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Topics - doublemyv

Hi everyone,  a friend has offered a transmission for sale, and says it came from an original Cobra.  I have my doubts, but I'm no Cobra expert, so I thought I would ask the forum members.   I'm attaching four photos in this first post of the transmission and casting numbers, and three photos of casting numbers and the Hurst shifter that comes with it in the next post.   Any help identifying this is greatly appreciated.  Thanks, Mark
Hi Guys,   
   I have been rejuvenated by the outpouring of support from all of you that I met at SAAC 43.  The overall event was amazing, and the Denbeste tour, the Cobra Experience museum, and a ride in the Ford Performance GT 350R around Sonoma Raceway made for an unforgettable experience.   
   So now I'm home, and it's time to get re-started on the restoration of # 444.  It's been a couple of years since you have heard from me about this car, and without going into a lot of detail I feel that an explanation is overdue.  I started on this car in the fall of 2010, and in 2012 my beautiful bride of many years was diagnosed with cancer.  I lost her in 2017, and as you can imagine, the last couple of years have been a blur.
   The restoration project stalled in 2016 when she was very ill, and I haven't been out in the shop to work on the car for about
16 months.  But the mere fact that I can even write this post is an indicator that I am getting better.   To kick off this topic, I thought I would re-post the original posts that evaporated when the forum crashed.  I will add more photos and updates as I go forward in this restoration and the next chapter in life.    Check it out.  Mark

    The Backstory on ‟65 Shelby Mustang G.T.350 # SFM5s444
   Some cars fall off the radar and are never heard from again...   Others go dormant waiting for the right time to resurface.    October 2010 was the right time for # 444.
   This story starts on November 10th, 1965 when Dr. Hankins of Loma Linda, CA walked into Warren Anderson Ford in Riverside CA and bought his dream car.  After a couple years, it was time for something different, and Dr. Hankins traded in the Shelby.   Sometime in 1967 a general contractor named Don Duvall from Yucca Valley, CA bought the car and changed out the ring & pinion to a taller gear since he was commuting about 60 miles a day to & from work.  Don enjoyed the car for a few years in the local area, and eventually sold the car to a local cement contractor Greg Lewis in 1970.   Greg owned and drove the car locally for about 6 months, and one Friday night when Greg was in dire need of some cash, his buddy Lee offered up $ 150 and the pink slip to his ‟66 Mustang GT if Greg would sign over the pink on the Shelby. 
   Yep, Greg signed over the title on the Shelby, and on the following Monday morning, Lee went to the DMV office in 29 Palms and transferred ownership to his name.  Of course, Greg later regretted his decision and asked Lee to un-do their deal and get his Shelby back.   Lee declined.   Lee was 18 in 1970, and he already knew how special the Shelby G.T. 350 was in the world of performance cars.   Lee re-installed the 3.89 Detroit Locker differential and did what any red blooded teenager in Southern California would do at the time.  He drove the wheels off the Shelby.   
   Sometime during the first year of ownership, Lee and the Shelby had a disagreement with a Joshua Tree on the side of the dirt road leading to his dad‟s five acre homesteaded  parcel, and the driver‟s side front fender & headlight were mortally wounded.   The repairs then led to a paint job of white LeMans stripes over a blue base.   The next few years Lee drove the car pretty hard, with a fair amount of street racing ( including me in my ‟69 Mach 1 ) a few minor changes to personalize the car, and always regular service to keep the screaming 289 in tune.   Eventually,  life changed with marriage, a move to a house with no garage, and the Shelby got parked at his dad‟s place in Joshua Tree, CA for safe keeping.     That was in the fall of 1974.  Soon the license tags expired, and Lee would occaisionally go out to his dad‟s place and drive the car around the neighborhood, but inevitably  the brakes got spongy, the battery went dead, and the relentless sun and wind in the desert shredded the car covers.   Lee decided that someday, he would restore the car back to original condition.
   As the years rolled by from about 1975 to present, I would see Lee around town every couple of years and ask him if he still had the car.  He always said  " Yes, and it‟s not for sale".  Lee says that he has had many offers over the years from people that knew he had the car somewhere, but he never would sell.  Lee always felt that someday, he would be the one to bring her back to life.
   Fast forward to September 2010, when my wife and I are talking about getting a project car to restore, and Lee‟s Shelby comes to mind.   The fact that I have known Lee for some 40 years, and raced against him ( and lost ) back in the early ,,70s, rekindled the emotional connection to our younger days when gas was cheap, responsibility was minimal, and our goal was to get sideways and airborne in whatever we were driving. 
   Since we live in neighboring towns, I thought it would be easy to find Lee and the Shelby.  Several weeks later, one of my friends that Lee used to work for as a machinist says he knows how to get to Lee‟s house in Joshua Tree.    That Saturday afternoon of Sept. 25th  I had finished looking at all the cars at the Morongo Basin Old Car Club‟s annual show in Yucca Valley and decided to follow some cryptic directions and look for Lee and the Shelby.     About an hour into the search, while driving up and down old dirt roads in a rural area of north of Joshua Tree, I spotted the rear corner of what looked like an old Mustang behind a Travel Trailer parked in the middle of a fenced 5 acre parcel.    I parked on the street, walked up the long drive and knocked on the door to the house.   No answer.  I was a little concerned about the perception of trespassing, so I briefly went around back, found the car baking in the sun, shot a few photos, and left a note on the front door of the house asking Lee to give me a call about the Mustang.
   A few days later, Lee calls and I ask if he is interested in selling the car ?  To my amazement, he didn‟t say NO.    Although he didn‟t say yes, he did agree to meet and talk face to face.  When we met the next day, he asked if I had a garage or shop to do a restoration, so I invited him to see my house, garage, and shop that was fully equipped and waiting for a project car.  After some reminiscing and discussion, we parted that day with Lee thinking about selling his 40 year obsession, and me thinking that this may be a project I couldn‟t afford.
   I had contacted Howard Pardee at SAAC after I first saw the car on Sept. 25th, to ask questions on how to authenticate the car, and he advised where the hidden VIN numbers were on the inner fender panels, and the corresponding VIN stamped on the block under the # 1 spark plug.
   When I next spoke to Lee and asked if I could come out to the house and search out the VIN numbers, he said " OK, you‟ll find the car is 100% original ".   That following Saturday I spent several hours with wrenches, engine degreaser, and elbow grease to find all the numbers Howard told me to look for.   A call that night to Howard confirmed that SFM5s444 was indeed authentic, and in Howard‟s words " ... you‟re an idiot if you don‟t buy that car".
   So, on October 9th I went back out to Lee‟s house with a briefcase full of cash, and we agreed that I would be the next caretaker of #444, and with Lee‟s help in the restoration process the Shelby would soon rise again, and Lee will be the first one to drive # 444 when the restoration is complete.

   Since I had the car towed to my house on October 9th, I have had many conversations with Howard Pardee, and his knowledge and experience have proven invaluable in guiding me in the right direction for a complete restoration.  One of his suggestions was to have a Shelby consultant come and see the car.   I called Craig Conley in San Marcos, CA and  he agreed to drive out and take a look.    Craig‟s visit took several hours to inspect every inch of # 444, and he helped me make a fairly short list of required parts to bring the car back to original condition.   The car is miraculously rust free, has all original motor components from the air cleaner housing down to the cast aluminum Cobra oil pan.   The Borg Warner T10 aluminum trans and original rearend are in the car.    I needed a front bumper/valance group, a hood, and some original gauges for the pod, and I would be ready to start a complete rotisserie restoration.    Since that visit, Craig has been very helpful with my restoration questions, and has supplied some of the missing parts.   
  So now, I‟m in early January 2011 and the written and photo documentation is well under way, and someday soon ( OK, maybe not very soon ) # 444 will rise again.

Then there was an update to the Backstory:

Hi Everyone,  as of 1/28/2011    The Backstory got an update.   Thanks to Howard Pardee and his documentation on 5s444.  I obtained copies of those documents showing the dealer order to Shelby, and a warranty claim back to the dealer for a broken equalizer shaft.   Remember in the original story that the car was sold from Warren Anderson Ford in Riverside on 11/10/1965 to Dr. Hankins.   On Dec 27, 1965 the Shelby came back to that same dealer for repairs        ( $ 3.36 in parts and $ 12.00 Labor ) to replace the broken equalizer shaft or Z Bar that is the linkage between clutch pedal and trans.    That document listed Dr. Hankins and a physical address.   This address was critical.   Read on...     Finding someone that bought a car 45 years ago is a challenge, so I enlisted the help of a friend that is a Private Investigator to find Dr. Hankins.   Sure enough, a few days later I got a call saying " I found Dr. Hankins son, and here's his phone number ".   So I make the call to Dr. Hankins III in Los Angeles, and explain my quest to find the original owner.    He confirms that his family lived near Loma Linda in '65, and used Warren Anderson Ford to service their cars.   But, he was living overseas from '65 to '69 and maybe his dad bought the car for one of his sisters, but he didn't remember any history with a Shelby Mustang.   He gave me his sisters name & number and I call her right away.   She was very cooperative in describing her '67 Mustang, and her sister's Thunderbird, but had no memory of a white Shelby Mustang.   So, I call back to Dr. Hankins III, and ask who else in the family I might talk to, and he said Uncle Frank had passed away also, so he had no other information.  But, he did mention that back in the mid '60's, his dad Dr. Hankins was often confused with another doctor at the same Loma Linda University Hospital, and that doctor was Dr. Henken.    Back to that critical address mentioned earlier.   I called my P.I. back, explained the dead end with Dr. Hankins, and asked if we could search the county recorders database for the 1965 property owner of the address on the warranty claim.    Guess what ?  Dr. Henken owned the house at the address listed on the warranty claim form.  So, while I'm kicking tires at the Barrett Jackson Auction in Scottsdale last weekend, the P.I. is looking for Dr. Henken.  Well, on Wednesday 1/26/11 the P.I. calls and says " I found Dr. Henken, and he's expecting your call ".    I almost had a stroke.    I called the good doctor ( an orthodontist in San Clemente, CA. ) and after explaining my journey to find out all the detail on the car's history, he said " My dad and I were dickering over whether he would buy me a Shelby Cobra or a Shelby Mustang for graduation, and on that day in November 1965, I drove the Shelby Mustang off the showroom floor at Warren Anderson Ford in Riverside.    He drove over to his cousin Larry's house to check out the Shelby, and take it for a spin.     The next couple of years the future orthodontist spent time in the Shelby drag racing with cousin Larry and his brother (Larry had a '62 Vette and the brother had a '65 Mustang ) against  locals on roads between the orange groves in Loma Linda, swapping out the 3.89 gears for 4.11s and a separate set of rims with slicks to race at Orange County International Raceway at the Saturday night drags.  He says the Shelby was fast, and held a class record for the first season at OCIR, and even got to drive it in some timed rallys at Riverside International Raceway.  He said the car was never wrecked while he owned it, and it only needed  minor tune ups and a new clutch the second year.    Eventually, he left home for college ( no cars on campus ) and only drove the car on breaks or vacation.   His mom & dad moved the car around the driveway as needed, but when he moved to Hawaii in '67 to go to college ( and surf ) for his sophomore year, his mom got tired of moving the car with it's stiff racing clutch, and eventually took the Shelby back to the dealer to be sold.    Dr. Henken says his mom is still alilve, but with some health issues and her long
term memory is surprisingly clear.  He told me that he will ask his mom if she remembers which dealer she took the car to ( he says: most likely is Warren Anderson Ford ) or how it was sold.    Dr. Henken also tells me that there are old family photo albums somewhere, and that he has a few photos of the car back in the day.    The rest of the Backstory from Don Duvall's purchase in late '67 to present was much less work to research, as most of his friends and subsequent owner's friends are still around for me to talk to.    So, if not for a typo on a warranty claim form, I would have known the correct original owners name sooner and saved all the chasing of the wrong Dr. Hankins.   But here we are, finally finding the right guy, and when photos are made available, I will make additional posts with photos, and the missing piece of this puzzle will be put into place.    Stay tuned...   Mark.