’67 Shelby Mustang Boasts 800-Horsepower

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RK fr 3In a year that marks the fiftieth-anniversary of the Ford Mustang sports car RK Motors Charlotte, one of the premier collector car consignment houses in America, has unveiled what may prove to be the most powerful 1967 Shelby Mustang ever produced. The 1967 Shelby is among the most widely recognized and highly sought after of all the extraordinary Shelby creations. It has played a role in countless television programs and even had its fair share of movie exposure, leaving collectors with no shortage of inspiration when plotting the theme of their next resto-mod masterpiece. What I personally like and respect the most about the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby RK527 is that it retains the car’s original exterior and interior styling while simultaneously “knocking the cover off the ball” in the area of performance.


Power tourIntroduced at the Charlotte Motor Speedway during last month’s Mustang Club of America rally, the RK 527 is built for more than just show, or even straight line racing. Before being offered for sale, this car will take part in the grueling 2014 Hot Rod Power Tour, which begins June 7, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina and winds up in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Checkpoints are set up along the way and the few vehicles that are successful in hitting every checkpoint (covering an area that includes seven separate states) and arriving at the final destination will be awarded the Hot Rod Magazine Long Hauler Award.


RK sideWhen it comes to building a stunning muscle car, the 1967 Shelby Mustang (with its familiar fast-back design) is an obvious choice. With its low center of gravity and wide aggressive stance, the ’67 Shelby has the air of a skilled gunfighter, issuing an unspoken challenge to all who will dare stand against his metal. This particular car has been meticulously restored in a brilliant shade of Candy-Apple Red with two historically accurate Wimbledon White Shelby racing stripes, painted from one end of the car to the other.  Chrome bumpers adorn both ends like fine jewelry, a Shelby front grille allows air to enter the engine bay while protecting two FoMoCo driving lamps tucked behind it, brightly polished “GT 500” badges are among the many chrome accents which include, factory accurate polished lanyards, window sill trim, windshield wiper arms, outside door handles, and Cobra fender badges. The exterior appearance is stock, except for the enormous 3-inch stainless-steel exhaust tips which protrude through the rear roll pan, making this the perfect Mustang street-sleeper.


RK engine 2Sure, in 1967 the Shelby Mustang Cobra with the 428 Cobra Jet V8, extremely modestly rated at 335-horsepower, was a force with which to be reckoned but by today’s standards it is somewhat tame. Therefore the crew at RK Motors in Charlotte opted to design in a different direction. Instead of an enhanced 428 CJ, the went with an all-aluminum John Kaase 527-cubic inch (8.65-liter) Boss9 V8. The engine has been dyno verified to produce a whopping 800-horsepower using normal pump gas. In keeping with the street-sleeper theme, the RK527 is topped with a factory style air intake breather that covers a monstrous 1500-cfm throttle body. The port fuel injection system is controlled electronically by a Fast XFI electronic engine control computer. At the heart of this hungry beast you will find a Bryant billet steel crankshaft, Oliver connecting rods, forged aluminum pistons, and a full-roller valve train. A massive custom Fluidyne aluminum radiator is responsible for keeping things cool and spark is supplied via a MSD ignition system. Finally, engine exhaust is funneled quickly away from the aluminum engine using a set of Good Fab stainless-steel exhaust headers and a custom- made 3-inch stainless-steel exhaust system with 40-Series Flowmaster mufflers.


RK engine 1Transferring all of those hoof-beats to the pavement is no easy task. After careful consideration a custom built Tremec T56 six-speed manual gearbox, with a McCleod racing clutch was chosen to link up with a bullet-proof Ford 9-inch differential complete with cone-type locking carrier and 3.55:1 final drive gears. The tires are BF Goodrich Comp TA in 245/40ZR18 on alloy rims from Shelby Vintage Wheels, INC. Kudos for matching the tire size from front to rear. Bringing all of this pristine equine stock to a safe halt is a Baer four-wheel disc brake system with six-piston calipers and cross-drilled and ventilated rotors (14-inch front and 13-inch rear).


RK frMaking room for the engine underneath the hood of the already cramped RK 527 proposed another challenge. It has been said that with the vanquishing of each challenge, the victor reaps the rewards. This has proven true with the RK 527, as well. The removal of the factory shock towers and attached factory suspension system proved to be quite advantageous when it was decided that a Detroit Speed Alumnaframe racing suspension (with fully adjustable coil over shocks) would take their place. Coupled with a Detroit Speed Quadralink rear suspension setup (also with fully adjustable coil over racing shocks), the 1967 Ford Mustang chassis that was once limited primarily to drag racing can now compete in the corners, as well.


RK rrThe interior of the RK 527 is essentially factory accurate, with a wood and chrome steering wheel and analog instrumentation, including a factory 140-mph speedometer, 8,000-RPM tachometer, and Stewart-Warner gauges. The seating is also a factory match in black comfort weave vinyl; they provide a firm yet comfortable place from which to blow away the competition. Factory cut and pile black carpeting, thick rubber mats, and black vinyl covered door panels with chrome accents add to the factory fresh flair, as does the shiny chrome floor shifter with the “1967 RK Mustang” emblem attached. The only hint of the predatory nature of this Shelby is the subtle black roll bar nestled near the fade-free headliner, from which factory fresh safety shoulder harness hang.


If you have a chance to see this one-of-a-kind car, during the 2014 Hot Rod Power Tour, it will be an experience that you will never forget.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.