The Group II Shelby Ford Mustang Built For But Never Raced By Ken Miles

1966 Ford Mustang Racecar
Group II Ford Mustang Built For Ken Miles

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 this Shelby Mustang that was factory prepared for him. Yet John McComb made the best of a tragic situation by racing this Mustang to two wins and helping Ford clinch the manufacturers’ championship that year.

1966 Shelby Trans Am Group II Racecar
1966 Shelby Trans-Am Group II Racecar
  • #12 of 16 Shelby Group II Racers Factory Built In 1966
  • Purchased New By John McComb And Raced From 1966-1969
  • 1st Place At Pan American Trans-Am, Green Valley, TX In 1966
  • 1st Place At Continental Divide SCCA National In 1966
  • John McComb And This Car Helped Ford Claim The Trans Am Manufacturers Championship For 1966
  • Featured on the December 1966 cover of Sports Car Graphic
  • Participant in the 24 Hours of Daytona, 1967
  • Finished 2nd in 1967 SCCA A/Sedan Midwest
  • Complete Rotisserie Restoration By Legendary Motorcar

Here’s a hands-on glimpse into the history of this 1966 Shelby Ford Mustang Group II race car originally built for Shelby American driver Ken Miles…

1966 Shelby Trans Am Group II Racecar

According to SCCA rules, the Mustang fastbacks – which, of course, Shelby based his GT 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 hood scoops).

Regardless, Ford wanted a “horse” in the Trans-Am race, so Cantwell built 16 notchback K-code Mustangs with GT 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.

The equipment included a Shelby-built 289 CI engine with an aluminum high-rise intake manifold and 715 CFM Holley 4-barrel carburetor, Borg-Warner close-ratio 4-speed, Detroit Locker rear end, high-capacity fuel tank with quick-release filler, heavy-duty front disc and rear drum brakes, Koni shock absorbers, heavy-duty oil cooler and radiator, 15×7 American Racing wheels and more. Shelby, which had dissolved its factory racing effort at the end of 1965, sold the cars as Ford Mustangs to private customers.

This 1966 Ford Mustang Group II A/Sedan racer is number 12 of 16 built by Shelby American to compete in the SCCA Group II amateur racing series created in concert with the professional Trans-Am series. Invoiced August 24, 1966 to Turner Ford in Wichita, Kansas, this car was purchased by John McComb. 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 Ken Miles death in August 1966 while testing a Ford GT40 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. In 1966 this was with the help of this very car, that Ford would go on to claim the overall title. It also appeared on the December 1966 cover of Sports Car Graphic Magazine. It was purchased by Keith Thomas in June of 1967, who finished second in the 1967 SCCA A/Sedan Midwest Region behind McComb. The following year it set the A/Sedan lap record at the Lake Afton SCCA National.

It eventually disappeared for 28 years until it was discovered in a Texas garage.

It was then brought to Legendary Motorcar where it received a no-expense-spared rotisserie restoration. The car was carefully disassembled, stripped to bare metal, and refinished in its factory Wimbledon White with Lemans Blue stripes. The goal was to restore back to its period-correct racing glory, while also being able to be shown at any major Concours. The result is stunning with attention to detail to reproduce the factory markings, correct numbering, and paint methods. The car is also signed by the man himself Carroll Shelby as well as John McComb, Chuck Cantwell, and Terry Doty.