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1966 Shelby G.T. 350 #336 – The Rest Of The Story

This isn't really "The Rest Of The Story", since there's still some untold elements about #336 that have yet to be told. That's because #336 seems to be MIA (missing in action). Since I sold the Shelby to Joseph Curreir in Philadelphia in 1979, he subsequently sold the Shelby to Wayne Conover of Hanover, Pennsylvania (this Conover fact is dubious), who sold the Shelby to Tim & Leslie Kilinski who at the time evidently lived in Mexico, New York. And it's Mexico, New York where the trail goes cold. However, as details continue to emerge, we'll keep ya posted!

In the meantime, here's "The Rest Of The Story", as I know it to be true... [and a link to Part I, if you haven't yet read it!]

We sort of left off at the purchase of #336 in 1967...

Well, in the meantime, in January or February of 1967, by brother Domenic and I were headed to visit with our Aunt Claire one evening. To our great surprise, we ‘find’ a real ’66 Shelby sitting forlornly in the rain on a used car lot on Ridge Avenue in Manayunk, Philadelphia – SFM6S336. No stripes, 8” black steel wheels, Firestone racing tires with big 'billboard' sidewall lettering, and a dealer-installed A/C system (that was a mystery all the way until I found the original owner in 2008 [living in San Diego], Gordon Seaward.

I paid $2,795 out the door for the Shelby which had accumulated 26,000 miles. At the time, I didn’t know the first owner (Seaward), and the Shelby, were both from Southern California!

I had the car about a week, went driving in the snow (like an idiot, still on the Firestone race tires!) and promptly hit an oncoming car (right fender to right fender) just a block away from home. No structural damage, no one hurt, very low speed, crumpled the fender (bummer #1!).

About a year later, in the damn snow again, heading down State Road to Route 1, couldn’t fully make the shallow left turn onto Route 1 and ran into a hard ice/snow bank in front of the Esso gas station and crumpled the front valance (bummer #2!). Again, no other damage. By the way, at the time, those Esso stations were giving away "tiger tails" for your gas tank door, to go enhance their brilliant marketing campaign: "Put A Tiger In Your Tank!". And gas was about 35 cents a gallon!

Yeah, I know it's a Chevy!

...but I digress...

Volunteered for the Army starting in September 1968, so I was gone for about six months, for basic and advanced training. Domenic, my brother, used the Shelby during that time, until I was assigned to a Nike-Hercules missile base.

In the late winter of 1969, I was stationed in Swedesboro, NJ at a Nike Hercules missile base for the next four years, and the Shelby was my daily driver during my tour. I can remember frequently taking the Chester Ferry across the Delaware River to get from home (Drexel Hill, PA) to the base in Swedesboro, NJ. Most of the time that was around midnight!

I frequently drove the G.T. 350 to Hershey, Pennsylvania for MHS Homecoming (Milton Hershey School) every year, and for the Hershey Hillclimb. On the way to Hershey, I always stopped at Twin Pines Auto to see their used muscle cars (they always had a few used Shelbys, Z28s, 442s, etc., on the lot). On one of those stops, he had a real 427 Cobra inside in the showroom. The proprietor threw me the keys for a test drive...which, of course scared and thrilled me simultaneously! He was asking $7,500 –I couldn’t afford it on military salary, so I had to pass. But what a ride!

Photo below is circa Pennsylvania at Ned & Kathleen's place in Catawissa, Pennsylvania. I worked side by side with Ned as a Nike-Hercules Missile Tracking Radar Operator for four years while in the Army.

Circa 1969

Also remembering a Homecoming or two in Hershey, Pennsylvania with Joe Ricci (an MHS classmate), once when he had a Triumph Spitfire (which he promptly spun around right in front of me driving in the Shelby!). Joe also had an AMC AMX. Joe couldn’t keep, let alone care for, any car! But a great friend, nonetheless.

At the Nike base, the Shelby was top dog. I befriended Earl Carter who had a ’69 Chevelle that he ‘converted’ into a self-made “SS350”. We had adjoining parking spaces labeled appropriately “G.T. 350” and "SS 350”. The base Captain called the Shelby “pure sex”!

One especially cold winter day on base the Shelby wouldn’t start. We even tried push-starting it with a one of those Pontiacs with a rubber-nosed (Endura) bumper…net result was a completely wiped (nylon) timing gear chain. Fixed that!

Sometime later, the engine dropped a valve at 66,000 miles while cruising at 60mph on the way back to Swedesboro from Pennsville on the Interstate (yes, I really was minding my own business!). Although I shut it down as soon as I heard the broken valve bouncing around inside the cylinder, this totaled one head and of course the engine block. So when you’re a half-broke Spec Four in the Army, you build an all-new motor in the barracks bunk area at the Nike base. I used a crane on the Missile Tracking Radar (MTR) tower (the MTR was my responisibility) to hoist the new engine into the engine bay, then used the same crane to hoist the car (by the front sway bar!) high enough to install the four-speed transmission from beneath the car. Somehow, four months later,the engine warped a valve…and I still don’t know for sure why. Fixed that at home in the Shelby Garage!

Around 1973, I purchased a 16’ catamaran, so naturally I needed to install a hitch on the Shelby to drag the boat around. I was very surprised to learn that the Shelby already had the correct holes drilled for the hitch. How convenient I thought, but didn’t know at the time why Ford would be so thoughtful! This dichotomy was later explained by Seaward!

Raced my Uncle Ray in a Toronado from the Maryland Eastern Shore, running flat out between 100~120mph while returning from a Chesapeake Bay sailing weekend. Crazy!

On another occasion, at 1AM, ran flat-out again (120mph+), from the beginning of the Atlantic City Expressway just over the bridge from Philadelphia to Atlantic City and back in less than one hour for entire round trip. The Expressway is roughly 44 miles long. More foolish craziness!

I married not long after being discharged from the Army, moved to Pine Hill, New Jersey and now was working at the all-new Goodyear Store at the Echelon Mall in Voorhees Township. There, on my own time, I lowered the front suspension, rebuilt the entire front-end suspension, and re-arched the rear springs, while adding fiberglass fenders from Maier Racing. I also built a really cool side-exit exhaust using Hooker Header Mufflers and 3” conduit: really loud and nasty! Stopped by a cop once who stated, while writing me a ticket, “That thing sounds badass, but it’s just way too really needs mufflers.” I told him, "It really HAS mufflers!" He wrote the ticket anyway!

The next photo of #336 is circa 1974 - W.T. Grant Auto Center, Westmont, New Jersey (old Polaroids just fall apart!)

Note the '67 hood (I had two!) and the Cibié Series 45 driving lights, with an advertised range of 5,000 feet! I called them "Retina Roasters". Not only did the Shelby disturb the peace and scare women and children, it also blinded oncoming night drivers who didn't want to switch down to low beams! The lights also helped to avoid deer (and police) on the Atlantic City Expressway at 120 MPH.

Pennsylvania Registration Cards - 1977 & 1978...

1979 SAAC Membership Card...

Began raising a family in 1975, and thus, couldn’t keep after the Shelby’s ‘needs’. So in 1979, and a total of 101,000 miles accumulated over 12 sensational years I had to let #336 go. I have told folks that it was the Shelby or my firstborn...the firstborn won out!

The Shelby went to a fellow by the name of Joe Curreir from Philadelphia, who, according SAAC's Shelby Registry, subsequently sold the Shelby to Wayne Conover of Hanover, Pennsylvania, who sold the Shelby to Tim & Leslie Kilinski, in Mexico, New York. And, at this point the trail of #336 unfortunately grows cold.

...nonetheless, this story will be continued as facts continue to surface. Stick around, there's (perhaps) more to come!

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