David Gruthoff’s 1969 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang
David Gruthoff’s ’69 Shelby GT500 Mustang is exactly what a rare ’60s muscle car should be when it’s 52 years old. Stock. As stock as stock can be.
David found his Mustang in Pensacola, Florida, 23 years ago. He lives in Brighton, Colorado, less than 100 miles from the Ford dealership – Phil Long Ford in Colorado Springs – where it was sold when new.
The ’69 Shelby Mustang marked the end of the ’60s run for the iconic partnership between Ford and Carrol Shelby. Originally envisioned to enhance the performance potential of Mustangs, by the ’69 model year the GT500 had morphed into more of highway cruiser than a track monster. The 289-powered ’66 Shelby GT350 Mustangs posted quarter-mile times almost a full second faster than the 428-powered ’69s.
By the 1969 models Ford was more in control of the conversions, outsourcing much of the modification and fitment chores to the A.O. Smith corporation in Michigan. While some 1970 GT500 Mustangs would be marketed, these cars were unsold 1969 models that received new VIN tags and additional striping.
David’s GT500 is powered by the 428c.i. Cobra Jet V8 that produced 335 horsepower and 440 foot-pounds of torque. The engine featured the heavy-duty police interceptor connecting rods, low-riser cylinder heads and hydraulic camshaft. A Holley 735cfm four-barrel carb topped the iron intake manifold, with dual exhaust handling waste gases. A C6 automatic transmission is connected to a Traction-Lock limited-slip rear end housing 3.00:1 gears. Disc brakes in the front and drums in the rear handle the braking chores. Optional Shelby wheels house F60-15 Goodyear Polyglas tires.
For the 1969 GT500s, the front of the vehicle received extensive modifications, including a further-extended front facia a well as chrome trim on the front grille and headlight buckets. The hood housed three air inlets. Air scoops adorned the front fenders as well as the leading edges of the rear fenders. A low-rise rear spoiler, stripes, and Shelby logos rounded out the GT500 packaging. David’s Mustang is painted Wimbledon White.
The GT500 utilized Ford’s Deluxe interior package: high-back bucket seats, simulated woodgrain accents and a three-spoke wood-rimmed steering wheel. The dash featured a large tachometer and speedometer. Ammeter and oil pressure gauges were relocated to just below the radio. The GT500 two-point padded roll bar included inertia-reel seat-belt harnesses in the hardtop models.
David’s Shelby GT500 weighs in at just under 3,900 pounds and had a base price just north of $4,700. The money spent back then would have been a good investment, as today’s values for these cars can top $100,000.
Photos by John Jackson