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Headliners Abound At Mecum’s Houston Auction

April 10-12 Collector Car Auction Set to Feature Several Vintage Greats

WALWORTH, Wis. – Mecum Auctions will amass a 1,000-car offering encompassing coveted collector cars from all genres at Houston’s Reliant Center this April 10-12. With outstanding headliners ranging from American and European racers, to Pre-War Classics and Corvettes, Mecum’s third annual event is certain to be more than memorable.

The Houston event will make its way into nearly 80 million homes with portions of all three days of the event broadcast on the NBC Sports Network. Select vehicles set to cross the block in Houston are detailed below; for a complete list of consignments visit Mecum’s website is updated daily with the most recent consignments including photos and descriptions of each vehicle. For more details on the Houston auction, to consign a vehicle or to register as a bidder, visit or call (262) 275-5050.

Mecum will present the MidAmerica vintage motorcycle auction immediately following the classic and collector car auction on Sunday, April 13, also at the Reliant Center. The motorcycle offering will include more than 200 vintage and collector bikes.

1964 Ford GT40 Prototype GT/104 (Lot S147.1)

One of the pioneering prototypes of the now-legendary GT40 juggernaut and one of the few that remains today, GT/104 is the first to receive the lightweight chassis and one of only two famously prepared and raced by Shelby American for the 1965 season. One of the first race cars of any kind to benefit from computerized missile aerodynamics technology and the budding field of telemetry, it was crucial to the development of the GT40 into World Championship form, proving the project’s potential at Le Mans, reaching the podium at Daytona and participating in Ford’s first year in international competition. Its development involved such famous names as Lunn, Wyer and Shelby; it was driven by the top stars of the era at the world’s most famous venues. As the first ever 1965 Shelby American-specification GT40, chassis GT/104 is widely regarded as the most original and correct prototype Shelby American team car and possesses what has been described as “one of the clearest provenances… of all GT40s.”

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Styling Car – The Bunkie Knudsen Corvette (Lot S119)

One of just four Corvettes ever produced with the factory custom side exhaust, the Bunkie Knudsen Styling Car was born September 1962 at the special request of Chevrolet Division General Manager Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen. Featuring a fuel-injected 327 CI V-8 engine and 4-speed transmission, the car was discovered again in the early ‘80s and subsequently restored by Werner Meier to its unique Crimson Firefrost metallic lacquer finish with full-length White stripe. This authentic factory special has participated in multiple Bloomington Gold Special Collections and was displayed at Meadowbrook in 1988 and Amelia Island in 2012.

1974 Porsche 911S Race Car (Lot S100)

Driven by Paul Newman and Bill Freeman in the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 19, 1977, this Porsche has a storied racing history. Accompanied by pictures and documentation of its numerous days on the track, the car has been restored by race-car experts to orange no. 2 livery and is fully prepped to hit the track or the concours.

1967 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe (Lot S128)

Inducted into the Bloomington Gold Great Hall in June of 2012, this Corvette is quite likely one of the most well-preserved, lowest-mileage and exceptionally original big block 1967 Corvettes in existence. Accompanied by exquisitely unspoiled documentation, the odometer shows 2,996 miles and until its discovery in 2012 – hidden away in the garage of one Don McNamara for decades – this car had been seen by only 12 people. It had only ever been driven by lifelong-owner McNamara. Only two other people were ever known to have sat in the driver’s seat, and no one had ever occupied the passenger seat. It had never seen the rain or been washed with water. Numerous high-profile Corvette experts have thoroughly documented the car with over 4,000 detail photographs, which along with the car itself serve as in-depth educational resources for Corvette restorers.

1963 Shelby Cobra Dragonsnake CSX 2093 (Lot S93.1)

CSX 2093 was the 93rd Cobra built and is one of only eight cars modified with the Shelby-developed Dragonsnake package designed to maximize drag racing performance. Owned by Jim Costilow and piloted by drag racer Bruce Larson, later of USA-1 Funny Car fame, CSX 2093 dominated the NHRA’s A/SP, AA/SP, B/SP and C/SP classes in 1964. It set all new records in the 1965 season and won the NHRA Springnationals, Winternationals and U.S. Indy Nationals that year. The Costilow/Larson Cobra went on to win the 1966 Springnationals and U.S. Nationals. It also chalked up class wins at the 1967 Springnationals, Winternationals, U.S. Indy Nationals, and finished out the season with the World Points Championship. It continued to set records in 1968. All told, CSX 2093 held national titles in four separate classes. The Costilow/Larson Dragonsnake has been authenticated and certified by the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) as a true and correct original car and has also won that organization’s Senior Award and Race Car Certification badges. It has undergone an accurate and show-quality restoration by Ziegler Coach of Los Angeles, Calif., and is presented exactly as it competed. Offered with full documentation of its NHRA national records, this is not only the most famous and successful of the eight Dragonsnake-equipped Shelbys; it is in fact the winningest competition Cobra in history.

1910 Locomobile Model 40 Type I Demi Tonneau (Lot S159.1)

The Mecum auction in Houston provides an exemplary platform for offering pre-war classics with examples from this category laying claim to top auction results in the last two years. This 1910 Locomobile Model 40 is one of the finest of its time. Recipient of several awards including First in Class at the 2010 Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance and Second in Class at the 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, chassis no. 2376 features a 40 HP 4-cylinder engine. The Model 40 Type I was the biggest and fastest vehicle that Locomobile produced during the early 1900s and was considered to be one of the most elegant automobiles available in the U.S. This four-passenger Demi Tonneau presents with freshly polished brass trim and brightwork, shining as the true consummate classic that it is.

About Mecum Auctions

Nobody sells more than Mecum. Nobody. The Mecum Auction Company is the world leader of collector car and Road Art sales, hosting auctions throughout the United States. The company has been specializing in the sale of collector cars for 26 years, now offering more than 15,000 vehicles per year and averaging more than one auction each month. Established by President Dana Mecum in 1988, Mecum Auctions remains a family-run company headquartered in Walworth, Wis. For further information, visit or call (262) 275-5050. Follow along with Mecum’s social media news and join us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.


Mecum Houston Auction
The Reliant Center
One Reliant Park
Houston, TX 77054
April 10-12, 2014


$20 per person per day, children 12 and younger receive complimentary admission


Gates open daily at 8 a.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday


Vehicles start at 10 a.m. each day with Road Art 30 minutes prior

TV Schedule:

April 10, 3:30-6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
April 11 3:30-6 p.m. and 9:30-11:30 p.m.
April 12 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

(All Times Central)

Source: Mecum Auctions

Auctions America Lifts Gavel on World Famous Littlefield Military Collection

March 2nd, 2014 • By: Auto News Log Auction News, Press Release

· Auctions America offers the historic Littlefield Collection, July 11 – 12 in Portola Valley, California

· The offering represents one of the world’s largest and most historically significant private collections of military vehicles

· Unprecedented sale expected to attract global audience as more than 200 lots are offered without reserve, including historic and important military vehicles, parts and accessories

· Event information and frequently updated lot list available online at

AUBURN, Indiana – Auctions America is proud to announce that it has been selected by the Collings Foundation to present one of the largest and most diverse sales of historic armored military vehicles and accessories ever staged; the world famous Littlefield Collection. Scheduled July 11 – 12 in Portola Valley, California, the historic armor sale will lift the gavel on more than 200 lots, including 108 vehicles from World War I through to the Gulf War along with a full day of specialty parts and accessories.

Celebrated as one of the world’s largest private collections of armored vehicles, the Littlefield Collection represents more than 30 years of careful and dedicated acquisition by the late Jacques Littlefield. Mr. Littlefield also founded California’s Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, a museum dedicated to the preservation of military vehicles to showcase technological advancements on the battlefield during the last century. Following his passing, the Jacques M. Littlefield Collection was acquired by the Collings Foundation, who will integrate some 80 of Littlefield’s important vehicles and artifacts into its own existing collection of military vehicles and aircraft. This enlarged collection will be housed in a new 64,000 square foot facility on the grounds of the Collings Foundation complex in Stow, Massachusetts, and will honor our nation’s veterans as well as provide a priceless learning and heritage resource for people of all ages. Auctions America will offer the public a unique opportunity to purchase the remaining vehicles and parts from the Littlefield Collection during its upcoming July sale. All lots will be offered without reserve, with hammer proceeds benefitting the new Collings Foundation facility.

“The Littlefield Collection boasts an impressive range of vehicles and represents points in history that appeal to a global audience beyond traditional military collectors,” says Ian Kelleher, Specialist, Auctions America. “The majority of the collection remains drivable and usable and can be easily repurposed for private use. We’re honored to have been entrusted with such a significant piece of history for public sale”.

The diverse collection includes military technology from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan, originating from as many as 15 countries around the world. Leading the vehicle offering is a thoroughly restored and fully drivable M37 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage (USA), built in October 1945 by American Car & Foundry and used as a training vehicle at Fort Knox until the mid-1950’s, after which time it was sent to Sioux City, IA for display. One of just 150 vehicles produced, the model saw heavy service with U.S. Army field artillery units in the Korean War. Additional highlights include a nearly 42 ton SCUD A Missile Launcher (USSR), a model which entered into service in 1956 as part of the Soviet strategic missile forces and was transferred to the regular forces in 1959, along with a restored DUKW Amphibious Personnel Carrier (USA), designed in 1942 and used to transport equipment from ships to the beach and beyond. The DUKW was based on GMC’s G-508 series of trucks, with many still in use today by private companies for river and harbor tours. In addition to the vehicles, the sale will also lift the gavel on a wide array of specialty military parts and accessories.

“There is no question that Jacques Littlefield created the world’s leading private collection of military technology,” says Rob Collings, Executive Director, The Collings Foundation. “A truly unprecedented event, the upcoming sale offers a very special opportunity for collectors from around the world to sustain Jacques’ legacy and help preserve, protect and present these vehicles that defined the world we live in. We’re excited to be working with Auctions America for this unique sale and look forward to welcoming collectors to the auction in July, and later to view our enhanced collection in Stow, Massachusetts, which we plan to have on display within 18 months”.

The Littlefield Collection sale will be held onsite at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, 499 Old Spanish Trail, Portola Valley, California, July 11 – 12. All lots will be available for preview before the sale on July 9 – 10. Further information along with a frequently updated list of consignments is available at

About Auctions America

Formed in July 2010, Auctions America specializes in the sale of American classics, European sports cars, Detroit muscle, hot rods, and customs. Headquartered at the historic Auburn Auction Park in Indiana, Auctions America boasts an expert team of full-time vehicle specialists who offer over 140 years of combined experience buying, selling, racing, and restoring collector vehicles, making them uniquely qualified to advise on all aspects of the hobby. To learn more about Auctions America, please visit, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @auctionsamerica.

About The Collings Foundation

The Collings Foundation is one of the most unique non-profit, Educational Foundations in the United States. Founded in 1979, the purpose of the Foundation is to organize and support “living history” events that enable Americans to learn more about their heritage through direct participation.

The Collings Foundation operates over 27 very rare historical aircraft and is the stewards of over 100 rare vintage machines, major artifacts and classic automobiles. Since 1989, a major focus of the Foundation has been the national “Wings of Freedom Tour.” This national tour showcases two WWII bombers and a fighter aircraft. Celebrating 25 years, the “Wings of Freedom Tour” continues to honor the sacrifices made by our WWII veterans in the most memorable way possible – touring through and flying in these legendary aircraft. It is estimated that over 3.5 million people see and experience these fully restored historic aircraft annually.

The Stow facilities include a world-class aviation museum and a vintage automobile and racecar collection. As of 2013, the Foundation has taken in Jacques Littlefield’s Military Vehicle Collection. This is the largest privately held collection of historic tanks and military artifacts in the world. A new 64,000 square foot facility is being built to showcase these tanks on the Stow grounds. Completion of the facility is expected by 2015. For more information on the Collings Foundation, please visit

Photo Information: M37 105mm Howitzer Motor Carriage (© 2014 Courtesy of Auctions America).

Media Contact:

Meghan McGrail
+1 519 437 3061

Source: Auctions America

New 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker On its Way to Dealerships

March 2nd, 2014 • By: Auto News Log Muscle Car Spotlight, Press Release

- Dodge received 2,000 dealer orders – its entire 2014 model year production run – for the Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker in just four days

– With its functional “Shaker” hood and unmistakable Dodge muscle-car cues, the new 2014 Challenger R/T Shaker marks the return of one of the brand’s most coveted performance options

– Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker features the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine with unique hood and intake design combined with a functional exposed-element cold-air intake system

– New Dodge Challenger R/T Shakers arriving at Dodge dealerships now

Auburn Hills, Mich. - The new Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker models with their functional throwback “Shaker” hoods are in hot demand as they start making their way to Dodge dealers across the country.

After it was initially introduced at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas in November, Dodge dealers ordered the entire production run for the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker in just four days. Dodge received 2,000 dealer orders from January 7 through January 10 after orders were opened.

“Based on this strong initial demand, it’s clear that our customers are excited about the return of the legendary Shaker model, which was engineered for enthusiasts who asked for even more attitude and a dose of muscle car heritage,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO of the Dodge Brand. “The 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine with the unique hood and intake design makes this performance car an instant classic – much like the original 1970 Challenger R/T with the Shaker hood.”

The new 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Shakers are shipping out of the Brampton (Ont.) Assembly Plant and starting to arrive at Dodge dealerships now. Pricing for this very well-equipped model starts at just $36,995 U.S. MSRP ($37,495 with the custom one-of-a-kind hood-to-tail stripes), representing a walk of only $2,500 from the Challenger R/T Classic for all of the unique features of this limited production model.

The new Challenger R/T Shaker is available in Billet Silver Metallic, Bright White, Pitch Black, Plum Crazy, TorRed and vibrant Header Orange.

2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker

Injecting a fresh shot of heritage into the Challenger lineup, the new 2014 R/T Shaker model features unique throwback muscle-car cues that link directly to Dodge brand’s performance legacy.

As the model name suggests, the legendary “cold-air grabbing” Shaker not only looks good with its Satin Black center-mounted hood scoop, snorkeling up from the engine compartment, it also directs cooler air back into the HEMI® V-8 engine. And like the original 1970 Challenger R/T with the Shaker hood, the new 2014 model continues the Dodge tradition of an engine-mounted hood scoop that “shakes” with the powertrain’s movement.

Designed for muscle-car buffs who can’t help but tinker with their toys, the Challenger R/T Shaker features the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine producing over 400 lb.-ft. of torque, with a functional Shaker hood with Mopar cold-air intake, conical air filter and optimized air box for improved airflow and performance. Lift the hood and enthusiasts will also be treated to an under-hood “Shaker” badge – reminiscent of the 1970s original.

In addition to its driver-selectable sport-mode powertrain calibration, performance-tuned suspension, four-wheel disc brakes and steering calibration, the Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker includes the Super Track Pak, with high-performance steering gear, brake linings and monotube shock absorbers, P245/45R20 Goodyear Eagle F1 Super Car three-season tires and three-mode electronic stability control (ESC) with “full off” mode. All-season performance tires are available at no extra charge.

The new engine setup provides a new factory-designed foundation to maximize three all-new Dodge “Scat Packages,” enabling customers to unleash even more power from their Challenger R/T Shaker.

For a dynamically striking look, a new “Shaker style” Satin Black hood, roof and deck-lid stripe graphics visually translate this Dodge Challenger model’s name, while a Satin Black deck-lid spoiler provides the added downforce needed for 155 mph max-speed runs. For contrast, a body-color grille surround and Gloss Black fuel-filler door are added, while all-new 20 x 8-inch polished-face aluminum wheels with black pockets and a satin “matte” clear coat feature a sculptured five-spoke design. For added detail, “Shaker” badges flank both sides of the hood scoop, while “HEMI” fender badges and a new “Challenger” grille badge in classic script completes the iconic exterior.

On the inside, the new Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker features a unique three-spoke flat-bottom leather-wrapped performance steering wheel with black accent finish and integrated vehicle controls. Corresponding with the steering wheel is a unique “K-Black” painted instrument panel and center-console bezel for a discrete look. Matching the “Shaker” numbered dash plaque are door bolsters with graduated accent stitching that mirrors the logo’s artistic reverberation. High-performance front seats with aggressive bolsters in premium Nappa Leather in Dark Slate Gray with Sepia accent stitching or Radar Red with Radar Red stitching, feature the “Shaker” logo embroidered on the seat back, along with unique graduated horizontal plow-throughs. For additional detail, the center console armrest is also leather wrapped and finished with accent thread. The aluminum pistol-grip shifter mated to a track-proven Tremec six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a black leather-wrapped shift-knob and die-cast paddle shifters on the back of the steering wheel are available for those who opt for the performance-tuned five-speed automatic.

Adding to the customized interior environment, with one press of the start button, the Shaker logo appears on the available 6.5-inch Uconnect touchscreen.

About Dodge Brand

The Dodge brand is tearing into its centennial year with a keen eye focused on the future and a desire to create vehicles customers can’t wait to drive and are proud to park in their driveways. With 100 years of history, Dodge is building on the technological advancements of the ‘30s and ‘40s, design evolution of the ‘50s, the racing heritage of the ‘60s, the horsepower of the ‘70s, the efficiency of the ‘80s and unbelievable styling of the ‘90s as it paves the road to its future. New for 2014, the Dodge Durango “is kind of a big deal,” with a new eight-speed transmission that delivers up to 25 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway, a new 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment center and best-in-class power, towing, and driving range, in addition to its class-exclusive technology. The new Durango joins a stable that includes the new 2014 Dodge Dart with its breakthrough 2.4-liter 184-horsepower Tigershark engine, and the celebrated 2014 Dodge Avenger. Both earned 2014 Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Completing the 2014 Dodge lineup are the Challenger, Charger, Journey and 30th Anniversary Grand Caravan. The Dodge lineup features five vehicles with best-in-class power, seven vehicles that deliver 25 mpg or higher, three vehicles that deliver 31 mpg or higher and three vehicles that offer seating for seven.

About Chrysler Group LLC

Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 to establish a global strategic alliance with Fiat S.p.A., produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, SRT, FIAT and Mopar vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler Group’s culture of innovation, first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925, and Fiat’s complementary technology that dates back to its founding in 1899.

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group’s product lineup features some of the world’s most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300 and Town & Country, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge Dart, Ram 1500, SRT Viper and Fiat 500. Fiat contributes world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-size cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles.

Source: Dodge

Performance Traction Helps 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Soar on Track

March 2nd, 2014 • By: Auto News Log Muscle Car Spotlight, Press Release

Algorithm helps maintain momentum for faster lap times

DETROIT – Engineers call it “flying car” logic. On the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, the Performance Traction Management system delivers faster lap times on an undulating race track by helping maintain the car’s full power and momentum even if the tires briefly lose contact with the ground, in certain track conditions.

Created for track use only, the “flying car” logic woven into the Z/28’s standard PTM system integrates the chassis mode selection, Traction Control and Active Handling Systems. Each is tuned specifically in the Z/28 for optimal track performance and consistency, and is activated by the driver pressing a button in the center console.

Without “fly car logic”, the PTM would interpret the force reduction on the tires as a loss of traction and reduce torque to restore it. Such an intervention would likely slow the car and reduce momentum.

“PTM uses torque, lateral acceleration and rear-axle wheel slip to define the amount of traction control required, but when the car clears a rise on the track, it normally wants to decrease torque to increase traction,” said Bill Wise, Camaro Z/28 vehicle performance engineer.

“The unique logic in the system uses the ride-height sensors to determine the reduction in force on the tires that’s unique to track driving and allows the car to continue with uninterrupted momentum and, ultimately, a better lap time.”

Technologies such as PTM and the track-oriented logic helped the Camaro Z/28 log a lap on Germany’s legendary Nürburgring road course that was four seconds faster than the Camaro ZL1, and beat published times for the Porsche 911 Carrera S and the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640. The Flugplatz section of the Nürburgring has a rise that engaged the logic during the Z/28’s 7:37 lap time.

Additionally, PTM enables the driver to press the accelerator pedal to wide open at the exit of the corner and manages acceleration based on the given vehicle dynamics. Five performance levels, or modes, are available to accommodate a variety of driving conditions.

The track-oriented “flying car” logic is available in all PTM modes, but it is most effective in Mode 5, calibrated for the fastest lap times. The Z/28 represents the first non-Magnetic Ride Control application of PTM, pioneered on the Corvette ZR1 and incorporated in the Camaro ZL1. Engineers further refined it for the car on the road course at GM’s Milford Proving Ground in Michigan and on Virginia International Raceway and Road Atlanta.

Like the Flugplatz, a section of the Milford course proved particularly effective in calibrating the logic. It features a hill sandwiched between turns Pahrump 1 and 2, named for and based on a pair of challenging corners on the 3.4-mile-long road course at Spring Valley Motorsports Ranch, in Pahrump, Nev.

“The hill between Pahrumps 1 and 2 is ideal for testing the feature,” said Wise. “The car noticeably lifts as it clears the top of the rise. Without the logic built into PTM, the torque reduction would unnecessarily slow the car. With it, the car receives full torque over the rise, which helps reduce the lap time – and it is part of the reason why PTM Mode 5 can be as good, or better, than a driver’s best effort, on certain track conditions.”

Complementing PTM, the Z/28’s reflexes over rises and grip around corners are competition-derived spool-valve dampers, specific suspension bushings, coil springs and stabilizer bars, a unique zero-preload limited-slip differential and 19-inch wheels wrapped with Pirelli PZero Trofeo R motorsport-compound tires.

“The new Camaro Z/28 was bred on and for the track,” said Wise. “From the hardware bolted to the chassis to the software such as the “flying car” logic, every element built into it was designed to help deliver faster lap times, with consistency, control and dependability.”

Ready for the track

The 2014 Camaro Z/28 is the fastest Camaro ever on a track, with improved speed coming from three areas:

– Increased grip: The Z/28 is capable of 1.08 g in cornering acceleration, due to comprehensive chassis revisions

– Increased stopping power: The Z/28 features Brembo carbon ceramic brakes capable of 1.5 g in deceleration, and consistent brake feel, lap after lap

– Reduced curb weight: The naturally aspirated Z/28 is 55 pounds lighter than the Camaro SS 1LE, with changes ranging from lightweight wheels to thinner rear-window glass.

Power comes from the 7.0L LS7 engine, rated at an SAE-certified 505 horsepower (376 kW) and 481 lb-ft of torque (652 Nm). A close-ratio six-speed manual transmission is the only transmission offered and power is distributed to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential featuring a helical gear set, rather than traditional clutch packs, for optimal traction.

About Chevrolet

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.9 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

Source: Chevrolet

Stephen Cox: The Great Stolen Engine Caper – Tracking Down Shelby’s Missing V8

The Stephen Cox Blog presented by McGunegill Engine Performance: The Great Stolen Engine Caper – Tracking Down Shelby’s Missing V8

A good Shelby-built 289 engine was a coveted item in the mid 1960’s. Many were stolen out of the legendary Hertz Shelby “Rent-a-racers.” They left the rental lot on Friday with a High Performance 270-horsepower 289-cubic-inch V8 and returned on Monday with a garden variety 289 that was appeared nearly identical.

Rumors abound of Shelby engines that were ordered for competition only to end up on the black market, or standard 289’s that were sold as Shelby racing engines.

But not all of the stories are true.

In late 1968, Kansas club racer Brad Brooker was judiciously budgeting his resources and saving his best equipment for the SCCA Runoffs at Riverside International Raceway.

Brooker was faced with a tough decision – should he try to win the SCCA Nationals at Lake Garnett on July 28, or should he stay home and save his only Shelby engine for the Runoffs in August? Tough choice. His Shelby Mustang GT350 was a front-running car and would have a real chance to win the race held just a few miles from his hometown. Ultimately, Brooker decided to stay home.

But the political climate changed dramatically just days later when famed Chevy builder Don Yenko decided to enter a trio of Corvettes at the Lake Garnett event, which, ironically, had just named Carroll Shelby its honorary grand marshal. It was Shelby who would be presenting the trophies in victory lane.

Yenko took several verbal shots at Shelby, asking if he was going to enjoy awarding the Lake Garnett race trophy to a Chevy driver. To Carroll Shelby, that was more than sarcasm. It was an act of war.

So Shelby was pleased when Brooker changed his mind and entered his GT 350 Mustang at Lake Garnett, and even more pleased when he won the race over Yenko’s Corvettes. Eternally relieved that he didn’t have to suffer the humiliation of awarding the winner’s trophy to a Chevy team, Shelby approached Brooker after the race to ask if there was anything he could do to show his appreciation.

Yes, as a matter of fact, there was. Brooker explained that he had just used up his only good engine and had nothing available for the Runoffs. Shelby told him not to worry, he would have a new engine sent out immediately.

Two days later a big crate arrived at the Wichita air depot. Brooker called his mechanic, Charlie Wright, and told him to take his truck to the airport and pick it up. Wright looked inside and a dyno sheet attached to the engine. It showed an unbelievable rating of 442 horsepower. It was like a gift from heaven.

On Sunday morning, August 4, 1968, Brooker’s team was at Riverside International Raceway preparing for the long-anticipated SCCA Runoffs when John Dunn, chief engine builder at Shelby American, stopped by their pit.

For some odd reason, Dunn didn’t return the team’s greetings. In fact, he was downright rude. He looked under the hood of their GT350, and then angrily stormed away without saying a word.

Strange. Very strange.

Things got even weirder minutes later when Shelby’s Director of Competition, John Timanus, arrived at Brooker’s pit. His mood was even worse. Timanus looked under the GT350’s hood and launched into a tirade, claiming that a smarter thief wouldn’t have brought a stolen engine to the Runoffs to begin with. Surely they knew that it was the first place they would look.

Brooker’s team was at first astonished, and then they busted out laughing.

Timanus was furious now. He sternly warned them that this is a serious matter and that John Dunn has already left for the local sheriff’s office to swear out a warrant for their arrest. This only caused them to laugh even more hysterically.

Brooker’s team had figured it out. In the aftermath of Brooker’s Lake Garnett victory, Shelby had apparently gone back to his shop, handpicked the finest 289-cubic-inch V8 available and shipped it straight to Wichita as a gift of gratitude to Brad Brooker. But he never bothered to tell John Dunn, his own Director of Competition.

Certain that the “stolen” engine would be found at the Runoffs, Dunn had traveled to Riverside to track down the missing motor. Timanus finally realized the mistake and hurried off to prevent Dunn from showing up with the police and making a complete fool of himself.

By day’s end, both Shelby executives had rediscovered their sense of humor and were enjoying a good laugh over it.

So yes, plenty of Shelby engines have been stolen, pilfered or pawned off over the years as something they weren’t… but Brad Brooker’s wasn’t one of them.

One day, all the great little stories from those incredible days of American road racing will be gone, along with those who lived them. Maybe we can preserve a few of them in writing before it’s too late. Many thanks to Charlie Wright, a mechanic on Brooker’s team, for his help preserving this one.

Stephen Cox
Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions
Co-host, Mecum Auto Auctions
#22 Acorn Cabinetry/Boschett Timepieces Chevy

Read Stephen’s book on the Can Am Champion L&M Porsche 917 – free online

Boschett Timepieces

McGunegill Engine Performance

Mecum Auctions

Source: Global Media/Sopwith Motorsports Television Productions