Real or Fake ’68 GT/GTA/KR

How to tell them apart..

Very little changed from the ’67 to the ’68 models of Mustang and to make things worse there was no serial number, vin number or any number identification regarding GT’s or GTA’s from Ford. So unfortunately there is no way of telling from the vin or door data. The equipment added to a GT or GTA was as follows from what I can work out: V8 engine with either of the 4 engine options, 289 2 barrel C code, 289 4 Barrel A code, High Performance 289 K code or 390 High Performance S code. Four inch fog lights in the grille at the end of the centre bar with a switch under the dash near the ignition with the letters fog on it. Side tape stripes with GT or GTA emblems. All other emblems were removed so you will not see any tri bar horse logo with engine id or any mustang lettering on the fenders. GT for 4 speed cars and GTA for automatics. Chrome quad exhaust outlets exiting through cut outs of the rear valance. GT gas cap, is a twist off unless you have the exterior décor group (in hood signal lights, chrome trim around trunk, pop open gas cap, etc.) which changes it to a pop open gas cap with black GT lettering on it.

1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 KR
1968 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 KR; top car design rating and specifications

Red GT lettering for 68. Power brakes with disc brakes up front and the name disc brakes on the brake pedal pad. Special handling package with heavy duty springs and shocks as well as thicker 7/8 inch front sway bar. The easy things to look for when checking out a GT or GTA mustang is the disc brakes, the emblems or lack of emblems or logos, fog lights and gas cap. Although these can now be purchased separately as a reproduction and could be added to the replica ’68. It’s a known fact/story that when these cars were ordered the dealership would order the parts and put them on the cars before sale, pretty much on an add hock basis.


Sometimes there is factory paper slip stuffed in the rear quarters etc. that will give the factory spec as it was manufactured. This is the only way you can guarantee a genuine factory GT.

 Shelby GT KR


Shelby KR

The initials KR stood for ‘King of the Road'[, and to back it up the mid-year 1968 KR had Ford’s new 428 Cobra Jet engine with Ram Air Induction and traction-lock 3.50 rear end all standard on the KR. Plus the 428 CJ option price was cheap compared to other high performance engines available at the time. Ford called the 428CJ its “bread and butter” performance engine that all could afford.

The Cobra Jet engine was very successful at the drags and was Super Stock Eliminator Champ at the 1968 Winter Nationals beating expensive Hemi’s etc. Shelby’s 1967 GT 500 had led Ford’s pony car with a Thunderbird 428 engine with two Four-barrel carburettors.

The 1968 GT500 used a 428 Police Interceptor with single four barrel carburettor. Then in April ’68, Ford unveiled an even-hotter version of the 428 Police Interceptor (more durable engine) with better breathing heads and much bigger exhaust manifolds and called the soup’d up 428 Cop Motor the 428 Cobra Jet. The 428CJ was offered in the Mustang, Cougar, Cyclone and Fairlane models.

The GT 500-KR’s 428 had the same suspiciously low 335-bhp rating as other Cobra Jets, but the total torque rating of 440 foot-pounds at 3400 RPM told the real story. Shelby’s KR version had diecast aluminium cast with “Cobra Lemans” proudly broadcasting Ford’s FE engine family victory over Ferrari at Le Mans in 1966 and 1967.

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32 thoughts on “Real or Fake ’68 GT/GTA/KR

  1. The VIN for 1968 Ford cars is on the passenger side dash (there are others, but this is “THE” VIN). Federal law required car manufacturers to make the VIN visible through the windshield for the ’68 model year and later. Ford put it on the passenger side; GM and Chrysler put it on the driver’s side. For 1969, Ford joined the other manufacturers in putting the VIN on the driver’s side dash. Trucks didn’t have this requirement until the late ’70’s, so only Ford cars from 1968 have the official VIN on the passenger side dash. The VINs stamped on the inner fenders are technically “hidden” VINs and cannot be used to register the vehicle.

  2. I have a 8R02J it is a GT deluxe interior was front drum I switch to power disc 4 gas caps standard was screw on Decor group was the pop open with either standard running horse for the Shelby it was a pop open with no emblem for the GT350 GT500 GT500KR

  3. I was honored to receive my Dads 68 Shelby when he passed. He tore it down completely and rebuilt it from top to bottom. Its a KR convertible. Back when he bought the car it was from Georgia I have the letter explaining what the cost included when he purchased it and everything back in the 80’s was usually done by phone calls and snail mail, internet was not thought of. Anyways, how would I know if its a fake or the real thing? It is a beautiful car. Thank you.

    1. Hi Loria, what a great story you have there and I would be a proud owner too. There a few ways to find out if it’s the real deal or not, the serial or VIN number is the first option to see what it is. There is also the Marti report for a small charge will give you everything you need to know about the car. From 64 – 66 all the records were lost but 67 onwards there are records of everything the Ford plants produced. At the time many of the parts for the Shelby’s were bespoke and not many copies around at the time. The cars were sent to Shelby who then ripped bits of and replaced bits as they needed too, I suspect there may have been some paperwork relating to that it came from Shelby.

    2. Okay, I will look into the Marti report. I believe this car is listed in “a Shelby book” but further research is needed for this. Thank you so much for your rapid response.

      1. Its simple to tell if it’s a factory Shelby by checking the VIN number.

        They would use this format: 8-T-0#-X-000001-00001, which translates to
        [Year]-[Location of Manufacture]-[Body style]-[Engine Type]-[Ford Unit Number]-[Shelby Unit Number]

        So if your car is an authentic 1968 Shelby GT500KR Convertible would look something like this:
        8T03R###### #####
        8 = 1968
        T = Metuchen, NJ (All Shelbys were built at this plant in 1968)
        03 = Convertible
        R = 428ci V8 (GT500 and GT500 KR)
        ###### = Ford production number
        ##### = Shelby production number

        So a Ford body shell # 12,345 that became Shelby GT500KR convertible # 1,200
        You’d end up with 8T03R01234501200

        Since Shelby would take Ford body shells – which at that point had already been given a VIN – and build them up from there, a Shelby VIN is basically just a Ford VIN with an extra 5-digit number tacked onto the end.

        To summarize: The first five characters in the VIN MUST be 8T03R, and they MUST be followed by an 11 digit number to be an authentic Shelby.

        If its only a 7 digit number, then its just a standard Ford Mustang 428 convertible dressed up like a Shelby. Not that that’s a bad thing – those cars are rare and collectible in their own right. 🙂

        If its the real deal, though, make sure you have a good insurance policy – that car could be worth upwards of $200,000.00 ;D

        1. Wow, that was very helpful, Thank you. Well, when I checked everything, the vin is not a Shelby…..8F03C, darn! It has all the details of a Shelby…factory air, surfboard rack?, tilt away steering wheel, 428 plus absolutely everything else the Shelby had. Its a beauty anyways, plus my Dad rebuilt it and it was his favorite car out of approx 10 in all! He was great at restoring muscle cars or anything else for that matter. Sad to say he passed away from ALS which started in his hands and arms so he wasnt able to drive or work on any of his cars for about 7 yrs prior to passing. He was an artist with his hands when it came to cars so it would have been nice if his ALS would have started in his legs rather then his hands. Thank you for your info on a fake or real Sheby, so helpful and now I know. Rest In Peace Dad!

          1. I only read the vin on the dash, I cant get to the one on the fender for now, still in winter storage. When I get it out of the garage I will check. I live in Canton Ohio and we still are getting snow!! Thanks for all your input, I appreciate it all!

          2. 8F03C = 1968; Dearborn, MI; Convertible; 289ci V8

            This is a gift in disguise – I can’t even imagine the stress of being an average person and owning and maintaining a car that’s worth $200,000+; you’d always see it as an investment, and you’d never be able to enjoy it because you’d always be terrified of something happening to it and it losing its value. There’s too much incentive to auction it off and put that money somewhere safer. (In my opinion, at least)

            Since it isn’t, you can enjoy this wonderful memento of your father for what it is, without the constant fear of someone destroying a car worth as much as a small house.

            Others may disagree, but that’s my two cents. 🙂

            1. There is always that way of looking at it. I would still be a proud owner of a KR convertible. Paranoia if it was real that’s for sure, but enjoy it occasionally when you take her out. Clone, enjoy it everyday and your father is in seat next to you with the wind in his hair and a smile on his face knowing you love the car as much as he did.
              Please let us know if she is real or clone. What ever result it’s a wonderful legacy to own.

          1. Yes. The second 5-digit number after the hyphen is the dead giveaway, as plain-Jane Ford VINs did not have that
            This car’s specs:
            360HP 428ci Police Interceptor V8
            (Apparently this motor was the middle horsepower option between the base model GT500’s 428 and the top end GT500KR’s Cobra Jet)

            If this is yours, congrats on having a very special car. =)

        1. My Dads car is possibly a clone/recreation, but it’s all okay! I will check the inner fender when I move it out of our building. I have driven it all around no matter what the value was as I knew it could be worth a lot or not. I carry special insurance on it. It’s getting enjoyed, getting compliments that I give fully to my Dad and looking forward to another season getting it out in the sun! I respect my Dad’s hard work and love for cars and I hope he is smiling and with me when I get it on the road. Thank you both for all your info and I will be sure to let you know anymore details.

  4. Hi i have just purchased a 68 purported to be a gt it is an s code 390 with all accessories except fog lights were all 390 gt

    1. Thanks for the comment, perhaps the foglights had been removed at some point, or not even ordered the time the car was built. Perhaps asking on the Mustang Maniac Facebook forum? They may be able to help a bit more.

      1. Sorry to bother but with all i have read regarding vin numbers on passenger’s side dash i have a 68 s code and the vin plate is located on the drivers side was this normal Regards barry

        On 13 Nov 2017 3:26 AM, “One Man And His Mustang” wrote:

        > One man and his Mustang commented: “Thanks for the comment, perhaps the > footlights had been removed at some point, or not even ordered the time the > car was built. Perhaps asking on the Mustang Maniac Facebook forum? They > may be able to help a bit more.” >

        1. Hi Barry, As far as a I know the vin number was on the left hand side of the inner fender. There are usually two fins to view, one on the passenger side, 1 on the drivers side and a hidden vin on the passenger side as well, this is found under the fender itself, but on top of the inner fender towads the cowl section where it won’t be seen. This is a usually a good way to check if any of the vin or panels had been replaced. Unless anybody can correct me on this of course.

  5. Was the GTA designation dropped at any time in 1968 where automatics were also labeled at GT? Is there any VIN designation or any other way to verify? I am looking at a 1968 GT but it is an automatic. I believe it is a GT but may have been converted to automatic at some point. The owner insists it was not converted

    1. Yes. Again, GTA was used in 1967 ONLY. My ’68 GT is also factory automatic. Considering how manuals are more desirable than automatics with most muscle car fans these days, I doubt he’s lying about it being factory auto. A factory manual converted to auto would be an easier sell since a new owner could switch it *back* to stick and maintain “factory correct” status. 😉

      That being said…

      If memory serves me correctly the Vin does tell you which transmission it came with.

      However, NO, the “GT” status is NOT actually noted anywhere in the Vin. See, you have to understand the difference between what “GT” means now vs what it meant then.

      With more modern Mustangs “GT” denotes – for all intents and purposes – an entirely different model or at least trim level – from the base car. A GT means the big motor, different suspension, different wheels, interior, trim, bodywork, you name it. They always come from the factory one way or the other.

      Whereas in 1967-68 “GT” basically just denoted an options package, and many base Mustangs were converted to GT spec at the dealer. Honestly, it’s more or less just badging, c-stripes, fog lights, different wheel paint, and beefier suspension, with the 390 also getting front disc brakes. Any base Mustang could be fitted with the GT option by a dealer provided it had either the J-code 302-4V or the S-code 390.

      There is NO 100% foolproof way of knowing whether or not your car is an original GT without the original dealer-supplied options list/ receipt, and even then it’s impossible to tell whether it was a factory GT or a dealer GT. (not that it makes an iota of a difference whether its factory or dealer. they are both equally valid)

      How do I know mine is original? Honestly, I don’t. ( At least not 100%.) I only have it on the word of the previous owner (who bought it used in 1970 from a doctor). But based off the oxidation, surface rust, flaking chrome, and worn paint on the badges and fog lights, and the inclusion of the correct suspension and wheels, I strongly suspect that it is likely original.

      1. Fantastic reply, thank you for the question and response guys. Any information on these classics is little difficult to validate as you quite rightly say. There are no records for any Mustang before 1967, so it’s incredibly difficult to be certain it’s a genuine GT or not. Apparently those records were destroyed in a fire of site. There is always the Marti Report which is a fantastic source of information –

  6. I’ve owned and researched a 68 Fastback GT, 302-4V, for the past 10 years. Everything that follows is only in regard to the 68; I don’t really know as much about the 67.

    Engine options for the GT were either the J-code 230hp 302-4V, or the S-code 325hp 390.

    Front disc brakes were ONLY standard on the 390. On the 302 they were just optional. So having a J-code without front discs doesn’t necessarily mean its not a factory GT.

    The “GTA” thing for automatics was only for ’67. In 68, they were all just called “GT,” regardless of the transmission.

    In 68, all fuel-fillers were flip open, including the GT.

    As you’ve said, heavy duty suspension was also a standard feature, as are the foglights, and the only exterior running horse emblem is located in the grill. Everywhere else it just says “GT.”

    Thats my two cents.

    1. Thanks very much for your comments Andrew.
      Your 2 cents is well and truly accepted. All the information we can get on these cars can only be a good thing to share with the rest of us. Much appreciated.

    2. Ford anounced the release of the R code 428 Cobra Jet engine on April 1st 1968, and yes you get get it optioned as a GT! Your previous reference to Manual transmissions being more popular is unsubstanciated and there is no reference in the vin which identifies the type of transmission your 1968 Mustang came with. Andrew, i respect your passion but please get your facts straight.

      1. Thanks Mark,
        When I tried to find this information it was quite sparse and a collection of information from various sources. If we can get all this knowledge correct in one place then this article has done exactly what I wanted, it’s pooled the correct information together.

    3. Flip Open fuel fillers were not standard on all Mustangs for 1968, are you making this up as you go along. Check out the Councours Mustang Website for the corect information, thanks

      1. Thanks (again) Mark,
        I was a little surprised at the flip filler caps I must admit. But if somebody else knows more than me I am happy to be corrected.
        Thanks for the tip of the website. I think this is the one you refer to and looks very detailed with some true expert knowledge there.
        As before, please correct me if I’m wrong here or you have any additional reference or better web sites for us all.

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