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Author Topic: Ken Miles would be 90 today  (Read 9121 times)
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Paul H
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« on: November 01, 2008, 03:41:09 AM »

If Ken Miles was still alive he would be 90 years old today.
 Although Ken Miles raced a long time ago, his racing exploits are just as relevent and interesting to me as if they were happening today.
 I never saw him race, i was born in 1966 the year he died. I envy people who watched him race or hung around the paddock whilst Miles was fettling under a bonnet.
 Imagine walking around the paddock witnessing the MG R2 (Flying Shingle) turn up on the back of a trailer.
Or fast forward to the 60`s when Ken Miles is offloading his Cobra to take out to practice.
How i wish i saw the `Fliptop` Cobra at Nassau blast  off into the lead albeit for a short while.
Ken Miles raced many different cars in the 50`s &60`s such as Porsche Spyders, the Troutman & Barnes spl,MG spls, Dolphin Formula Jnrs. The list goes on, but not only did he race and build spls he helped design track layouts in southern California. Tracks such as Bakersfield, Paramount Ranch and Pomona.
Living in the U.K. i don,t get the chance to see any of the cars he raced but some have visited these shores.
 I,ve been lucky to have seen the GT40MK11 P/1015,the Cobra `Fliptop` CSX2196 and Cobra CSX2431, all at Goodwood events, a real thrill.
Ken Miles helped develop the Gt40, Cobras, Shelby Mustangs and the Sunbeam Tiger, all legendary cars.
 Every motor racing enthusiast has favourite drivers from era and what i have described in this thread are all reasons why KM is a hero of mine.
 When i find an old magazine article or look at my Shelby books or even better find an old video clip or film of KM in action it gives me satisfaction.
  Heres to Ken Miles.
 
Paul

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CaptDave
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2008, 04:23:30 AM »

Well stated Paul.

CaptDave

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« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2009, 10:40:16 PM »

Ya know I dont know the details of his untimely death. I was born in 65 so I am simly to young to know much. I know it was a reacing accident in 66 but what track, what car and what happened has escaped me.. anyone?

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GT200 Pinto
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2009, 04:30:51 AM »

Let's all remember he DID win Le Mans in '66 - despite the Frog.... er FIA ruling.

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ctrclckws
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2009, 05:51:47 AM »

He died at Riverside, testing the J-2 prototype for the 1967 Le Mans race.

Read a story somewhere, maybe in the registry, that his reputation as a driver was so good, that no hint of the "pilot error" cause of crash was mentioned.

The J cars were redesigned and strengthened after the accident.


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car 26-JD
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« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2009, 06:09:23 AM »

Shelby American #42 the "COBRASATIONS" article on page 15 is a transcript of a radio interview with Ken Miles about a month before his death - I was reading last night.

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« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2009, 06:21:53 AM »



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markko67
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2009, 06:42:15 AM »

Shelby American # 35 has an interview with John Morton. He talks about Miles, how he (Morton) ended up being Miles co-driver in the first 427 Cobra at Sebring. If you've got a copy, give it a re-read. Great stuff.

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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2009, 08:43:14 AM »

He died at Riverside, testing the J-2 prototype for the 1967 Le Mans race.
The J cars were redesigned and strengthened after the accident.

The cars were orig built with the newest/latest aircraft technology of honeycomb - two thin sheets of aluminum glued to a honeycomb looking web of very thin aluminum between them. Very light and stiff. If I remember the tub was also glued together at the joints. There was probably a failure at a joint but the car was so destroyed no determination was ever arrived at. The MKIV had some of the honeycomb but they were also riveted.

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acman63
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« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2009, 09:19:13 AM »

We had a Ken Miles tribute a few years back at The Shelby American Collection annual party and invited Kens son Peter.  That was the year that vintage Cobra racer and all around good guy Tom Benjamin spearheaded getting a bronze bust of Miles made which turned out perfect. . Peter showed up on Saturday morning  and I had the pleasure of showing him around the Museum before the party started.    At that time we had almost all the cars he had driven on display.  2127  ,  2137,  2431 ,  1015,  5R002   etc etc .  We got about halfway through the tour and he stopped me cold and told me that he had no idea that anyone would have thought so much about his Dad . I told him that  without Ken Miles none of this would have happened.  When he got to the new Bronze bust  I could see the tears starting to come.  He looks very much like his Dad to the point of being eery.   He ended up putting all his Dads memerobalia that he had on display permanently.  Every time I walk past and see the original Team jacket I can still see him in my mind clear as day at Road America checking the dipstick on 2431 with grass at Thunder Valley. I still have the lap chart I made that day! Where did the time go?
www.shelbyamericancollection.org   if you want to check out the museum

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Paul H
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« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2009, 03:08:03 PM »

Nice comments guys, regarding the car Ken Miles crashed in, wasn,t it going to be driven in the can am series that year? before Le Mans. Imagine that eh! the Ford J car racing against Mclarens etc

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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2009, 03:19:05 PM »

Nice comments guys, regarding the car Ken Miles crashed in, wasn,t it going to be driven in the can am series that year? before Le Mans. Imagine that eh! the Ford J car racing against Mclarens etc

I think they had an open car built that the Agapou brothers ended up with - don't think it ever turned a wheel in a race. Where does the 429 Calliope motor fit into this story - injected Boss 429. After the Hawk's time but I seem to remember it was fitted to a GT chassis for Can-Am - guess I'll have to drag out the registry and do some reading tonight.

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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2009, 04:49:32 PM »

      Hi folks,
Nice tribute to an amazing person with incredible talent..I think for most of us he will be remembered as the first to win all 3 1966 endurance races Daytona-Sebring-Le Mans all in Ford powered cars.The tape of the 66 Le Mans race shows how easy it would have been to finish ahead of the other cars...Ken followed the orders given him,and had to settle for the result.He was doing some testing in J2 and many think the car had great potential...it was very different,and used an automatic transaxle-aircraft style assembly and honeycomb construction.The crash was devastating to everyone on that day in August.Most think that it had a driveline failure that caused the rear wheels to lock up,and with the speed of 170+ mph the car broke up when it left the track and ended up in pieces in the infield.A quick ending to a brilliant career.It is both nice and fitting that we have a dedicated place for remembering him,surrounded by many of the historical racecars he was involved in creating.Thanks everything Ken! R.I.P.
                                                                    Anthony

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Chris B
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« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2009, 04:53:05 PM »

Peter was our guest of honor last year at the LASAAC car show.  Super nice guy.

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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2009, 07:49:31 AM »

      Hi folks,
The tape of the 66 Le Mans race shows how easy it would have been to finish ahead of the other cars...Ken followed the orders given him,and had to settle for the result.

He DID finish ahead of the other cars - the frogs in their infinate wisdom said that the car that followed him across the line won because they were gridded farther back in the field and therefore traveled a few feet farther during the 24 hour period. I was always under the impression that one's race started when they passed the start/finish line. Seems the french have many starting lines and a common finish line. They were not aware until after the race that Miles had not been declared the winner.

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