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Winter 2016 4


Ok, it’s a trick headline, used to

get you to read the text. Is that really

necessary? Probably not, but you can

only fit so many words in a headline.

“Not being restored” is accurate be-

cause the car is actually undergoing

“conservation.” J-5 is owned by The

Henry Ford. Following its 1967 victory

at LeMans, the car was returned to

Shelby American. The engine was re-

moved and dyno-tested where it was

observed to have actually gained 5


It was thought that the car then

received a replacement 427 but Ford’s

legendary engine engineer, Mose Now-

land, who was responsible for the Le-

Mans engines, identified it as the

original engine that was in the car

when it won the 24-Hours. And he

should know. Nowland, now 88 years-

old, is still the sharpest tack in the

box. He is a virtual encyclopedia of en-

gine details and part numbers. He re-

tired from Ford in 2005 after a mere

57 years with the company. He contin-

ues to be a living legend.

An on-line article about J-5’s “con-

servation” was posted October 27,

2015 on

Hemmings’ Daily Blog

, writ-

ten by Kurt Ernst. The


blog gets our attention every day and

often carries something like this, that

points us towards an interesting topic

we can weave into this magazine. Con-

servation, as opposed to restoration, is

what you do to a survivor car. You can

restore a car over and over again, but

it is only original once.

Following the post-LeMans in-

spection at Shelby American in 1967,

the car was displayed at the Auto

Expo International in Los Angeles in

September. After that it was returned

to Dearborn because Ford recognized

it as an important artifact of their rac-

ing history. The car was placed in stor-

age before being donated to The Henry

Ford in 1972. It was put on display in

the museum, on and off, usually

parked next to the original Mustang I.

It was also occasionally displayed at

concours and vintage events that the

museum felt important enough to war-

rant its appearance.

Mose Nowland [


] in the fall of 2014, in-

specting the rebuild of a 255 CID GT40

motor. He appears used to working with

kibitizers looking over his shoulder.

The old girl cleans up pretty good. J-5 was

brought to the Monterey vintage race

weekend in 2003 when Ford was the Hon-

ored Marque for its 100th anniversary.

Once the car was spiffed up Ford was

more easily persuaded to send it out for

displays. Here it is at Amelia Island in

Florida with Rob Walton’s CSX2286 in the

background. No matter what other cars

surrounded it, J-5 was always the star.

On display at the Henry Ford, J-5 looked

great from ten feet away. However, polish

and wax weren’t enough to cover some of

the normal storage wear and tear rough

edges. They were not convinced a total

restoration was the answer.