Modified Mustangs & Fords
Two Special Cars Crossing Auction America in Los Angeles
‘69 Shelby GT500 “King Cobra”, ‘55 Ford Thunderbird Doane Spencer Custom Convertible
Head over to Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel on August 1st-3rd to see some amazing cars pass through the auction block from American Auction. There are cars to fit every taste and budget and if you can’t physically make it out, exclusive live coverage will air on NBC Sports Network on August 2nd from 7-9pm and August 3rd from 1-5pm EDT. Check out two interesting cars that plan on crossing the block. Also, late night talk show host and car collector, Jay Leno, will be a guest commentator.
1969 Shelby GT500 “King Cobra”
The ’69 Shelby GT500 “King Cobra” about to cross the auction block was first purchased by Tom Mattingly and was meant to be used only for racing. It competed in the Super-Stock F-Automatic (SS/FA) class. This Shelby “King Cobra” saw limited street use before it was converted to an exclusive drag strip-only vehicle.
Mattingly drove the car while his mechanic, Jeff Yeager, fine-tuned it to perform at maximum potential. The car consistently saw 12-second times with a recorded best quarter-mile time of 11.68 seconds. The 428-cid V-8 was capable of some incredible power alone but experimenting with tires, wheels, suspension tuning, and carburetor settings made this a whole new beast. Named “King Cobra” by Mattingly, the Shelby competed primarily at Indianapolis Raceway near Clermont, Indiana.
Come 1973 and the car sold to Stan Sherman of Canoga Park, California. Sherman showed the car as “Poon Tang 1” for several years and the car was tied into his own business, Sherman’s Speed Shop. Sherman last registered the car back in 1979. After returning the car to street trim, Sherman put the Shelby up for sale in 1986. Two years later and the car had a new owner, Larry Gonzales of Redlands, California who traded his 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow for the car.
The Shelby spent the next seven months in storage where it was found by Mike Scott, owner of Corvette Corrections in Anaheim, California. Scott restored the Shelby back to its “King Cobra” days making adjustments to the car to improve its drivability. Ironically, Tom Mattingly had relocated to Southern California and lived only a short distance from his old “King Cobra.”
After professionally restoring the Shelby completely, it was made street legal and about as strong as it was during its drag racing days. Getting the “King Cobra” back to its original glory included vintage photographs, personal recollections, and assistance from folks who worked with Mattingly and the car during the good old days. Cars and Parts Magazine featured the car in the “Legend Series” in the September/October issue from 1990.
The 428-cid CJ V-8 Cobra Jet engine connects to a C6 automatic transmission and features a Traction-Lok differential. According to the Deluxe Marti Report, more options include Sport Deck rear seat, Visibility Group, AM radio, Deluxe Belts, tachometer, power steering and brakes with front discs.
More mods include an extra oil cooler, electric fuel pump, and a relocated heavy-duty battery now sitting in the trunk. Many years of searching led to the exact mag-style wheels that matched the ones used on the “King Cobra.”
This high-performance muscle car represents a rich history and an era of racing. This would be a welcome site at any vintage drag racing event, car show, or event.
1955 Ford Thunderbird Doane Spencer Custom Convertible
One special 1955 Ford Thunderbird belonged to the late Doane Spencer, technical editor of Rod and Custom Magazine. At first the car was a bit boring and just begging for modifications. Doane soon remedied that before running the car at Bonneville in 1961 and almost broke 150mph, taking on cars that were bred for such feats.
The body received the most modifications, with the nose resembling a 1957 and the rear taking on a finned-theme over smoothly-rounded fenders and a tucked-under valence. Valley Custom Shop from Burbank, started by Neil Emory and his brother-in-law Clayton Jensen back in 1948, performed the work on the old Thunderbird.
Back in the 1980s, Spencer decided to restore the Thunderbird making it a whole new car. Tucked inside the engine bay is a 302 engine modified with SVO and NASCAR parts connected to a five-speed manual transmission. The interior sports black leather seats with matching carpet and the original dashboard.
This ‘Bird still includes the original AM radio, heater, and power windows. A black hardtop has been fitted to the car with no soft-top available. The knock-off alloy wheels are wrapped with BF Goodrich blackwall tires. This is certainly one piece of history that would make an excellent addition to anyone’s collection.
For a frequently updated list of entries and full event details, visit www.auctionsamerica.com or call toll-free 888/990-3910 (or +1 310-842-3910 outside North America).