The Green Hornet, a storied Shelby Mustang prototype that many pony car enthusiasts assumed was destroyed decades ago, will come up for auction early next year.
The Barrett-Jackson auction house will sell the car at its Scottsdale auction on Jan. 19.
The Shelby “represents a rolling history of what Ford and Shelby American, the auto-design firm owned by Carroll Shelby, were producing in the heyday of the American muscle-car era and is considered one of the most innovative and unique vehicles of its time,” said Craig Jackson, chief executive of Barrett-Jackson and the current owner of the car.
It is expected to sell for about $2 million.
Back in 1967 Ford Motor Co. considered selling a Mustang variant as a GT/Sport Coupe, and built two prototypes. One was painted in a “Lime Gold” and built up as a 1968 Mustang notchback, with a 390 V-8 engine and beefy automatic transmission from Ford’s Lincoln brand. The sister car was crushed.
Ford took the car on the show circuit but eventually decided not to move ahead with the program. The car was given to Shelby American, where it underwent modifications that Jackson said included the addition of an experimental fuel-injection system, independent rear suspension, a unique rear disc-brake configuration and a power rear antenna, which was rare at the time.
Shelby called the modified Mustang the EXP 500. It was painted a deep green, giving rise to its “The Green Hornet” nickname.
It was sent to a Ford yard in Michigan where it was scheduled to be crushed, but a Ford executive essentially bought the car “out the back door,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson.
He drove it as a regular day-to-day car before giving it to his son. The son, Randy Darrow, drove it to school and used it for many years. He eventually saw some articles about The Green Hornet cars and started to research its history. Darrow thought he might have had the long-lost vehicle because of the unique paint job.
With help from a collector car registry, Darrow matched the vehicle identification number and had the vehicle restored to near its original configuration.
“It is just a fluke that this car survived,” Davis said. “This survived the crusher and then all those years on the streets of Michigan.”