There is something special about any Ford Mustang that Carroll Shelby and his crew spent time wrenching on. Early Shelby builds are among the most sought-after pony cars on the market, thanks in no small part to the role Shelby played in the proliferation of the iconic coupe. Well-heeled buyers now have a chance to take home a particularly special Mustang with quite the connection to Carroll, as the racing icon’s famous Black Hornet Mustang is slated to cross the auction block at Barrett-Jackson’s upcoming Scottsdale 2023 event.
The Black Hornet is a 1968 Ford Mustang coupe that Shelby constructed to mirror the famed Green Hornet concept built by Ford and Shelby in 1967. The car was one of only two notchback coupes constructed by Ford during that era, and ultimately served as the inspiration for the GT/CS models we’ve come to know. According to Shelby Prototype Coupes, Ford handed the Lime Gold prototype over to Shelby Automotive in 1968, where the prototype picked up the EXP-500 moniker. The car would acquire unique Shelby touches at that point, including a fuel-injected 428 Cobra Jet V-8 engine and an independent rear suspension.
Shelby must have been taken by the Green Hornet project, as he recreated much of the look of that car with the aptly named Black Hornet. The Black Hornet features many of the same upgrades, including the big block V-8 and the iconic 10-spoke Shelby wheels. Other tweaks include a high volume fuel pump, an upgraded Holley carburetor, an aluminum intake, aluminum heads, and Mallory ignition system. Unlike the Green Hornet which featured a Shelby-designed C6 automatic gearbox, Carroll’s own car featured a four-speed manual. It also retains the live-rear axle out back.
The triple Stenson Black coupe, named for the hat you’d often spot Shelby wearing, has only covered 564 miles since new. Carroll Shelby himself only put about 213 of those miles on the car over the course of 40 years of ownership. The Black Hornet was ultimately signed over to his foundation in December 2008, and is now available for Mustang fans to fight over. The car will cross the block during Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale 2023 event, which is slated to run from January 21-29. Hopefully the next owner is willing to add a few more miles to that odometer, though that’s likely not in the cards for this very special piece of Mustang history.