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Barrett-Jackson founder finds long-lost Shelby Mustang prototype

The second of two Shelby GT500 EXPs was thought destroyed, until it was found by Craig Jackson and a team of experts this year.

Barrett-Jackson

If you ask most people to describe a 1967 Shelby GT500 Mustang, they're going to picture the car from Gone in 60 Seconds because let's face it, that's probably the only one most people have seen. But for those who live and breathe Shelby history, there's another more important car called Little Red, and it was thought to have disappeared. Until now.

Craig Jackson, founder of the Barrett-Jackson auction house, and a team of experts have found the second 1967 GT500 EXP prototype ever built, Little Red, the sister car to the famous Green Hornet. Jackson made the announcement that he had discovered the car during the annual Woodward Dream Cruise in Michigan this weekend.

"Finding Little Red is the discovery of a lifetime," said Jackson. "This Shelby prototype has been one of the most sought-after and elusive vehicles in postwar history. Countless enthusiasts and experts have searched for Little Red since it went missing in the 1960s. Many believed it was destroyed when the car was no longer needed. I'm excited to announce that was not the case. We've found Little Red and we intend to meticulously restore this legendary car back to its original glory."

The car was located in rural North Texas after having been missing for decades, and now Jackson and his team are working to piece together the vehicle's history before it went into storage by crowdsourcing information.

People searching for the vehicle previously had tried to track it down via its Shelby VIN number. The team behind Jackson's effort were able to find the vehicle by using its original Ford VIN number, something which took considerable digging to find. Eventually, the team was able to track down the car's current owner and contacted him via social media.

"Locating Little Red was tantamount to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack," said Jason Billups, Mustang expert and team leader. "After our initial research we realized that, like others before us, we were using the wrong search criteria. Everyone looked for Little Red using the Shelby serial number, which would eventually lead to a dead end. We took a different approach and located the car's original Ford VIN number, which wasn't easily discoverable. That VIN led us to its original registration and eventually to its last owner."

The owner granted Jackson and his crew access to his North Texas property on March 3 to view the car, and was himself allegedly surprised to learn of the car's historic significance. The vehicle is set to undergo a total restoration by marque experts, which will be documented and shared with enthusiasts online.