The 1968 Shelby EXP-500 Prototype 428 CJ Conelec EFI was a rare 1-of-1 beauty nicknamed, “The Green Hornet”. It has independent rear suspension, fuel-injection, and was powered by the 428 Cobra Jet engine.
The Green Hornet was a factory-experimental beast with four-wheel disc brakes, with all this modern technology packed into a 1968 legend. It had a stripe on the front quarter panel that read “EXP500”.
The EXP-500 came to be as Carroll Shelby needed a testbed machine for his new fuel-injection unit and IRS (independent-rear-suspension), but the “Lil Red” 1967 hardtop he was going to use was used at performance displays and frequently driven by Shelby’s friend, Bill Cosby. Ford shipped him a Lime Gold 1968 hardtop with a 390-ci engine, which was immediately yanked and replaced with the experimental 428-CJ.
A former Bendix engineer named Dave Long developed a Conelec EFI that was going to be used in full-sized Ford and Mercury cars due to the more stringent 1970 emissions regulations. This test bed still featured a 9-inch rear, coil springs, lateral links, and a rear anti-roll bar. A truck-spec C6 transmission was installed to replace the factory C6. The handle the big-beef they also swapped out for a Lincoln torque converter and a cast-iron truck shaft.
Shelby of course modified the body as well and slapped on a functional ram-air hood and different tail-panel to hold 1965 Thunderbird tail-lights. Three coats of Gold Luster Green were shot on the body by legendary
painter Sonny Fee. He also covered it with gold metallic mica which were hand-rubbed in and topped with clear. Likely due to his friendship with Bill Cosby, the one-off custom car was quickly nicknamed “The Green Hornet”.
It bolstered 0-60 times in the 5.7 second range with a top speed around 157 mph. That was accomplished with just a 3.0:1 ratio, and weighing a hefty 3,500-pounds. The Conelec fuel injection and IRS never made it to production. Until now, most believed that the Green Hornet had been destroyed.
Actually, it made it to Ford’s Employee and Auction Resale Lot in Dearborn, MI. Unfortunately it was stripped of many parts such as the IRS and the EFI. The lot owner bought it for a mere $3,000, knowing it was the only Shelby notch-back like it. Though he sold it 6 months later saying that it had too much power to be a family car.
So he sold it to Don Darrow, owner of the Ford dealer franchise in Cheboygan, Michigan. The new owner added a white vinyl top, 14-inch styled steel wheels with GT caps, and white-stripe Michelins. He only put on about 30,000 miles. The new owners had no idea what kind of special car they owned for 20 years. The brought it to the original builder and started getting it restored.
Martin Euler of Classic & Muscle Mustang Restorations in Midland, Michigan took over the project. With help from Goodell, the original builder, they restored it as close as they could to what Shelby intended it to look like from the start. The Green Hornet is now part of Craig Jackson’s select collection of ultra-rare muscle cars–a lone Ford in the Barrett-Jackson Auction magnate’s private garage full of ultra rare one-of-one high-optioned GM and Mopar muscle.
Type: OHV V-8, iron block and heads
Displacement: 428 cubic inches
Bore x Stroke: 4.13 inches x 3.98 inches
Compression ratio: 10.5:1
Horsepower @ rpm: 355 @ 5,400*
Torque @ rpm: 420-lbs.ft. @ 3,200rpm*
Valvetrain: Pushrod operation, hydraulic valve lifters
Main bearings: 5
Fuel system: Conelec electronic multiport fuel injection, electric fuel pump
Lubrication system: Pressure, gear-type pump
Electrical system: 12-volt
Exhaust system: Dual exhaust
Type: Heavy-duty Ford C6 three-speed automatic with Lincoln torque converter
Ratios 1st: 2.46:1
Type: Ford 9-inch center section
Type: Recirculating ball, power assist
Turns, lock-to-lock: 4.0
Turning circle: 37 feet
Type: Four-wheel disc, hydraulic activation
Front: 11.3-inch Kelsey Hayes vented discs
Rear: 11.3-inch Kelsey Hayes vented discs
Chassis & Body
Construction: Unit-body construction
Body style: Two-door coupe
Layout: Front engine, rear-wheel drive
Front: Independent, upper wishbones, lower control arm with drag strut, 0.94-inch anti-roll bar, coil springs, telescoping shock absorbers
Rear: Fully independent; lower control arms; coil springs; telescoping shock absorbers; lateral links; anti-roll bar
Wheels & Tires
Wheels: Shelby aluminum 10-spoke
Front: 15 x 7 inches
Rear: 15 x 7 inches
Tires: Goodyear Polyglas
Weights & Measures
Wheelbase: 108 inches
Overall length: 186.6 inches
Overall width: 70.9 inches
Overall height: 51.6 inches
Front track: 58.0 inches
Rear track: 58.0 inches*
Curb weight: 3,450 pounds**
Crankcase: 5 quarts
Cooling system: 23.5 quarts
Fuel tank: 17 gallons
Bhp per c.i.d.: 0.83*
Weight per bhp: 9.71 pounds*
Weight per c.i.d.: 8.06 pounds*
This Shelby Mustang was a prototype unit for component testing and was not sold through regular dealer channels. It is the only one in existence.
0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds
0-100 mph: 11.4 seconds
Top speed: 157 mph
* indicates information on (or extrapolated from) a stock 1968 Shelby GT500; prototype data unavailable
** according to previously published sources