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 Post subject: Shelby Race car goes to auction
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:59 pm 
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One-of-16 Shelby-built Trans-Am Mustang heads to auction.





Photos courtesy Mecum Auctions.

There’s no telling how Ken Miles would have helped Shelby and Ford in the 1966 SCCA Trans-Am series; he died in August of that year without having driven the Shelby Mustang prepared for him. Yet John McComb made the best of a tragic situation by racing that Mustang to two wins and helping Ford take the manufacturers’ championship that year. Rescued from a field and restored, that very Mustang will cross the block in January at Mecum’s Kissimmee sale.

McComb began racing in SCCA in 1963, but didn’t enter more than a handful of races until 1965, when he qualified for the national championship in an MGB. Through that experience, he met fellow MGB racer Chuck Cantwell, who got hired on at Shelby American in 1964 and a couple of years later was tasked with transforming the Mustang notchback into a Trans-Am racer. According to SCCA rules, the Mustang fastbacks – which, of course, Shelby based his G.T. 350 upon – were classified as two-seaters, leaving them ineligible for Trans-Am’s A/Sedan class (which also specified that entrants have all-steel bodywork and no hoodscoops). Regardless, Ford wanted a horse in the Trans-Am race, so Cantwell built 16 notchback K-code Mustangs with G.T. 350R underpinnings (along with another four with street G.T. 350 underpinnings built for European FIA rallying) and stripped them of every non-essential item the rule book would allow him to get away with. Shelby, which had dissolved its factory racing effort at the end of 1965, sold the cars as Ford Mustangs to privateer customers.



When McComb put in a request for one of the Trans-Am Mustangs with his friend Cantwell, all 16 had been spoken for; it wasn’t until after Miles died in August 1966 while testing a Ford J-car at Riverside that Cantwell called up McComb to let him know that one of the Mustangs had become available. McComb, who was based in Hutchinson, Kansas, at the time, said he picked up the Mustang in Los Angeles and within two weeks won two races – at Continental Divide in Castle Rock, Colorado, and at Green Valley Raceway outside Fort Worth, Texas, the latter tying Ford with Chrysler for the lead in the manufacturers’ championship. McComb said he would have won the season-ender at Riverside as well, had it not been for what he called a rookie mistake, which led to him finishing in fourth place; fortunately for Ford, Jerry Titus in another Mustang took the win at Riverside, securing the manufacturers’ championship for Ford.

“That ’66 was a dandy race car,” McComb told us. “I don’t know what it was about it that made it that way – it was good right out of the box.”

After the 1966 season, McComb sold the Mustang to buy another Shelby-prepped Mustang, the one that he used to secure the 1967 Trans-Am driver’s points championship. According to Mecum’s description of the car, the Mustang remained competitive that year, with subsequent buyer Keith Thomas at the wheel. Over the years, McComb occasionally heard of the whereabouts of the ’66 Mustang – at one point it lay essentially abandoned in a pile of rubbish in Texas – until it eventually was restored to its 1966 specifications and appearance and photographed for at least a couple of books, including Randy Leffingwell’s Shelby Mustang: Racer for the Street and Colin Comer’s The Complete Book of Shelby Automobiles: Cobras, Mustangs, and Super Snakes.

Mecum will be selling the Mustang, along with a number of vehicles from the Rick Davis collection, at its Kissimmee auction, scheduled for January 18-27 at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida. For more information, visit Mecum.com.


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 Post subject: Re: Shelby Race car goes to auction
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 7:25 am
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Location: Cove Point
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Green Valley Raceway outside Fort Worth, Texas
That joint was the bomb back in the day! Of course when I was a kid it was out in the woods and now it has been built up.

What an awesome looking car, I think of Dan Gurney in the AAR series.

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