As our regular readers know, there was a bit of a kaffuffle (is that a word?) raised when the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame announced that Carroll Shelby would be inducted into a new International category. Out of that induction has come some great conversations about the history of Shelby American and their involvement with the Canadian Comstock team. While any secrecy of deals should be long gone, the mists of time are making some of the details a bit cloudy.
The great photo above, shot by Hans Gulde and provided by Colin King shows the two Comstock Cobras exiting Mosport’s Moss Corner in a rather interesting sandwich during the 1963 Players Grand Prix.
The details of the Comstock cars and Shelby seem to be coming together thanks to 3 members of the CMSHG group on Yahoo.
The Eppie Weitzes and Ken Miles Cobras are 289’s (CSX2002 and CSX2129). Eppie Wietzes’ Cobra was the original/first race Cobra (CSX2002) that was originally equipped with a 260 but was changed to a 289 by the time of the 12-Hours of Sebring in 1963.
CSX2129 was driven by Ken Miles at the Mosport Canadian GP for one event only and was painted in the Comstock Team colors (the stripes may have been red instead of green though). After the race the Ken Miles Cobra was returned back to the States and sold to Graham Shaw (Tombstone) for the 1964 season.
The Comstock Team Notchback Mustang was the 1964 Tour de France winner brought back to the States after its class victory in September of 1964. Skip Scott drove the Mustang at the end of 1964 at the Nassau Speed Weeks (Nov. 24-Dec. 6, 1964). Skip also raced the TDF Mustang at the 1965 Daytona 2000km in February before Comstock took delivery of the Mustang.
The George Eaton Cobra was a 427 Cobra (CSX3017) that the Comstock Team serviced, they never owned the Cobra.
The deal between Comstock, Ford and Shelby, as I understand it was one of a “lease option” where Shelby supplied the cars, parts, engines and technical support and Ford of Canada provided some of the financial backing and cars the rest was up to the Comstock Team. Shelby provided the (2) Shelby GT350’s, (2) Cooper King Cobras, (1) Cobra, and I’m guessing that Ford provided the TDF Notchback Mustang, TDF Rally Falcon, Lotus Cortina and the (2) Ford GT40’s. The Team was able to keep and sell what ever cars they wanted at season’s end to cover their costs….
Eppie wiped out one of the King Cobras at their debute event at Westwood in ’63 and he was not to race again until ’64.
The GT40’s were provided by Ford. P1000 was a Ford Mule and originally painted dark blue with (I think) orange stripes. P1037 was a LeMans car that was originally a powder, or light blue. The car today still bears the original colour in the engine bay, at least it did at Watkin’s Glen in 2007. The car was restored (again) in 2008 and was supposed to spend the 2009 season in Europe. My understanding was it was going to be restored to the Comstock livery, not as it ran at LeMans so the engine bay may now be white as is the rest of the car.
P1037 was not sold by Comstock. It languished at Ford in Oakville up until about 1970. It was sold, so the story goes, for around $1,500.00.
The Comstock rally Lotus Cortina ended up in the hands of a fellow by the name of Gord Archibald. Gord stripped the car to it’s last nut and bolt and completely rebuilt it. Later it was sold to Hugh MacGregor who I believe repainted it in the original white and green Lotus colours. It was then passed to Hugh’s son and I think he sold it in the late 90’s or early 2000’s.
I believe the following to be correct, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s from a story I did some time ago and sent to Paul Cooke for corrections.
EatonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s car was indeed his, run out of Comstock, it was a 427. The Ford GT40Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s which went to Sebring were prepared with the help of Shelby Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s people.
Rathgeb made a five year deal with Jack Still of Ford Canada to supply cars for his team to race. During the following five years they acquired a Lola FJ, a Lotus Cortina, two Ford Cobras and two Cooper Ford Ã¢â‚¬Å“King CobrasÃ¢â‚¬Â. Later there was a 384 bhp Comstock Mustang, followed by two Shelby GT350 Mustangs.
Below are some period photos of the Mustangs discussed above and of GT40 1037 in the original Le Mans livery. I have a feeling that more photos will surface and I’ll post them as they arrive.
Editor’s note: The GT40 in the gallery is in fact 1017 (EPR 525D), which began its racing career in Europe during 1966. 1037, currently the only drivable Comstock GT40 is owned by Tom Mabey and is on display at the Miller Museum at Miller Motorsport Park in Tooele, Utah.