The 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake will be among the headline entries at the 2013 Mecum Original Spring Classic Auction, scheduled for May 14-19 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The one-off Super Snake will be offered at public auction for the first time on Friday, May 17th, one of the more than 2,000 vehicles expected at this year’s Indy sale.
Carroll Shelby originally assigned the car to demonstrate Goodyear’s new ‘Thunderbolt’ budget passenger car tires in a high-profile press event, but the mission was expanded after a chance encounter between Shelby and his friend, former Shelby American sales manager Don McCain. McCain suggested Carroll put a racing 427 Le Mans GT40 engine in the GT500 for the test and let him sell the car with the intention of building 50 more to be marketed and sold to the public as the powerhouse Shelby Super Snakes, thus originating the name.
Shelby instructed Fred Goodell, Shelby American’s chief engineer on loan from Ford, to prepare the GT500 with a special engine for the test. It was the same powerplant used in the Le Mans-winning GT40 Mk II, including a variation on the Mk II’s ‘bundle of snakes’ exhaust system and its output of 600 horsepower. Described by McCain as “the mother of all 427s”, it powered the car to a top speed of 170 MPH with Shelby at the wheel for press demonstration laps before Goodell averaged 142 MPH for the 500-mile tire test at Goodyear’s San Angelo, Texas, test facility. The event was judged a success, but McCain’s plan to sell 50 Super Snakes was ultimately dashed by the car’s $8,000 price tag; even the 427 Cobra cost less.
After a series of documented owners, the 1967 Shelby GT500 Super Snake was purchased by Richard Ellis, an Illinois collector of Shelbys. It showed 26,000 miles on the odometer and almost no deterioration.
Ellis commented, “I wanted to own this piece of Shelby history more than anything. It was well cared for by its previous owners, but I’ve put a lot of effort into returning it to the state it was in on the day of the tire test. I have enjoyed it a great deal and now it is time to move on. It will be missed.”
Mecum Auctions Original Spring Classic Auction 2013 – Event Information
Dana Mecum’s 26th Original Spring Classic
Indiana State Fairgrounds
1202 E. 38th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46205
May 14-19, 2013
Preview: Gates open daily at 8 a.m.
Auction: Vehicles start at 10 a.m. each day with Road Art 30 minutes prior
Live Broadcast on Velocity: Wednesday, May 15 through Saturday, May 18 from 1-9 p.m.