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Friday, March 22, 2019

FOUND! 1967 Shelby GT350 Barn Find - 1 of 1!

FOUND!  1967 Shelby GT350 Barn Find - 1 of 1!
Image ©Ruben Bonales

Over the past several years, the "Barn Find" concept has taken on a life of its own.  The desire to find a rare car that is completely unknown to the public has reached a fever pitch.  In fact, there are books, shows and magazine articles devoted to the Holy Grail of rare car finds.  And, as the saying goes, "They're still out there!"

FOUND!  1967 Shelby GT350 Barn Find - 1 of 1!
Image ©Ruben Bonales

Well, this dream came true for one of my customers, Ruben Bonales of San Antonio, TX.  Three weeks ago, an extremely close friend (who owns a restoration shop called Big 3 Performance out of Green Bay, WI, and has completed many restorations for Ruben) reached out to share the news that there was a GT350 located in California coming up for sale, and Aaron asked if Ruben would be interested.  Skeptical, but unwilling to pass up an opportunity, Ruben followed up with Aaron to gather more information.

FOUND!  1967 Shelby GT350 Barn Find - 1 of 1!
Image ©Ruben Bonales
Over the subsequent weeks, Aaron helped Ruben secure photographs and some background on the car:  a 1967 Shelby GT350.  As the information started to come in, Ruben reached out to the SAAC Registrar, Dave Mathews, to find out more about the car.  As it turns out, there was no documented owner history for the car, other than it being shipped to Mel Burns Ford in Long Beach, CA circa 1967.  That's it - nothing else was known about the car or if it still existed.  However, Dave Mathews was able to confirm some extremely important information about this Shelby and how it was originally spec'd:  Red, Automatic, A/C, Magstars and Thermactor... 1 of 1.  

Not long after receiving this information, and before Ruben could get out to inspect the car, the potential sale started to go south.  The prior owner had passed away last June 2018, and there was some challenge as to who had the rights to sell the car.  In the end, Ruben was able to contact the executor of the previous owner's estate, and Ruben setup to come inspect the car.

FOUND!  1967 Shelby GT350 Barn Find - 1 of 1!
Image ©Ruben Bonales

While inspecting the car, it became clear to Ruben that this was an incredibly original (and dirty) car that had received one repaint to black not long after it was originally purchased.  However, the car was incredibly original.  It had its original engine, transmission, interior, Magstars, rearend, thermactor...you name it.  Ruben also spoke with family members during the inspection, and he learned that this had been a one family owned car since new, and that the car had only 10,454 original miles!  

FOUND!  1967 Shelby GT350 Barn Find - 1 of 1!
Image ©Ruben Bonales

The original owner, Daniel Mejia, purchased the car after separating from the Air Force.  Then, in 1972, Daniel found himself going through a bitter divorce and sold the car to his cousin, Robert Mejia for $900.  The goal was for Robert to hold on to the car until Daniel could get back on his feet.  However, Robert fell in love with the car and kept it until the day he died.  Robert drove the car very little after he purchased it in 1972, and soon parked it in his garage.  Shortly before he passed, Robert pushed the car out of his garage under a mobile covering and placed a car cover on top. 

FOUND!  1967 Shelby GT350 Barn Find - 1 of 1!
Image ©Ruben Bonales

There is much more to the story - both of the car and how it was found.  But, for now, please enjoy these photos showing the condition the car was in when Ruben inspected and purchased the car, as well as photos taken when the car was delivered to Ruben's house in San Antonio on March 21, 2019.

Side note:  Ruben will be displaying this car at the MCA National Event in Houston (many thanks to both the MCA and the Northside Mustang Club for fitting him in on EXTREMELY short notice) from March 29th to the 31st.  If you're in the area, please come by to see the car, as well as introduce yourself to Ruben.  He'd love to meet you and share more stories about #2666!

FOUND!  1967 Shelby GT350 Barn Find - 1 of 1!
Image ©Ruben Bonales



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