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History Celebrated

Part II in a three-part series...

Unfortunately, time flew by and I had to leave John’s place in SoCal and continue up the coast. I took Route 1, Pacific Coast Highway (aka PCH), but thought I'd bypass Santa Monica since I'd been there often. An early G.T. 350 is not a great stop-and-go traffic car, and I hoped to get north of LA without getting stuck. I did get stuck in traffic on the 405 Freeway, but you have to take a little bad with the great when driving the G.T. 350. The rest of the drive up the PCH was spectacular; I can't think of anything better. Driving the Shelby north along the coast with perfect weather is amazing. I stopped to walk in the ocean, watch the seals, and help a lady in distress with an old MG she had just picked up from repairs. She had lost oil pressure because the fresh engine was leaking oil. I had oil and tightened up her valve cover, then followed her to the next town so she could get it checked out. She had owned the MG almost 40 years and just had the engine rebuilt.

By Saturday I had continued up along the PCH to Monterey and then went to Carmel Valley for dinner at the Baja Cantina. They have an excellent cruise there during the historics. I went up to Morgan Hill to spend the last three days before I had to pick up Leslie. Sunday I decided to go to Sonoma for the 30th Nor Cal Mini-Nats.

At Sonoma Raceway.

At Sonoma Raceway.

At Sonoma Raceway.

At Sonoma Raceway. It was a beautiful day and they were a little surprised to see an early G.T. 350 with Virginia plates pull in.

One of the drivers was looking at it closely because he saw the plates, I answered his questioning look with, "Yes I drove it from Virginia!". He sent me to see their newsletter author because “he's going to want a picture of that”. They took a couple of photos of me by the car and I told them I had driven it cross-country for the 50th G.T. 350 reunion at Monterey next week.

Hangin' with a friend...

In the Sonoma garage.

That's racin'!

A G.T. 350 at speed.

I relaxed Monday and then Tuesday drove up to SFO to pick up Leslie.

Now the vacation was really on! Leslie had us in a beautiful place overlooking the bay in Pacific Grove on Tuesday and Wednesday before moving to a cabin in Carmel Valley for the historics. 6S336 would have a garage for the next five days. On Wednesday I went to the track for the G.T. 350 photo shoot. It was amazing with all the G.T. 350s on the track.

Linin' up for The Reunion Photo.

Gettin' lined-up...

I spent the day talking with all the G.T. 350 racers in the pits. I was parked with the two original R-Model G.T. 350 racers in the pits. So Marty wanted me to move my car while he took some pictures to send to Rick Kopec. It (#336) didn't start! With over 3,000 miles with no problems, Marty (5R098) says, "Well if you are going to have a problem this would be a good place!". Then, looking over his shoulder he says, "I think we have anything you might need and the people to work on it!". I just gave 336 a rap on the starter solenoid and we were good to go. I had a new one in the trunk so I changed it that night. The photo shoot was time consuming but what a sight.

The Money Shot!

THE 50th G.T. 350 Reunion Photo

And all that time milling around talking to the other owners was great. I even ended up talking to a reporter from the Monterey Herald who was very interested in what I was doing. In Thursday’s story he gave me a few paragraphs which surprised me a bit. But then nobody seems to be driving their cars anymore. It is a shame because they are really great cars.

During the race weekend we took parade laps and enjoyed the action on the track. There were almost 40 ‘65/’66 G.T. 350s in the G.T. 350 race!!

That famous turn...

Workin' the Corkscrew...

Workin' the Corkscrew...

G.T. 350s at speed.

It's on!!

Bruce Kawaguchi "at work"...

Jim Schield workin' the wheel...

We had some friends from Virginia who flew in for the event and some were also going to SAAC40 at Pocono the next weekend. Since we were having such a good time I told them I may just drive to Pocono also: that would make it a “trifecta” of the big G.T. 350 events. I had been sending a blog to Rick Kopec (SAAC) and my family about my trip and one of my friends told Rick and they thought it sounded good.

Chased by G.T. 350s...and a few parade laps.

Bob Bondurant & Pete Brock

the Snake Pit.

Ran when parked...

The FIRST R-Model

Parading around the track.

The new Ford GT.

The 'old' Ford GT40.

So after Monterey, Leslie and I headed up to South Lake Tahoe through Ebbetts Pass, after leaving Pacific Grove.

It was spectacular cruising through the mountains in 336! When having dinner in Tahoe we decided that if we were going to try to go to SAAC40 then we had better get moving. So we went to Fernley, Nevada and then on Tuesday to Evanston, Wyoming. Wednesday, we made about 800 miles to Lincoln, Nebraska.

Ebbetts Pass Area

Over 'the hill'...

Somewhere in Nebraska...

WOD -- "Way Out Dere"

And on to SAAC 40 in Pocono, Pennsylvania! On Thursday, we traveled 900 miles to just east of Cleveland, so now we were only 322 miles from Pocono.We made Pocono around 1PM Friday and were pretty tired. 336 developed an oil leak on Tuesday but I tightened up the covers and slowed it down so we didn't need to stop. It also ran great once we got out of the mountains and we cruised along at 80~85 mph while getting no worse than 16mpg. Weather was great all the way and not so hot.

Signed by Chuck Cantwell!

We enjoyed the SAAC convention and Rick called me up onstage and presented me with one of Oscar Kovaleski's slot car sets from AutoWorld. Oscar is using them to try and get kids off their electronic games and playing with cars (like all us older kids did!). be continued in Part III!

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