Classic cars become rare due to low production numbers for the most part, but some reach collectible status through other features. Specific engines, for instance, are pretty desirable. Or, in the case of the 1971 Plymouth HEMI ‘Cuda Convertible, the powerplant-roof combo comes with a million-dollar price tag.
But some classics are scarce thanks to several seemingly mundane convenience features like air conditioning systems and radios. And believe it or not but color can also be a decisive factor. Some of Mopars “high impact” hues are both rare and desirable, especially “spring colors” like Rallye Green and Panther Pink (called Moulin Rouge on Plymouths).
Pink is a particularly rare color on almost any car, even though it’s been offered by nearly every Detroit carmaker from the 1950s to the 1970s. Take Ford, for instance, which included various shades of pink in the Mustang palette from 1965 to 1972. And it even offered two different hues for model years 1968 and 1969. But it was rarely ordered by muscle car enthusiasts due to its association with love and femininity.
However, a Mustang doesn’t necessarily have to be pink to be rare. Even if we’re talking about the ponies Ford handed out as gifts to Playboy Playmates or the company running the magazine itself (which happened quite often). The 1968 Shelby GT350 you see here is also a Playboy Mustang despite wearing Raven Black paint. And even though it might seem counterintuitive since black is a very common color, this ‘Stang is a rare gem.
For starters, it’s one of ten Shelby convertibles that Ford gave to Playboy when it opened its Lake Geneva Club in Wisconsin in 1968. Five of them were GT500 versions, while the other five, including this one, were GT350. And what makes it truly special is the fact that it’s the only one finished in Raven Black.
But this Mustang is extremely rare even if we ignore its association with the entertainment magazine. Simply because black wasn’t a very popular color on Shelby models in 1968. Specifically, of the 1,457 GT350s built that year, only 11 were ordered as convertibles with automatic transmissions. Add in the white soft top, which looks tremendous atop a black body, and the Extra Cooling Package found in this car, and it all narrows down to just six examples.
And not only is this beauty the only one associated with Playboy, but it’s also the only one known to exist in this condition. This can only be described as “fabulous” because this GT350 looks like it just left the assembly line more than 50 years ago. Oh, it’s also a relatively low-mileage example, with just 47,681 miles (76,735 km) on the clock.
But wait, that’s not all: the V8 engine under the hood is of the numbers-matching variety. If you’re not familiar with these ‘Stangs, 1968 marked a shift from the 289-cubic-inch (4.7-liter) unit to the 302-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) Windsor V8. Unrelated to the similarly large mill offered in the Boss 302, it delivered 250 horsepower, 56 horses compared to its predecessor.
Yeah, it’s not something you want to hear about a high-performance Mustang, but the power drop doesn’t make this GT350 less significant on the classic car market.