few important pieces to the standard GT500 late in 1968 production. Included was the 428 Cobra Jet engine rated at 335 HP, a beefier suspension for improved handling, along with subframe connectors. The interior included a roll bar and upgrades such as gauges and wood grain trim accents, four-wheel disc brakes and staggers shocks, a restyled louvered fiberglass hood, functional side vents, and sequential turn signals.