Ford Power Breaks a 20-Year Silence at Pomona Raceway
By Bob McClurg
Back in the day it was fairly common to see Cobras, Corvettes, and other sports cars dicing with each other on the Pomona Fairgrounds’ 1.8-mile road course. However, it has been a good 20 years since someone last heard the throaty roar of a 427 big-block Ford going through the gears on that stretch of SoCal pavement.
Last April the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum presented the first of what it hopes will be an annual Ford-Cobra-Shelby Reunion. More than 1,000 spectators participated in the two-day affair, which honored the cars created by Carroll Shelby, who would pass away a month later. Parnelli Jones was the event Grand Marshal, while Bob Bondurant, John Morton, and a myriad of former Shelby American employees were the featured guests.
Trackside, Marlan Motorsports organized a two-day schedule that included plenty of seat time for everyone who participated. At noon Saturday, a special parade lap included Grand Marshal Jones driving a ’64 King Cobra, Don Prudhomme driving a ’66 Cobra, Jerry Grant in a ’65 Cobra, Dick Guldstrand driving a ’58 air box Corvette, Bob Bondurant in a ’66 Ford GT40, and Adam 12 star Kent McCord driving a ’66 Shelby G.T. 350 Mustang. Three of the fastest cars at the event included Ron Myska driving the ex–Jim Robbins ’69 Boss 429 Torino Talladega, Oz Marlan driving a ’70 Boss 302 Mustang, and Dan Lukow driving the ex–Wood Brothers Mercury Cyclone formerly driven by Cale Yarborough.
Guest curator Lynn Park organized a 12-car museum display called The Speed Merchant of Venice honoring the 50th anniversary of the Shelby Cobra. Simultaneously, Cobra enthusiast Bob Shaw was put in charge of the Shelby Employee Reunion, Team Shelby organized a jaw-dropping show and shine, and the NHRA Motorsports Museum’s Lynn Rose organized a celebrity panel discussion and a dinner to raise funds to benefit the Carroll Shelby Children’s Foundation.