Gettin’ Our Kicks On Route 66: Summer 2016 Tour

Thanks to all our blog fans out there.  We’re up to 76,637 views as I write this.  That’s up from 72,349  20 days ago.

The news for today is the Original Venice Crew will be building another GT 350  this summer.  We’ve been invited to Monterey in August, and the Henry Ford in Dearborn would like us to stop by whenever we can get there.  Some other invites are in the wings, so now all we have to do is build it…!

A recap of last summer’s tour

The great folks at Galpin Ford in Van Nuys set us up with a new F-150 crew cab LIMITED (very hard to find) to tow the car and the enclosed trailer.  A new Expedition with every option served to haul the crew and gear.

Our first stop after leaving L.A. on Route 66 was Winslow Arizona, where we stood on a corner for the Eagle’s iconic tune.  Fun.

Next, we dropped in on Jack Hoare.  Jack was Shelby’s engine builder for all the competition cars.  In all the races they NEVER LOST AN ENGINE. We were there about 1 hour and in that time Jack drank a water glass of whiskey and smoked a small cigar. Not very healthy, but at 84, who’s going to argue?

When we got to Tulsa (isn’t that a country song?) we were special guests for the Shelby and Ford Nationals where we WON their vintage race in our first time out.

Shelby’s chief tester Vince La Violette  was our driver, and he loved the handling of the independent rear suspension (I.R.S.) car.  A great way to debut Klaus Arning’s computer designed suspension, after it was lost for over 50 years.

Our next stop on the Back to the Beginnings Tour (A.K.A. Jim & Ted’s Excellent Adventure) was the Shelby American Annual Convention, S.A.A.C 41, at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course near Columbus OH.  Great to see a lot of old friends and some great cars.

Heading north on Hwy. 44, past Indy to the Flat Rock MI plant where Mustangs are assembled, and the hospitality of Ralph Arning, Klaus’ son.  Great group.

L-R  Duane , Ralph Arning, Jim Marietta, Randy Richardson



Since The Henry Ford is nearby, we stopped there to show the car, and to stay at the historic Dearborn Inn.

Now for the long blast home across this great wide country.  The Fords didn’t miss a beat. One day on the return leg Jim & I towed 1,000 miles in about 12 hours (don’t do the math) and we still felt great.  We decided we’d just stop in to see our friends at Utah’s Miller Motorsports Park.  What a great time.  Bill Rhinehart and crew dropped everything to make us feel welcome.  Even made a movie about our visit.

We finally turned in the vehicles at Galpin Ford, after leaving the race car at a shop near San Francisco for some minor repairs.  Vince really pushed it to the limit to keep those rascally Bow Ties and Hemis in his rear view mirrors.

Well, it’s now time to build another one.  Hope to see you at a race or show this summer.  Watch this space for tour dates.


Duane Carling






My Favorite Shelby Story

One day, Charles Fox, author of “Shelby’s Folly and the Riverside-to-Riverside Madcap Midnight Mambo”  was driving the car seen below.
In 1967 some genius at Goodyear thought there was a market for a whitewall (!) tire that could be driven safely on the street at 200 MPH.  Shel was Goodyear’s west coast race tire distributor, so they asked him if he’d build a one off test vehicle, and offered to pay him to do it.
Shelby was building the 1967 Mustang based GT 350 with the 289 small block, and the GT 500 with the 428 big block at the time.  The 427 race engine used in NASCAR and the LeMans winning GT 40 was available and bolted in.  With a little love it could make close to 500 HP.  Ol’ Shel hisself drove the car at Goodyear’s test track in Texas and it got close to 200 MPH.  Shel got to keep the car, and loaned it to the writer knowing he’d “test” it and write about it.
I once owned a supercharged 1967 GT350 that would clear 140 MPH.  One early morning I drove from Battle Mountain, Nevada, slowing for the town of Carlin, to Elko in 45 mins.   That’s 100 miles, a lot of it on 2 lanes. There were no speed limits outside of towns (wouldn’t wanna break no laws) and premium fuel was 30 cents a gallon.