Part I in a three-part series...
...a fascinating trilogy about '66 Shelby G.T. 350 #6S336, written and photographed by current owner Tim Kilinski of Smithfield, Virginia:
John has detailed here in a previous blog some of the history of 6S336, his 1st G.T. 350. He had been looking for me for a while. I have owned the car since SAAC4,1979. I saw John's mention of 6S336 in Mustang Monthly and contacted him.
We discussed the car on the phone and he filled me in on some of the things he had done to the G.T. 350 before he sold it. It was quite a thrill to compare notes and realize that the two of us had owned this car all but around two years of its near 50 years. It was sold in December of 1965 at Mel Burns Ford in Long Beach. John had bought the car in Pennsylvania and it had not been back to California since '66 or '67. I had gone to the 50th Cobra reunion at the Monterey historics in 2012 and decided if they did one for the G.T. 350 I would bring 6S336 out for it. I had some knee issues to work through and I figured I'd retire to give me the time needed. So my plan was to work hard on physical therapy for my knee, retire at the end of May, and work on 6S336 to get it ready to make the trip. Included in the plan was going through the Shelby and also adding a 5-speed. So I told John about my plan and that maybe I'd be able to stop by when I was out in California. We agreed that I'd try to do that either before or after the historics.
I readied myself & the Shelby for an August 1st departure. I was going to have to go it alone and had many concerns. The weather seemed to be constantly in the news with record high temps and storms. I wouldn't have help along the way; only had a good friend in Oklahoma that I could depend on if I had trouble.
Des Arc, Arkansas
Even though I wanted to take a northern route to try to avoid the heat, I decided I'd go the southern route. The Shelby is mostly stock, no power anything. No cruise control, A/C, not even a radio. I installed a Pertronix electronic ignition and a T5 5 speed transmission. I took a trunk load of parts & tools with me also. It's not a car that most people ever drove cross-country but it actually drove great and was comfortable to me. I've always loved this car and have never trailered it anywhere unless it wasn't running. So other than it being hot everything went smoothly.
I got to my friend’s Sunday night traveling around 1,300 miles. I spent a day at my friend’s checking over the Shelby, catching up on our families and giving rides.
Everything was going well and I was ahead of schedule; my wife Leslie was flying into San Francisco on the 10th. We decided I should continue on and try to see John before heading north. Tuesday, I traveled to Gallup, NM before stopping for the night.
Wednesday I planned to head into California and try to stop near John's so we could meet up on Thursday. It was my mistake to travel through the desert on a 120-degree day with the Shelby. It was hot and myself and 6S336 were feeling it. I stopped in Needles and checked over the Shelby, I'd pushed some coolant into the overflow but not bad.
Near Gallup, New Mexico
Near the Grand Canyon
Dust devils somewhere in the desert...
70 MPH selfie!
So we continued on and called John when we were in Victorville. He was pleased that I was already so close and we worked on the phone to try to find a place to stay for the night. Then I'd come over to John's house on Thursday around noon to miss the worst of the LA traffic.
Between John & Leslie we were able to find a place in Ontario that worked well. I would stop by the NHRA museum in the morning and then continue to John's.
6S336 was again roaming the streets of southern California! Back to its roots and getting a lot of attention from the other drivers. I even met up with a prominent Russian motorcycle builder at the NHRA museum. It was exciting to think that both the Shelby and I were going to meet John and he was going to be reunited with 6S336 after all these years.
We are alike in so many ways, there is just something about these cars we connect with. So many of our lifelong memories are directly connected to these cars. John was waiting when I pulled up his driveway, said he could hear me coming!
With 6S2060 and the Daytona Coupe looking out of the garage, 6S336 was indeed at home. And even though I've owned it for a very long time it was a little like 6S336 was at home in John's driveway back in California.
We talked cars for a long time and took numerous pictures. Stories and experiences were traded—clearly we both have a thing for Shelbys. John walked all around 6S336 picking up things that were the same and that were changed. All kinds of memories with 336 were streaming back into his mind. He was a little surprised that the engine was still the one he had in the car and that it wasn't changed much. I had rebuilt it in 1983 and it has not had any work done since!
Then, John took me out in 6S2060 for a ride around the area and bought me lunch at one of his favorite stops in Lunada Bay, California.
...to be continued in Part II!