Watch this rare footage of Ken Miles test-driving for Shelby American
The Petersen Automotive Museum has once again reached into its video archives to highlight some terrific vintage racing footage. This time it’s nearly an hour’s worth of automotive clips including testing by Shelby American hotshoe Ken Miles.
The video opens with a long intro shot of a mystery custom bubble car cruising along the coastline. After the car stops, the top slowly opens to reveal Lloyd Bridges. He narrates a series of clips of gear heads showing off their strange motor-powered contraptions, from a gas-powered skateboard to singer/actor Fabian racing his go-kart.
Unless you’re a fan of vintage slot car racing, you may want to just skip ahead to the 7:55 mark on the video. That’s when Ken Miles roars in, driving a 289 Cobra at Riverside Raceway. Miles, and his relationship with Carrol Shelby, was a big part of the film Ford v Ferrari, and Miles’ driving skill played a major role in Ford’s Le Mans dominance. One look at the footage and you can appreciate just how good a job Christian Bale did, although the casting choice was also pretty on-point.
Riding shotgun for Miles’ test laps is Jim Drury, famous for his television role in The Virginian. Jim tries to narrate over the screaming small-block, as Miles takes the Cobra past 155 mph.
The video also contains wheel-to-wheel sports car racing action from Riverside Raceway, and we’re pretty sure we spotted a Cheetah around the 10-minute mark—a rare sight indeed. There’re lots of off-track driving, as cars spin out and wrinkle their now-valuable sheet metal. Speaking of car spotting, it looks like a Porsche 904 getting dented up just after we saw the Cheetah. Ouch.
Keep watching and you’ll find George Barris customs, a Cobra running in a gymkhana, NHRA drag racing at the Pomona Winternationals, and footage from NASCAR and the Indy 500, too. There’s even footage of Craig Breedlove and Art Arfons running for the outright land speed record at Bonneville. If you’re an automotive enthusiast and a fan of nostalgia, there’s got to be something to catch your interest.