Culture / Cars

Potential $4 Million Car Roars Into Picture — Ken Miles’ Ford v. Ferrari Legend Could Pave Way for Record-Breaking Shelby Mustang Auction

This Flying Mustang Knows Drama

BY // 03.29.20

Ford v. Ferrari managed to be both nominated for the Best Picture Oscar — and still underrated. This is the type of movie you see when something doesn’t work out with the movie you originally planned to watch (my son and I ended up going after an early showing of Adam Sandler’s Uncut Gems sold-out).

Once you do sit down with Ford v. Ferrari, you’re rewarded with much more than just a car movie (though the racing scenes do make earlier efforts like Days of Thunder seem like amateur hour in comparison) or a dad movie as this impressive flick’s sometimes falsely dismissed as. Ford v. Ferrari is not as good as Parasite, but Christian Bale’s manic intensity as racing engineer/driver Ken Miles and Tracy Letts’ sometimes near comic turn as Henry Ford II help make it stand up to anything else put out in 2019.

Miles’ prowess behind the wheel of Shelby Mustangs is detailed in the movie (Matt Damon plays legendary Texan Carroll Shelby in Ford v. Ferrari) and one of the most iconic Shelby Mustangs of all — the Shelby GT350R Prototype — is now going up for auction.

This is the car that Miles famously took airborne at Texas’ Green Valley Raceway in 1965 in the first competitive race (which turned into the first win) for a Shelby Mustang. A black and white photo of the Shelby GT350R Prototype with all four of its wheels off the ground and Ken Miles at the wheel remains one of racing’s most iconic images.

The legendary car also could not help but get a little more notice in the wake of the movie.

The Flying Mustang vs. Steve McQueen’s Bullitt

This rare Shelby Mustang is one of several cars from the  private collection of John Atzbach, a car enthusiast who is also one of the world’s foremost experts in Imperial Russian antiques, that will be up for sale in an upcoming Mecum Auction.

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Those in the know are more than aware that Mecum Auctions are where the world’s rarest and most significant cars often end up for auction. The company oversaw the sale of the 1968 Ford Mustang Bullitt GT driven by Steve McQueen in another significant car movie for $3.74 million to a mystery buyer in January.

Now, it gets the Ken Miles’ Shelby Mustang.

“This is one of the greatest main attractions that Mecum has ever offered,” Dana Mecum said when the Shelby Mustang’s upcoming auction was revealed. “. . . This is the only Mustang that Ken Miles ever drove, This is probably the winningest Mustang ever. This was the car that was built to make Mustang a performance car.”

Yes, you’re going to need a lot of assets to compete in this high-stakes auction.

Ford v Ferrari movie
Matt Damon and Christian Bale made Ford v. Ferrari come to life.

In many ways, this Flying Mustang launched Carroll Shelby’s second career as a manufacturer of some of the world’s most impressive racing machines. Without this Shelby GT350R Prototype, there wouldn’t be any Carroll Shelby legend.

With that history — and maybe a little momentum from an underrated Best Picture nominee — there is some speculation that this Flying Mustang could sell for even more than Steve McQueen’s Bullitt when it goes up for auction in Mecum’s  highly-anticipated Indianapolis event (June 23 to 28) — an affair that was moved from its original early May dates due to the coronavirus.

“If there was ever a car that could surpass what the Bullitt car sold for, you’re looking at it now,” Dana Mecum said when the upcoming auction was first revealed.

Is this a $4 million car? That’s a lot of vroom vroom. And you thought Ford v. Ferrari was a loud movie?

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