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drove their cars through the paddock

confusion and joined the conga line.

Instead of the forty cars that filled the

special vintage GT350 field, there

were almost sixty GT350s lined up to

be in the photo. One uninvited gate-

crasher was a black 1965 resto-mod

Mustang convertible. Its owner could

not be deterred by the owners of

GT350s near by and there was no

track official within shouting distance,

so the car was left where it was, in the

very back.

Two of the genuine R-Models in

attendance (5R002 and 5R535) made

it into the front row. The other two

were lost in the sea of white-and-blue-

striped cars and ended up at the very

back. Track officials were adamant

about not driving on the dirt on either

side of the track, so there was no way

they could be driven up to the front


The original R-Models were the

cars directly responsible for the cur-

rent level of excitement, adulation and

name recognition that allowed Ford to

create a special model, some fifty

years later, named after them. It only

made sense that special attention

would be paid to have all four compe-

tition cars up at the very front of the


It didn’t turn out that way, and the

situation seemed to spotlight the lack

of history that Ford’s junior PR men

had. Former R-Model owner and one

of the top early GT350 experts in the

country, Craig Conley, attempted to

patiently explain what was going

wrong and to educate these thirty-

something know-nothings about the

historical significance of the four R-

Models, 5R002 – the first factory com-

petition prototype, 5R103 – the former

1966 SCCA B/P National Champion,

5R098 – the Essex Wire race car which

has been almost continually vintage

raced since 1989 and 5R535 – one of

five cars raced in Peru in the late

1960s. Two of them were parked as far

back as they could be and still be in

the picture. They should have been up

in the front row, illustrating the direct

connection between the fifty years

that separated them from the newest

generation of GT350s.

As Conley explained all this to

them, he saw a brief spark of acknowl-

edgement in their eyes but it was

quickly extinguished as they realized

they had totally lost control of the sit-

uation and with the time constraints

they were under, there was no way it

could be corrected. The two R-Models

would have to stay where they were.

History had been stood on its head by

the basic incompetence of a pair of jun-

ior level drones. Once the picture was

taken and their mission was accom-


312 Fall 2015

Nature abhors a vacuum. No sooner were the pair of 2016 GT350Rs driven away when

the two tribute GT350R2s took their place for another rendition of the Tire Photo.

5R103, originally driven by Walt Hane; the car finished fourth in B/P in the 1965 ARRC

at Daytona and Hane qualified for the 1966 ARRC at Riverside where he finished 1st.

Today the car is owned by Ross Myers of Perkiomenville, Pennsylvania and is restored

to the way it was raced in 1966 at the SCCA national run-offs.