Revisiting the Lost Jim Morrison Shelby GT 500 Update: Mystery Solved

In 2009, I wrote an article about the legendary Jim Morrison 1967 Shelby. Morrison was the singer-songwriter of the Los Angeles rock band, the Doors. It appeared on this blog on 5/2/2012. When Jim’s life was cut short in Paris in July 1971, most of the clues available to tracking down this muscle car disappeared. If you review the literature covering the rock singer, the car is mentioned incidentally and a few accounts describe the car having been involved in at least one bad accident. In fact, it was in two crashes. The first one was relatively minor and the car was repaired in time for use in a movie Jim Morrison filmed called HWY. After the production of the film however, the trail goes cold.

While you can have your name on the registration paper as registered owner of a car, if you’re making payments to a bank or loan company or if it’s a lease, there is another owner on that title. This is called the legal owner. Looking at Jim Morrison’s car registration, we see two names under registered owner: James Douglas Morrison and then C/O Johnson Harbrand. The Legal Ownership portion of the title is blank. Since car registration in California is renewed annually, Morrison certainly would’ve been able to pay off any outstanding debt owed on the car by 1968. The fact it remained in joint ownership tells me Jim’s car was in fact leased. If the insurance company paid a claim for total, the accounting company ceded the right of ownership along with Jim Morrison. In that scenario, the car would be auctioned. As it was in the car-crazy city of L.A, some hot rodder likely bought the drive train for use in a project.

Just a few months after my original story ran, someone who bought a Shelby GT 500 in New Mexico claimed to have discovered the Jim Morrison Shelby Mustang. This factoid was actually printed in the August 2009 issue of Mustang Monthly magazine. Bret Matteson of disputed this having seen the documentation of said car. It’s worth mentioning here that the Shelby Registry has not yet confirmed any existence of Morrison’s car or any remains. The SAAC Shelby Registrar, Dave Matthews, hasn’t confirmed the New Mexico Shelby as Morrison’s car either. I’ll add some interesting details to this story. Christian Mixon, the producer for Morrison’s Mustang movie, was contacted by Rick Nuckolls, the owner for assistance in verification of the car. Christian’s research on Morrison’s Shelby is in depth and he knows the VIN of the original Mustang and Shelby tag. Christian explained to me the Shelby’s VIN wasn’t correct to be Morrison’s car. Another basic problem was the interior being black. Morrison’s car was parchment. Christian mentioned that one of the reasons Nuckolls thought the car could’ve been Jim Morrison’s were the .357 magnum casings embedded in the dashboard. Nuckolls did research and learned that Babe Hill, Morrison’s friend, owned a .357 Magnum. This can hardly be called conclusive evidence.

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