Paying Tribute: The SOHC Screamer

The Ford Mustang is considered one of the most popular and iconic vehicles the world has ever seen, and aside from setting sales records and earning millions of fans over its 50-plus year history, it has rich motorsport heritage as well. No doubt, everyone is familiar with Carroll Shelby’s road racing exploits during the ’60s, but at the same time the Mustang was also out proving itself on the drag strip.

Which brings me to a lovely machine that I spotted at the most recent California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso…

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It’s a ’66 Mustang A/FX car built as a tribute to the machine that Southern Californian racer Les Ritchey campaigned in the mid ’60s.

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Les lost his life in a racing accident at Fontana in 1966, and this build pays homage to the man and everything that he contributed to the world of factory experimental drag racing during his time.

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And while the car certainly carries the look of a vintage race car with its old school mags and gold flake lettering, the wheelie bars and parachute system hint at the modern safety improvements. Check out the width of those Goodyear slicks in the rear too.

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Under the hood sits one the most legendary motors Ford has ever produced – the 427 SOHC ‘Cammer’, complete with Hilborn injection and all of the speed parts that made these motors such monsters.

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While this a fresh build that wasn’t on the track at the 2015 CHRR, it should make the perfect addition to the existing group of West Coast A/FX racers that can be found at drag events in California.

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Whether it’s a road racer or a quarter-mile machine, there’s really nothing better than 1960s-era race cars. This beautiful Mustang is just one more example of that, and a fitting tribute to a racer who was taken away too soon.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia_media
mike@speedhunters.com

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11 comments

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1

Gotta mention that Lenco transmission!

2
jbfromsiliconvalley

Cammers or "sock (sohc) motors are pure engine porn. I saw one in a Shelby Cobra rep at Hot August Nights. Those poor tires!

3

What a beauty... I can only imagine the smiles that ensue when that motor is fired up and the air flows through those stacks.

4
John GOTCHA Goms

John "GOT'CHA" Goms
gotchasssspeed@gmail.com

5
John GOTCHA Goms

Having came in at the end of this build I can tell you that Larry Knapp, the owner/builder of this car is one hell of a guy.
The build is SOLIDLY on point.
The car runs and drives AND will be raced.
Larry, in my opinion, IS the SOHC GOD!!!
It is a pleasure to race and work with this man and thrills me to my core when that tall lanky surfer boy slides into his OTHER A/FX one owner black '65 Mustang fastback, "STAMPEDE" (also SOHC motored, Lenco shifted) and run's it down the track on another high 8 or bottom 9 second run.
He, me and his cars are ALL FORD!!!!!

6

Great!

7

Stunning, STUNNING car. Gotta love them stacks!!

8

Oh Lordy!  Those velocity stacks - I need a quiet moment.  

What a beautiful car.

9

that lanco trans tho real man stuff.

10

RBPS13 Always thought they were super neat.

11

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